Learn about Galapagos Islands with its amazing volcanic geology, rich an unique flora and fauna, and you will HAVE to visit!
Scientists are still faced with a mystery how such a large diversity of species could develop in a remote location like the Galapagos Islands.
On the Islands, a multitude of endemic animals and amazing landscapes are romping about: this is some of the reasons for tourists and nature lovers to visit and explore the Galapagos Islands.
Among the most rare species of the Galapagos Islands are the famous Giant Tortoises for which they are named.
Charles Darwin visited Galapagos in 1835. He collected a wealth of scientific data that contributed to his theory of natural selection.
Located over 1000 km west of Ecuador in South America, the Galapagos Islands (officially named the Archipelago of Colon) are a dynamic region constantly changing. Volcanic eruptions create new lava fields, and Islands erode and expand.
The Galapagos Islands have lived in virtual isolation for millions of years. In total, they consist of 61 Islands and islets, with 13 main Islands.
The 13 main Islands are Baltra, Espanola, Fernandina, Floreana, Genovesa, Isabela, Marchena, Pinta, Pinzon, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe and Santiago.
The total land area of Galapagos is of 4,897 sq. miles (7,880 sq. km) and the total geographical area from Darwin Island to San Cristobal and Espanola Islands is of 28,000 sq. miles (45,000 sq. km)
The largest Island is Isabela, at 1,771 sq. miles (4,855 sq. km), while it makes up close to half the land area of the Galapagos Islands, is still less than half the size of the Island of Hawaii.
The largest elevation is Wolf volcano with a maximum altitude of 5,600 ft. (1,707 m) making it the highest point in the Galapagos Archipelago.
The climate at the Galapagos Islands is subtropical and it is regulated by the warm El Nino Current and the cold Humboldt Current.
June to December: The southern trade winds bring the colder Humboldt current north to the Galapagos Islands.
The water is cooler, and a layer of high atmosphere mist pervades the skies of the Galapagos Islands.
The highlands of the larger Islands are kept green and lush, while the sea level Islands and shorelines have little precipitation.
The season from June to December is generally called the "dry season" known for its blue skies and mid-day showers.
December to May: This is considered the "warm season." During this warmer season, the Galapagos Islands climate is more tropical with daily rain and cloudier skies.
Also, the ocean temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkeling.
During this season, you will observe a big amount of rare species around the Galapagos Islands or the sea such as:
This season is great if you like snorkeling and scuba diving.
There are about 560 native species of plants in the Galapagos Islands, in other words, plants which arrived in the Islands by natural means.
Of these, almost one third are endemic to Galapagos, meaning they are found nowhere else on Earth.
The Galapagos Islands have their very own, endemic species of cotton, pepper, guava, passion flower and tomato. Not only that but many species are so different from others elsewhere that they are grouped in their own endemic genera.
These include Scalesia, the endemic 'daisy tree', which has evolved into a whole host of different species in a direct botanical parallel of the Darwin's finches. More About Galapagos Plants
Other endemic genera in the daisy family are Darwin's aster Darwiniothamnus, the cut-leaf daisy Lecocarpus and needle-leaf daisy Macraea. There are also some endemic genera of cacti, Brachycereus, the lava cactus and Jasminocereus, the candelabra cactus.
See Beautiful Galapagos Islands Pictures
The Islands have a wide array of endemic fauna, invertebrates, birds, reptiles and mammals, which are native to the Galapagos Islands.
The Giant Galapagos Tortoise is the most well known of all the endemic creatures.
With the lack of predatory mammals, life on the Galapagos Islands is dominated by reptiles like the Galapagos Tortoises, land and marine iguanas, snakes, lava lizards and sea turtles.
There are 27 species of reptiles in the Galapagos Islands, of which 17 are endemic (species found only in the Galapagos).
The colorful and plentiful Galapagos Iguanas are endemic. The Galapagos is home to Land Iguanas, as well as Marine Iguanas.