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Galapagos Islands
(page 10 of 10)

Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution
The Galapagos Islands owe their fame to the British naturalist Charles Darwin who visited the islands in 1835 aboard the HMS Beagle. Darwin was struck by the differences between the various animals he encountered on the islands.

From the Galapagos, Darwin brought back to England several dozen finch specimens. It was from studying these finches that Darwin would come up with his theory of Evolution and Natural Selection. In 1859 Darwin published The Origin of the Species critical acclaim. Darwin summarized his view of the evolution of life in the last paragraph of his book:

"Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."

Darwin's studies inspired hundreds of scientists from all over the world. Over time the Galapagos would be inextricably linked to Darwin. In 1959 the Charles Darwin Foundation was founded with the support of UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization). The foundation is now dedicated to helping preserve the marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Galapagos for the benefit of future generations.

Main Islands

Isla Isabela
This is the largest Island of the Archipelago and it has six active volcanoes on it. One of them is Wolf, with an altitude of 1707 meters, the highest peak in Galapagos. Another very well known volcano but lower is the Ecuador Volcano.
In spite of it being an important tourist attraction, it is not as well visited as other islands because this island requires more time than normal to get to see it all. However, this island has several tourist sites inland as well as on the coast.

Isla San Cristóbal
This is the fifth largest island of the archipelago and one of the first to form. On this island is the capital of the province, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. On the north part of the island is the Junco volcano, the slopes of which descend towards the south and are covered with dense vegetation until reaching the port.
Highlands of San Cristobal. During the trajectory you can see how the vegetation changes according to the increasing altitude; the change in temperature can be felt, it decreases 1°C for every 200 meters. Its maximum altitude reaches 721 meters above sea level, the peak of the San Joaquin Mountain.
San Cristobal is the only island with a freshwater lake, which is found in the crater of the "El Junco" Volcano, it holds the vital liquid for the town on the Island and for the majority of tourist ships in the Galapagos. This water comes form the condensation of water vapor.
This is the new point of departure for tour cruises. Nearby you can find the spectacular natural rock formation called Sleeping Lion (León dormido); the Junco lagoon; the Bay and center of the "Tijeretas" and the frigate hill. It also has the main air terminal in the Galapagos.

Isla Española
This island was one of the first to form but does not have sign of any crater but is a small island with a flat surface. The Gardener Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches on the Archipelago and this is where the sea turtles tend to go to lay their eggs. Also living here is a colony of sea lions. Near the island are several islets that when explored by snorkel, offer a great day, views of sharks and turtles as well as several fish species.
This is the only place in the world where the albatross reproduce, these birds have a wing span up to 6 feet. There are also colonies of blue-footed boobies and masked boobies. On the island you can find the exclusive lava lizards and marine iguanas with their beautiful brilliant colors. You can also visit Punta Suarez that offers a spectacular spray of water when there are strong waves at the place called the Blow Hole.


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