Galapagos Islands

About islands: Galapagos Islands

There are few places in the world, to which you can rightly apply the word «unique», however, Galapagos Islands quite deserve the term. Notwithstanding boundless variety of dif-ferent species and their constant migrations about the planet, Darwin was absolutely right calling the Galapagoses the «world in itself».

It isn’t clear why the islands, which are only a thousand kilometers of Ecuador, have ani-mals and plants, which are so different from continental flora and fauna. So far no clear ex-planations have been suggested, as to why 14 species of gigantic turtles you can find only on Galapagos Islands but in no other corner of the world (you can see similar turtles only on the Seychelles). By the way, it is just these turtles that gave their name to the archipelago – the «Galapagoses».

Galapagos Archipelago consists of 19 larger and more than a hundred of smaller islands. Animals of one island are different from those of some other island, that is, the animals of one and the same species adapted to specific conditions of the island and so acquired some new features. It was just these observations that inspired Darwin to create its theory of human evo-lution (quite doubtful theory by the way, so it doesn’t matter here), which was based on the principle of «natural selection».

Though the islands are almost on Equator, it isn’t hot there because of the strong influence of cold-water Peru Current. Temperature is in the range +22-24°C and is little changed during the year. So, you can go to the Galapagos Islands any time of the year, though it would be better to go there in the period from March through April. There are 5 active volcanoes on Isa-bella Island, adding a flavor to unusual nature of the archipelago.

Since 1959 the Galapagoses have been the territory of national park. You can start you visit from Santa Cruz, the main island of archipelago. There is a seaport and airport on the island, and from there you can set out on a tour of the other islands. However, you can't do it without a guide. Independent travels over the islands or any such actions are prohibited.

Tourist visits are strictly controlled, so that not to disturb local ecosystems. Probably, that’s why most endemic animals aren’t afraid of people, and even don’t flee on their ap-proach.

Galapagos Islands are considered one of the most interesting places for scuba diving. The water area of Darwin and San Salvador is the generally acknowledged diving center, though the other islands aren’t the least interesting. Alas, because of cold current you can see there no coral reefs (excepting a small area in Urbina Bay, Fernandia Island), but there are a great number of other curious species of underwater world.

Where can you see ever starfish reaching the size of one meter and a half? There you can swim in a company of seals, dolphins, penguins, sea lions, and turtles. In summer and autumn you can also see huge whale sharks near Darwin Island.

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