Galapagos Island Facts

The Galapagos are an archipelago of 120 islands. The islands are home to species that have developed over millions of years, cut off by sea from invasion by humans and other species. Of the 5000 species of living organisms in the Galapagos Islands, 40 per cent are only found on these islands, including: 36 per cent of their plants, 90 percent of their reptiles, 60 per cent of their birds and mammals, 46 per cent of their insects. Galapagos Islands Reptiles pictures, Marine iguanaMost famous of the rare species are: giant marine tortoises which grow up to 1.5-metres long and 1-metre high and live for hundreds of years, marine iguanas which are lizards called 'diving dragons', cormorants which have lived so long without predators that they have lost the ability to fly, the only penguin and albatross found on the Equator, a great distance from their usual habitat in the Southern Ocean, giant sea lions and remarkable birds.

Visas: Citizens of most countries can stay a maximum of 90 days per annum without needing a visa.

Health risks: Dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, typhoid, and a minor risk of cholera, rabies and diphtheria. Get a yellow fever vaccination if you plan to visit the rainforests of the Oriente.

Weights & measures: Metric

When to Go: Travelers can visit Ecuador year-round; certain areas are better at certain times of the year, but there are no absolutes. In terms of the weather, El Niño hits hard about one winter every decade, playing havoc with road and rail connections and making communication spotty in some outlying areas. If you're visiting the Galapagos, you'll find the warm rainy season from January to April is the best time for snorkeling; the rest of the year the water is cooler, typically around 20°C (68°F). in the Galapagos tends to be mid-December through January and June to August, when most of the vacationing foreign visitors arrive.

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