Galápagos Islands

Archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, part of Ecuador since 1832

The Galápagos Islands (Archipiélago de Colón in Spanish) are a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean which now belong to Ecuador.

The Galápagos Islands are near Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean
The Galápagos Islands are near Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean
The Galápagos Islands are near Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean
The Galápagos Islands are near Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean
Marine iguana.
Grapsus grapsus, Galapagos.
The Galápagos land iguana basking on a rock
Blue-footed booby.
Waved albatrosses' famous courtship ritual
Sea lions in the Galápagos are somewhat tame, and very curious.
Fresh Water Swimming in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos on the Island of Santa Cruz.
Galápagos tortoise on Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos
Puerto Ayora at night on the Island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

The islands are famous for having many native animals, including giant tortoises, that are found nowhere else on Earth. These animals helped Charles Darwin towards his theory of evolution by natural selection after he visited the islands in 1835.

97% of the islands are a national park, all except the inhabited parts. The Galápagos National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1978),[1] a marine reserve (1980), and a biosphere reserve (1986).[2]

The Galápagos Islands are on the equator, 973 km (604 miles) west of Ecuador in South America. There are 19 islands with a total of 8,010 square km (3,093 sq. miles) of land.[3] The islands were made from volcanoes, and volcanoes are still making the islands of Isabela and Fernandina today. The most recent volcanic eruption was the Wolf Volcano in early January 2022 on Isabela Island.



2001, about 18,000 people lived in the Galápagos Islands.[3] Most people have come from mainland Ecuador to live in the islands within recent years (about 3500 people lived on the islands in 1972). Most people are from the Mestizo ethnic group, which are the descendants of Spanish and Native American peoples.

There are about 30,000 people living in the Galapagos as of 2012. People live on only 5 of the 19 islands of the Galápagos: Baltra, Floreana, Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. Puerto Ayora is the biggest town, where about 10,000 people live. Puerto Ayora is on Santa Cruz Island. The second biggest town is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal with about 5,600 people. Puerto Villamil is the town of Isabela Island, where about 2,000 people live.

Tourism has steadily grown over the last two decades; in 2012 it is estimated that 200,000 tourists will visit the Galápagos Islands.[4]

Galápagos Province


The islands are one of the 24 provinces of Ecuador. The capital of the province is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, a town with 5,600 people.

There are three cantons in the province. Each canton has a seat, which is a town like a capital. All of the islands of the province are in one of the three cantons.

Canton Canton seat Main islands
Isabela canton Puerto Villamil Darwin, Fernandina, Isabela, Wolf
San Cristóbal canton Puerto Baquerizo Moreno Española, Floreana, Genovesa, San Cristóbal, Santa Fe
Santa Cruz canton Puerto Ayora Baltra, Bartolomé, Marchena, North Seymour, Pinta, Pinzón, Rábida, Santa Cruz, Santiago

Noteworthy species


Noteworthy species include:


  1. UNESCO, "Galápagos Islands"; retrieved 2012-4-21.
  2. World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), "Archipielágo de Colon (Galápagos)"; retrieved 2012-7-18.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Galapagos Islands". Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
  4. "The Galapagos Islands Fact Sheet". Galapagos Conservation Trust. Archived from the original on March 7, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2009.

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