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World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands
Galápagos Tortoise

The Galápagos Islands are famed for their vast number of endemic species and the studies by Charles Darwin that led to his theory of evolution by natural selection.

It is an archipelago made up of 13 main volcanic islands, 6 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. The oldest island is thought to have formed between 5 and 10 million years ago, a result of tectonic activity. The youngest islands, Isabela and Fernandina, are still being formed, with the most recent volcanic eruption in 2005.

The islands are distributed around the equator, 965 kilometres (about 600 miles) west of Ecuador.

Map of Galapagos Islands

Legend

  • Natural

Community Reviews


Laura Barber, USA 28.11.11

We traveled to the Galapagos Islands in early September. We spent time in Quito,Ecuador on both ends of the trip. We spent 8 days in the Galapagos on a 16 passenger cozy boat. the crew were great and they only roughness we experienced was during the night travel when the boat rocked and rolled due to the Humboldt current and our speed. When you visit the islands your itinerary isn't set definitely until you sail. The govt monitors the numbers on the islands by day. We left from San Cristobal and traveled to several different islands. I was initially worried that we would not find any animals but I was amazed at their numbers and that they didn't scatter when we arrived! The birds, sea lions, penguins etc were all amazing. We had a naturalist with us and he had tons of info to share. The trip was well managed and we spent a morning in one location, had lunch and a rest period and then went out again until dinner time. The climate was warm and sunny each day but the water was extremely cold due to the current. When we went, many of the birds had their babies and that was pretty amazing. No matter when you go to the Galapagos, you are guaranteed to see a lot of birds, iguanas, sea lions, tortoises,lizards, albatross, frigates, blue footed boobies, herons, warblers, finches etc...it is nature at its' best!


Solivagant UK

Galapagos Islands by Solivagant

The usual problem with taking “wild life” holidays is the uncertainty as to whether one will actually see the creatures one is traveling so far (and often paying so much!) to see. Over the years we have seen most of the animals we have gone to see – but it has sometimes taken several visits to do so – thus we have failed to see Gorillas in Gabon, Wolves in Alaska and Jaguars in Guyana.

A great thing about the Galapagos is that the animals WILL turn up on cue. There may not be a vast variety of species but, if an island is supposed to have a species, you will have to be very unlucky not to see it!!

And on top of that of course they are incredibly tame.

Darwin wrote at one point in his diary - 'I pushed off a branch with the end of my gun, a large hawk'.

It was wonderful to have this episode confirmed as we landed on an island and there in front of us was a Galapagos Hawk. As we approached closer and closer it did not attempt to move. We did not of course push it off its perch with a gun or anything else but there was no doubt that we could have if we had been so minded!


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Site Info

Full name: Galapagos Islands

Unesco ID: 1

Inscribed: 1978

Type: Natural

Criteria: 7   8   9   10  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2009 - Removed from Danger list 
  • 2007 - In Danger Serious conservation threats have intensified
  • 2001 - Extended To include the Galapagos Marine Reserve
  • 1995 - Extension deferred Marine extension deferred again - this time at request of Ecuador
  • 1994 - Extension deferred Marine Reserve: deferred until mitigative action taken regarding threats
  • 1978 - Inscribed 

Locations

The site has 1 locations.

  • Galapagos Islands