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Famous for its rich biodiversity and place of Charles Darwin’s research on the theory of evolution, the Galapagos Islands are situated approximately 1, 000 km (or a little over 600 mi.) from the Ecuadorian mainland.
The volcanic archipelago consists of 13 main islands of which only five are inhabited. These islands are home to a unique diversity of plant, animal, and marine life that regularly attract tourists and nature lovers alike, including sea lions, land and marine iguanas, giant tortoises and of course, Lonesome George, the only known living tortoise of his species.
To read more about Lonesome George and his quest for a mate, click on the following link:
Lonesome George Seeks Mate, $10, 000 reward!
Official Name: Archipiélago de Colón
Political Ecuadorian Name: Provincia de Galápagos
Capital: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
Population: 40, 000
Official Language: Spanish
Official Currency: Dollar (USD $)
Total Land Area: 4897 sq. miles / 7880 sq. km
Total Geographical Area (Stretching from Charles Darwin Island to Espanola and San Cristobal): 28, 000 sq. miles (45, 000 sq. km)
Highest Point: Volcano “Volcan Wolf” on Isabela Island at 1707m / 5600 ft.
Major Islands: Baltra (airport), Española, Fernandina, Floreana, Genovesa, Isabela (airport), Marchena, Pinta, Pinzón, San Cristóbal (airport), Santa Cruz, Santiago, Santa Fe
– “Galapagos” is what Bishop Tomas of Panama named the giant tortoises upon an accidental encounter of the islands and its animals in 1535.
– The Galapagos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
– 97% of the islands are protected by the Galapagos National Park. Only 3% is inhabited by humans.
Formed between 3 million and 5 million years ago, the Galapagos Islands are relatively young.
In general, each island is created by one individual large volcano whose eruptions cause basaltic lava to flow expanding its shores. The island of Isabela, however, is the result of six different volcanoes that flowed into each other.