One of the main facts on Galapagos Island is that this Archipelago belongs to the country of Ecuador in the western Pacific Ocean.
The Islands are quite remote and isolated, lying some 1000 km (620 miles) west of the South American continent. The Galapagos archipelago consists of 13 main islands and 6 smaller isles, which together embrace some50,000 sq km (19,500 sq miles) of ocean.
Among the important facts on Galapagos Island is the fact that they are very popular amongst natural historians, both professional and amateur.
Giant tortoises, sea lions, penguins, Galapagos sharks marine iguanas and different bird species can all be seen and approached.
The landscape of the Islands is relatively barren and volcanic, but beautiful nonetheless. The highest volcano amongst the Islands is Wolf Volcano located on Isabela Island, 1707 m (5600ft) high.
The Galapagos were claimed by newly-independent Ecuador in 1832, a mere three years before Charles Darwin's Visit to the Islands on board the HMS Beagle.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries the Islands were inhabited by very few settlers and were used as a penal colony, the last closing in 1959 when the Islands were declared a national park.
The Galapagos Islands were subsequently listed as a World Heritage Sitein 1978. Strict controls on tourist access are maintained in an effort to protect the natural habitats and all visitors must be accompanied by Galapagos Naturalist Guides
The Islands currently receive an average of 170,000 visitors per year. More Information About Each Galapagos Island
Flights to the Galapagos are relatively easy to arrange and depart from Quito and Guayaquil on a daily basis to Baltra Island or San Cristobal island airports. Find Cheap Flights to Galapagos here
On each Island, the number of visitors is limited and there are only a small number of official landing and authorized Galapagos Sites
You must follow the instructions of your guide to protect the wildlife and you are not allowed off the marked paths.
Animals on the Galapagos Islands are very friendly and they will sit right on the path or cross it without caring about mere tourists.
The park is strictly regulated. Outside of the towns visitors must be accompanied by guides, and visitors are only allowed on land from sunrise until sunset.
Itineraries must be registered with the Galapagos Park prior to embarking on a Galapagos tour.
Animals should never be disturbed while the wildlife in the Galapagos will usually ignore your presence, a general rule of thumb is that if an animal notices your presence then you are too close.
Two meters is generally given as a minimum distance to keep away from animals you will find that if you are calm and respectful many animals will walk right up to investigate you.
One of the greatest dangers to the Islands is introduced species. The park service is trying to eliminate goats, rats, cats, dogs, and introduced plant species on many of the Islands, but it is a difficult battle.
After evolving for thousands of years without predators, the Galapagos Animals are not adapted to handle these new species.
Snorkeling and scuba diving a very popular activities as the sea life is so rich and colorful.
Your cruise ship should be able to provide you with snorkeling equipment if you don't have any (but check first).
You may also want to bring a waterproof camera. Remember to wear at least a T-shirt and suntan lotion if you are snorkeling, as it is all to easy to get sunburn in the strong sun. Read a Review About Snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Diving is also an incredible experience as noted by "Rodale's Scuba Diving magazine".
The Islands are ranked as the best diving destination in the world in the categories of Healthiest Marine Environment, Best Big Animal Dive and Best Advanced Diving.
Visit the Galapagos Islands and Discover its Natural Wonders...