The word Galapago "in old Spanish language", was used to describe the frontal piece of a riding saddle.
When the first settlers in these Islands saw the thousands of Giant Tortoises the Islands had in earlier years, and after looking at the shape of their carapace (shell), they named this archipelago with this "particular word."
Among the first groups that came to the Islands, we had many of Spanish origin, that's also why the official name of the Islands since 1892 is Archipelago of Columbus.
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When you visit these enchanted Islands keep in mind that it would not be a complete trip if you don't see the wonderful giant tortoises.
These giant reptiles are the emblem of the Islands, and there are only two places on Earth where you find them in their natural habitat.
The first place is of course the Archipelago of Columbus which is located off the coast of South America in the Pacific Ocean.
Some Islands of this Archipelago have a fair good number Giant tortoises.
The second place where you can find these Giant reptiles is located right on the Indian Ocean, and north of the Seychelles, in a small atoll called Aldabra.
Many people think that currently you can see Giant tortoises everywhere, but the truth is far from what most believe.
The Tortoises in the Archipelago were heavily hunted in past centuries during the whaling time (perhaps the most destructive human activity ever on the Islands), and have had a hard time recovering.
Today the presence of introduced mammals has added tremendous danger as they prey on young tortoises, and others create competition for feeding grounds.
But fortunately the Islands' National Park with the aid of Charles Darwin Foundation are always working to preserve the Islands' wildlife and environment.
Well, now you know the official story on the origin of this particular word, "which means saddle".
But unfortunately a good number of books still carry the wrong version by saying that this word means tortoise.
Next time you see a riding saddle, think of the word Galapago... and the shape of the shell of giant tortoises.
Visit this Enchanted Archipelago and enjoy its incredible wildlife, stunning landscapes, its wonderful skies and Stargazing at Nights
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With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!
There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.
Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.
Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!
Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.
Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!
If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier.
But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.
Small, well-priced, and reliable!
The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.
This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!