The Galapagos Islands are a group of volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off the coast of Ecuador. The archipelago consists of 18 major islands and numerous smaller islets, and is known for its unique wildlife and natural beauty.
The Galapagos Islands are famous for their endemic species, many of which were studied by Charles Darwin during his voyage on the HMS Beagle. These species include giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and various species of finches, which played a critical role in Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The islands are also home to a diverse range of marine life, including sea lions, sharks, and numerous species of fish. Visitors to the Galapagos can go snorkeling or scuba diving to explore the marine ecosystems and observe the wildlife up close.
The Galapagos Islands are a protected area, with the Galapagos National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve covering a combined area of over 133,000 square kilometers (51,000 square miles). These areas are carefully managed to minimise the impact of human activity and preserve the islands’ unique ecosystems and wildlife.
Tourism is an important industry in the Galapagos Islands, but strict regulations are in place to ensure that visitors do not damage the delicate ecosystems. Visitors must be accompanied by licensed guides and follow strict guidelines to minimise their impact on the islands.
The Galapagos Islands are recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are considered one of the world’s most important natural laboratories for the study of ecology and evolution.