Located 1000km west off the coast of Ecuador, in the Pacific Ocean, lies the remotely located Galapagos Islands. In 1835, these world-renowned islands provided Charles Darwin with the inspiration for his Theory of Natural Selection and, in 1959, they were declared a national park. Upon arrival, you will be completely blown away by the abundance of rare wildlife and natural features. There are many endemic species to be found on the islands and this short guide will give you an idea of what you can expect to see.
It is interesting to note that “galapago” is, in fact, Spanish for tortoise. The Galapagos tortoises are the largest in the world and possess one of the longest lifespans of any living vertebrate, with an average lifespan of over 170 years. They have a large, dark brown shell, the plates of which are fused with the ribs to form a resilient structure that is part of the skeleton. Galapagos tortoises can be found on seven of the islands.
A few of the Galapagos Islands are located marginally north of the equator, meaning that the native Galapagos penguin is the only penguin on earth to reside in the northern hemisphere. These penguins are among the smallest on earth and, sadly, remain an endangered species. At present, there are fewer than 1,000 breeding pairs of Galapagos penguins in the world.
These fascinating birds are distinguishable by their brightly coloured blue feet, which play a key role in courting rituals and breeding. A blue-footed booby will lift its feet up and down as part of an entertaining display to attract females. It is also interesting to note that the natural blue colour is established from the pigments obtained from a diet of fresh fish. Whilst the blue-footed booby is not actually native to the Galapagos Islands, around half of the world’s population reside there.
This is perhaps one of the most distinguishable birds in the world and, although widespread, it is thought that native magnificent frigatebirds are distinctive for not having bred with mainland counterparts. The most distinctive feature of these birds is the red throat pouch, which makes for a stunning, bright display when fully inflated. As you may have expected, the bigger the pouch, the most attractive it will appear to females.
The species above only mount for a small percentage of wildlife you can expect to see during a visit to the Galapagos Islands. If you want to embark on an exciting adventure of your own to these stunning untouched islands, you will be glad to know we can provide a range of tours that can take you there. For more information, call our freephone number or complete the online form.