Located just above the Equator in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km from the South American continent and 600 miles west of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are famous among tourists all over the World.
This archipelago has about 19 islands: three main volcanic islands, six small islands and 107 rocks. The Galapagos Islands were discovered in 1535 by Tomas de Berlanga, the Spanish Bishop of Panama. The name of Galapagos Islands has Spanish origin; it is related to the Spanish word galápago— a kind of water turtle and the name of a saddle similar in form to some turtles from Galápagos in the Pacific Ocean. Galapagos Islands have been called a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Located at the junction of three oceanic currents, the Galápagos represent a great collection of marine species.
Volcanic and seismic activities influence the island’s life processes. The result of which was the advancing of exceptional animal species such as the land iguana, the giant tortoise, and different types of finch; this is what inspired Charles Darwin to create his theory of evolution by natural selection. After becoming Ecuador’s first national park in 1959, these 19 islands are now highly protected and together with the surrounding marine reserve were declared a World Heritage site.