30 May What Will You See If You Visit The Galapagos Islands
The archipelago, made world-famous by Charles Darwin, is not the easiest or the most affordable place to visit, but it is an experience you will never forget.
The Galapagos Islands are located 600 miles off the west coast of South America and form part of Ecuador. They are a rare, secluded, volcanic archipelago. They are home to some of the most spectacular wildlife in the world, wildlife such as marine iguanas, giant tortoises, fur seals, and Galapagos penguins. There is also a host of marine life and thousands of species of birds.
The reason why Charles Darwin found it so insightful and why ecologists still study the islands today is because of its unique climate and environmental conditions. Species came to the islands thousands of years ago and didn’t leave; they continued to adapt in a very narrow way making natural selection more obvious. Additionally, the warm equatorial climate mixes with the cold waters from the arctic south, creating a breeding ground of ecological interest.
But you don’t have to be a scientist to appreciate the beautiful and unique species of the islands. Tourists are welcome to explore the setting in boats and on hikes as long as they respect the island’s codes of conduct. It’s important to note that the Galapagos islands are quite protective; they are particularly conscious of invasive plants and species and therefore employ strict controls at the airport as well as government regulations.
It’s advisable to do your research before touring the islands, something that can be made a lot easier with a Galapagos basics guide; such a guide will make you more aware of what to expect when you travel.
What Will You See?
This is the only type of iguana adapted to a marine environment. Due to the island’s lack of suitable vegetation, the iguanas took to the water in search of additional food sources, such as algae. Incredibly, they can dive up to 30 feet in water. These special creatures are plentiful on the islands and can be discovered on many rocks, beaches, and shorelines.
This iconic species of tortoise gives its name to the islands. ‘Galapagos’ is a Spanish word for tortoise no longer in use. The species of giant tortoise arrived on the island 2-3 million years ago. They probably came from the mainland by floating in their shells, something they are known to do. Every tortoise on the island is an ancestor of these great voyagers from long ago.
Like many species around the world, the Galapagos Penguins are endangered. Their habitats are threatened, not by humans in this case but by the marine iguana whose numbers have sharply risen. It is one of the smallest species of penguin in the world and the only one to live above the equator. They are fluffy and can be found mainly on the western island of Fernandina and Isabela.
If you love wildlife and rare beauty, the Galapagos islands have it all; just remember to do your research and be respectful.