Galapagos Islands A World to Discover| Start Living Ecuador
Extraordinary flora and fauna, and unique and fragile species can be found on these islands. Hence, they are one of the best-preserved archipelagos.
The extraordinary flora and fauna, along with its geology, and the numerous unique and fragile species that can be found on these islands (most of them endemic) have resulted in the Galapagos National Park to become an important world scientific research center, and tourism destination for its natural wonders.
The park was created in 1936 and covers an area of approximately 693 700 hectares. Later on, due to the natural values that the Galapagos Islands possess, it became the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
Currently, 13 major islands and 7 smaller islands make up the Galapagos archipelago and is comprised by two protected areas: the Galapagos National Park, covering 97% of the archipelago, and the Galapagos Marine Reserve, which helps protect surrounding marine environments.
What makes the Galapagos Islands distinctive?
Despite the different problems that the Park has faced along the years, including that of invasive species, it constitutes one of the best-preserved archipelagos and a world referent for fragile ecosystems management.
The Galapagos Islands are unique, among other reasons because as a tourist, you can experiment how its animals have evolved forgetting, in most cases, their fear towards humans. Some areas in the Park are prohibited for visitors, but it counts with a wide range of touristic sites designed for visitors to have a first-hand experience with the natural ecosystems, while trying to minimize human impacts.
Some endemic species found in the Islands are: Galapagos tortoises (largest tortoises in the world and among the longest living vertebrates), Galapagos penguin (one of the smallest penguins in the world), blue-footed boobies (about half of the world’s population breeds here), Galapagos marine iguana (only existing marine lizard on Earth), just to name a few.
Quick facts you’ll enjoy reading about the Galapagos Islands:
- The Islands were named after the Galapagos tortoises, since «galapago» means «tortoise» in Spanish.
- The merging of three major oceanic currents brings an astonishing mix of marine life to Galapagos.
- The Galapagos was home to the only surviving giant Pinta tortoise, ‘Lonesome George’ which unfortunately died in June 2012.
- Darwin’s research in Galapagos led to the groundbreaking theory of The Origin of Species.
- Due to the early presence of both Spanish and English inhabitants in Galapagos, the Islands now have both Spanish and English names
- The estimated age of the islands is between 3 and 10 million years
You cannot miss visiting the Galapagos Islands and all this place has to offer!
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