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Bartolome Island

Blue-Footed Booby

Situated 620 miles (1,000 km) off the coast of Ecuador, the archipelago of the Galapagos Islands are a fascinating destination for naturalists. Declared the first national park in Ecuador in 1936, the Galapagos Islands were also the first national park created in South America. The park is the one of most visited protected areas in the world.

Due to its unusually high endemism of flora and fauna within its volcanic deserts, Galapaos Islands were declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Originally formed of more than 2,000 volcanoes, it now consists of 13 islands and over 40 islets. The combination of geologic, oceanographic and climatic conditions, give the islands

Marine Iguana

Bartolome outcrop

very special inhabitants that have evolved in isolation. This makes its wildlife of particular interest to evolutionary historians. The study of this isolation helped naturalist Charles Darwin develop his theory of natural selection, as published in "Origin of Species".


Snorkeling offers a chance to playfully romp with curious sea lions in the changing warm and cool currents of the Pacific Ocean. The scuba diver is invited to explore the colorful assortment of sea life within the coral reefs.

Sea Lion

Wildlife encounter s are abundant.

The volcanic deserts provide a hearty environment for cacti.

From the courtship beak battles of the albatross bird, to the salt-sneezing marine iguanas, the islands are home to some of the world's most specialized creatures.

Galapagos Tortoise

photo: Justin Strauss

224 endemic species of vascular plants

            28 species of endemic birds

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