Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

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The Galápagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean.  They are situated approximately 900 km (550 miles) West of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part. The islands are famed for their vast number of endemic species which were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin’s theory of ‘evolution by natural selection’.

The Galápagos Islands are unique in that they do not have an indigenous population. The largest ethnic group is composed of Ecuadorian Mestizos, mixed descendants of Spanish colonists and indigenous Native Americans, who arrived mainly in the last century. In 1959, approximately 1,000 called the islands their home. By the 1980s, this number had risen to more than 15,000 people and 2006 estimates placed the population at around 25,000 people.

In 2007, UNESCO put the Galápagos Islands on their List of World Heritage in Danger because of threats posed by introduced plants and animals, unbridled tourism and overfishing.  Currently, the rapidly growing problems, including tourism and a human population explosion, are further destroying habitats. Travel Companies, conservation organizations, and other groups have formed IGTOA (International Galapagos Tour Operators Association) that is dedicated to preserving and protecting the Galapagos Islands for future generations of travellers.


Posted: 19/12/2013

Author: Andy Hayward

Category: Favourite Destinations, Locations, South America


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