Galapagos Islands Today
The tour to the Galapagos Islands always brings pleasant and joyful emotions. The Galapagos archipelago is situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and consists of 13 main islands and six smaller ones. The origin of the name of the Islands has an interesting fact, generally the word “galapago” comes from Spanish and means a type of turtle, and so these turtles live here and the name derives from them. Who could have thought that the Galapagos Islands will be the decisive point that allowed the great naturalist Charles Darwin develop his famous theory of the origin of species? Starting the journey in 1831, the researcher did not suppose that while traveling he would finally hit the ground, where the incredible diversity of animals and plants live.
Despite the last hundred years from the time of an islands’ discovery, the Galapagos Islands today are places, almost untouched by civilization. Scientists have found that they were formed about 10 million years ago because of volcanic activity. The remoteness of the archipelago from the outside world has allowed nature remain untouched. Today Islands are called as “a living Museum”. There are 216 kinds of plants on the archipelago, which are found nowhere else in the world.
The whole tourism is concentrated on the Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands. Most travelers prefer to stay in Puerto Ayora, because the infrastructure is adapted to tourist needs. The best places to stay are situated on the coast, but they are accordingly expensive. In case of planning a budget vacation it is better to book a room in city hotels.
The capital of the archipelago is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, located on the island of San Cristobal. The largest town of the Galapagos Islands is Puerto Ayora, which is on the island of Santa Cruz. It is a tourist center with good infrastructure. The city has the Galapagos National Park Service and Charles Darwin Research Station. Its scientists make research and monitoring the ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. The specialists also grow and prepare for resettlement in the natural environment, many species of animals inhabiting the Islands, in particular, the giant Galapagos turtles.
Since 1985, the Galapagos Islands and the surrounding land are regarded as a protected area. The beauty of the nature on the Islands can leave nobody indifferent. Flora and fauna of the Islands are extremely unique and have a perfect harmony. Today the Galapagos Islands are included in the list of UNESCO world heritage. The main representative of the flora is a prickly cactus, which grows to 10 meters in height. The animal wealth of this stunning place contains sea lions, penguins, dolphins, whales, white sharks. It is home to the most ancient reptiles in the world – iguanas and Galapagos turtles. So, the Island of Santa Cruz is famous for the giant turtle whose life expectancy is 150 years old. There is also an impressive diversity of birds – flamingos, frigates, albatrosses, pelicans, bullfinches, phaetons. Most of them cannot be met anywhere else.
Many tourists from the entire world come to visit the fauna of the Islands and get a chance to dive. The best places for diving are the Islands of Darwin and Wolf. As the Islands of volcanic origin, there are often found traces of volcanic rivers, which add a certain charm to the whole landscape. Due to the close distance of the Islands to the equator the vacation season here is open all year round. The hot season is from February to April, when usually in other parts of the world is still cold. But in general, seasonal temperature changes are not particularly large. By the way, the tourist infrastructure is quite developed and one will easily be able to find a cozy hotel on one of the Islands with no problems. Unique wildlife, spectacular views of the coast with olive, black and white sand, clean waters attract tourists from around the world. But walking around the Galapagos Islands alone is not allowed, go sightseeing is only available with a tourist guide and only at permitted places.