CapitalPuerto Baquerizo Moreno
ReadMy Father's Island
ExperienceSnorkel with Sea Lions
The archipelago and surrounding waters are also a national park, marine reserve, and whale sanctuary. Under the supervision of licensed naturalist guides, visitors can swim with sea lions, witness avian mating rituals, and learn about the unique adaptations of resident species.
Penguins, blue-footed boobies, land and marine iguanas, tortoises, flamingos, and whale sharks can be observed here in close proximity. The islands are located in the equatorial Eastern Pacific, 604 miles west of the Ecuadorian coast.
The archipelago consists of 13 main islands, six junior islands and over 100 islets and large rocks spread out over 45,000 square miles of ocean. These volcanic islands began to emerge between five and ten million years ago. The youngest islands, Fernandina and Isabela, continue to grow with new volcanic eruptions.
The Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination with two distinct seasons. During the warm season (December to May) temperatures hover in the 80’s and 90’s. Rainfall is uncommon but strong, with water temperatures near the surface averaging 75°. The Garua, or cool season (June to November) brings fog, drizzles and cool winds.
Air temperatures reach the 70’s and water temperatures fall to the 60’s. These months are the height of the breeding season for many of the island’s avian species. The Galapagos can be reached by air from Quito (three hours) and Guayaquil (1.5 hours) via daily flights. Airports are located on Baltra and San Cristobal islands.
Most visitors embark on three, four, or seven-day cruises. Many of these programs visit the major island cluster, offering daily guided wildlife and geology tours. For those interested in diving, longer cruises to the outlying islands are available. Hotel options near Puerto Ayora and private yacht charters can also be arranged.
“The natural history of these islands is eminently curious, and well deserves attention…Considering the small size of the islands, we feel the more astonished at the number of their aboriginal beings, and at their confined range…Both in space and time, we seem to be brought somewhat near to that great fact—that mystery of mysteries—the first appearance of new beings on this earth.”
– Charles Darwin
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