One of the most remote and wonderful archipelagos in the world, the Galapagos islands were unknown until Charles Darwin paid a flying visit on the HMS Beagle in 1835.
The islands were actually discovered by the Bishop of Panama, Fray Tomás de Berlanga, some three hundred years earlier, but it was Darwin’s arrival and his subsequent Origins of the Species which gave the island international repute.
The 21 islands (18 major) straddling the Equator are part of Ecuador. They also are home to a vast array of species endemic to the islands.
The giant tortoise is perhaps the most famous of the islands inhabitants, although frigate birds, blue footed boobies and sea iguana are equally wonderful. It was the mockingbird that inspired Darwin’s theory. With no predator, except for man, these creatures tend to laze around all day, and a stroll along one of the protected islands’ paths often involves dodging a crowing bird or two. Truly an unmissable experience.