Galapagos is one of the most important national parks in the world. It has 13 main islands and dozens of islets and minor volcanic islands. This archipelago, 97% of which is protected by the government, is located almost 620 miles from the Ecuadorian coast and is characterized by its white-sand beaches, cactus forests, giant turtles, and colored birds – such as the blue-footed, redfooted and masked boobies, flamingos, and penguins. The Islands are also home to finches, frigate birds, albatrosses, and pelicans.
The islands are a living laboratory of animal species that do not exist anywhere else on the planet. The capital of the Galapagos Islands, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, is located on San Cristóbal Island. Its attractions include El Junco Lake, León Dormido (Kicker Rock), Lobos Island, and Cerro Tijeretas (Frigate Bird Hill).
On Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station has been working on various conservation projects for several decades. There, you can see the ancient giant Galapagos tortoises, which live for an average of 150 years. Floreana, Genovesa, Santiago, Española, Seymour Norte, Plazas, Santa Fé, and Isabela islands are all home to a large range of endemic species that live in this paradise.
The marine reserve, which like the archipelago was declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, features on the list of the seven best places in the world to snorkel and scuba dive. During such trips, visitors can swim with whales, rays, manta rays, swordfish, marine turtles, sea lions, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, and other impressive species.