8 Interesting Facts about the Galapagos

You’ve probably heard about the archipelago of islands, famous for inspiring Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. In this remarkable place, the diversity of wildlife changes from island to island, leading to Darwin’s observation: “…by far the most remarkable feature in the natural history of this archipelago is that the different islands to a considerable extent are inhabited by a different set of beings…”. Read up on what makes the 18 islands – and their wildlife – so unique:

  • Due to its location straddling the equator, the Galapagos boast a nice equality of 12 hours of daylight and nighttime year round. (Makes planning easy, right?) Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to see both nocturnal and diurnal wildlife.
  • In order to protect its delicate and unique ecosystems, Ecuador actually limits the number of visitors per year that are allowed permits to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This means you don’t have to worry about dodging hordes of tourists as you enjoy the islands.
  • If hiking is your thing – then Galapagos could be considered a trekker’s paradise. From trekking the volcanic crater of Sierra Negra, hiking through impressive lava fields, or walking amongst migrating giant tortoises that look like boulders – you might feel like you’re on an entirely different planet.
  • The marine iguana might be one of the most interesting evidence of Darwin’s evolution theories and conclusions. Its distinctive traits allow it live in an aquatic environment. Yes, you can literally swim with a lizard – because in the Galapagos nearly anything is possible!
  • Another animal defying its usual habitat – the penguin! The Galapagos Islands are the only place in the northern hemisphere where you’ll see penguins. The small penguins like life in topics, ‘cause who doesn’t?
  • Perhaps the most famous sea bird in the region is the blue-footed booby, and you’ll spot those distinctive blue feet spot near the plentiful shorelines of the Galapagos. Oddly enough, its cousin, the red-footed booby, acts more like a land bird. It nests in trees despite its sea-ready webbed feet.
  • What does the word Galapagos mean? Tortoise, of course! While you might read or hear that galapago is an old Spanish word for saddle, this is folklore. In fact, scholars say galapagos was actually used as the word for tortoise. Which makes sense, since the giant tortoises are one of the islands’ main attractions!
  • Galapagos is also home to a giant centipede called Scolopendra Galapagoensis. It can grow up to a foot and eats other animals, thanks to sharp claws and deadly venom. Yikes!

Swim with seals, and spot blue-footed booby and tropical penguins for yourself on our Quito and the Galapagos program!