Galapagos Islands

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Galapagos Islands Travel Guide

The Galapagos Islands, distinguished in the travel world as a place of natural beauty and flora and fauna of an incomparable variety, are a dream destination for the nature enthusiast. Famous for many rare species of fauna and flora and the fact that it was Charles Darwin's voyage and stay here that inspired the Origin of the Species, these islands pull innumerable visitors every year.

Of the 13 main islands and the numerous small ones that make up the Galapagos Islands, only 5 are inhabited. The wildlife that they support include the famous giant tortoises called galapaga, penguins, iguanas, and a variety of marine life that includes sea lions, boobies and an array of exotic flora.

A 1000 kilometres to the west of the coast of Ecuador in South America, the islands are a stark landscape of barren volcanic soil and dark igneous rock formations. And offering a contrast to this, there are the stunning blue waters of the Pacific and palm lined beaches. On the whole there are about 17,000 people on the Galapagos Islands who make their livelihood from fishing, farming and tourism.

Tourism on the islands is a highly controlled activity and so be it, if it means that the fragile ecosystem survives and indigenous culture is left intact. Since mass tourism is not the route taken, facilities, permits, getting to and getting around are all fairly expensive.

The Galapagos penguin is small in size at 14 inches high and is the only species found in the equatorial region. They are really cute, waddle along like ducks unlike the penguins in the Antarctic and are an endangered species with only 1500 of them at last count.

The Galapagos tortoise is the largest in the world and can weigh up to a gigantic 1/4 of a tonne!

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