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Galapagos Islands: Ecuador’s natural paradise

The Galapagos Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 km west of the Ecuadorian coast. The Galapagos are an archipelago of volcanic nature made up of 13 main islands and about 40 smaller islands and rocks. The surface of the entire archipelago is 7,880 km². The Galapagos islands are an important naturalistic paradise.

The Equator line crosses the northern part of the largest island of the archipelago, the island of Isabela (4,588 km²), which alone accounts for approximately 58% of the total area of the Galapagos. The other larger islands are those of Santa Cruz (986 km²), Fernandina (642 km²), Santiago (585 km²) and San Cristóbal (558 km²).

VOLCANIC ISLANDS RICH IN WONDERFUL FAUNA

In the archipelago there are about two thousand volcanic craters, some of which are still active. Volcanic activity is more intense in the two younger islands of Isabela and Fernandina. The highest mountain in the Galapagos is the Wolf volcano (Volcán Wolf, 1,707 meters) on the island of Isabela.

The islands are largely dry and barren and are famous for their fauna. There are in fact numerous rare species. Among these, above all, giant turtles, marine iguanas, terrestrial iguanas, sea lions and numerous species of birds. Due to the low rainfall the vegetation of the Galapagos islands is scarce, only on the highest mountains does humidity allow the growth of a greater number of plants.

The Galapagos Islands were discovered in 1535 by a Spanish expedition led by the Bishop of Panama. They were subsequently visited by Diego de Rivadeneira in 1546 who called them Islas Encantadas. In the following centuries the islands were used as a stopover and refuge by pirate ships. The first permanent settlement on the islands arose only in 1831.

During his tour of the world, Darwin made a stop in the Galapagos. Stopping on these islands allowed Darwin to observe the local fauna. This gave numerous ideas to the scientist to elaborate his theory of evolution. The islands are a national park.

The climate of the Galapagos islands.

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