Some Random Pieces of Information Taken from the Web Site:
A trip to the
The Islands cover a land area of roughly 4971 miles² (8000km²), and straddle the Equator between 1.5° north and 0.5° south, and 89° to 92° west.
Highest point is the
The Islands have 837 miles (1350 km) of coastline, more than
On the Islands, a multitude of animals, by most people only
known from the Discovery Channel, are romping about: the main reason for
tourists and nature lovers to pay the
Interested who first set foot on the
Amid the volcanic geography of these islands 600 miles in the Pacific Ocean, plant life takes root in basalt rock, centurion turtles roam and penguins swim in equatorial waters.
Abundant fearless wildlife, visitors can get up close and personal to some of the world's rarest animals.
Galapagos is home to the only surviving giant Pinta tortoise, 'Lonesome George.'
The endemic Galapagos marine iguana is the only lizard to swim in the ocean.
Due to their isolation and position on the equator the Galapagos can be visited all year round. There are considered to be two main seasons: The 'dry season' June to December and the 'warm season' December to May.
The dry season is characterized by blue skies and midday showers whereas the warm season is more tropical with daily rain and cloudier skies.
Sea mammals and land birds are most active during the dry season and there are many sea bird courtship displays.
Annual rainfall in the lower regions is 2-4 in and the air temperature varies between 69°-84°F/21°-29°C.
The sudden climatic change caused by El Niño can be devastating and as many as 50% of sea lions and marine iguanas can die during this time. El Niño is a phenomenon that occurs roughly every 5-7 years. The southeast trade winds slacken and cause the sea temperatures to rise dramatically and cause storms and heavy rainfall.
The convergence of three major oceanic currents brings an incredible mix of marine life to the Galapagos.
Despite being located in the tropics, the
Los Gemelos (the twins) are two 'pit craters', formed when empty magma chambers collapsed in on themselves.
Alcedo Volcano on
The Devil's Crown is a dramatic snorkeling site to the north of Cormorant Point where there is an almost completely submerged volcano.
The lava tunnels on
The Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela has the largest basaltic caldera in the world measuring 5.6x6.2 miles(9x10km).
The Wall of Tears on Isabela was constructed by the prisoners of the Penal colony in the mid 40's and characterizes the cruelty the prisoners had to endure. In the 450 years of human history, the islands have been used as prison colonies, naval ports and research stations.
The estimated age of the
Intense heat caused by the plates being pushed apart leads to eruptions which create new volcanoes and eventually form new islands ('Hot spot' theory).
There have been around 13 volcanic eruptions in Galapagos in the last 100 years. Most recent eruptions: 3rd June 2008 on Isabela and April 2009 on Fernandina.
Protection & Conservation: In 1959, the Government of Ecuador declared all uninhabited areas of Galapagos a national park.
In 1978 UNESCO designated Galapagos as the first World Heritage site and the Galapagos Marine Reserve received the same status in 1998.
The Galapagos is second only to the Great Barrier Reef National Park of Australia in terms of the size of marine area protected (80780 square miles/130000 square km).
The Galapagos National Park Service is the main government authority which oversees the safeguarding of the islands' natural resources.
Galapagos penguin is the only one to be found in the northern hemisphere and to breed in the tropics.
A Galapagos tortoise can weigh up to 595lb (270kg) with a carapace length of 4ft (1.2m) and outlive most humans.
The endemic Galapagos fur sea lions are the smallest among the world's seven species of fur sea lions.
The Galapagos Marine Iguana is the only marine lizard to exist in the world.
Galapagos has one of the world's rare ecosystems in which the herbivores at the top of the food chain are reptiles.
Galapagos Swallow-tailed gulls are the only gulls in the world to feed at night.
The Galapagos boasts the world`s largest and only red-footed booby colony.
There are 23 species of reptiles in the Galapagos and all but two of those are endemic to the archipelago.
The Galapagos is one of the few areas of the world where turtles are still a common sight.
Over 400 species of fish have been recognized in the Galapagos, with 41 species unique to the islands.
At 30cm in length and with a large pair of venomous jaws,
the endemic centipede (Scolopendra galapagoensis) is among the
A lichen survey in June 2010 by the Charles Darwin Foundation uncovered more than 60 new species in the Galapagos, with an estimated ten species new to science.
Issues in Galapagos:
Early human activity on the islands was extremely damaging for the wildlife as pirates and buccaneers took giant tortoises aboard for food.
24% of plant species and 50% of vertebrate species are still considered as endangered due to human activity in earlier times.
Clandestine fishing of black coral, lobster, shark fin, sea cucumber and sea horse is incredibly destructive to the marine life.