The Galapagos Islands, view of Santiago Island from Bartolome Island

Galápagos wildlife

Made famous by Charles Darwin's discoveries, Galápagos is a remote, biologically fascinating archipelago in the Pacific Ocean which has been declared a World Heritage Site. Though they lie almost 1,000km away, the Galápagos Islands are part of Ecuador, and it's this isolation that has created an evolutionary hotspot. The animals and plants that managed to cross the vast distance to the islands have followed different evolutionary paths from their mainland kin to become new species. The islands themselves are volcanic and at about 4 million years old are fairly new, geologically speaking. The many species unique to the Galápagos Islands are therefore younger than that.

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