Galapagos Islands: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Galapagos Islands.

  • The Galapagos Islands are a small island chain, known for their unique wildlife. They are located in the Pacific Ocean, about 926 km west of Ecuador.
  • There are 18 major islands in the chain and over 100 smaller islands, covering an area of about 8,000 km. The islands were discovered in 1535 and were named after English pirates.

  • The Galapagos Islands are volcanic and each year about 60 eruptions occur. Today, almost all the islands form a huge national park and wildlife conservation area.
  • In 1832, the islands were annexed by Ecuador. The first governor brought some convicts to one of the islands to live there, who were soon joined by artists.
  • In 1835, the naturalist Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in the Beagle as part of a round the world voyage. His research led to his theories on evolution and his groundbreaking book, On the Origin of Species.
  • Almost all the reptiles on the Galapagos Islands and half the plant species are not found anywhere else. Many creatures are tame and have little fear of people.
  • One of the most well known native creatures is the giant tortoise, which can live to be over 100 years old. They can reach a length of 1.8 metres and can weigh over 400 kg.
  • The Galapagos penguin can be seen on the islands and is the only penguin to live at the Equator.
  • The islands’ marine iguanas are the only lizards that live in the water.
  • The Manzanillo apple tree is native to the islands and has poisonous fruit. It is one of about 600 plant and tree species that are found on the islands.
  • On the Galapagos island of Floreana, a barrel was placed there in the 18th century to be used as a post box by whaling ships. Today the site is named Post Office Bay.