Giant turtleslava formations, iguanas deftly jumping into the sea, completely ignoring the infertility of their lands. Strangely adapted wildlife made a strong impression on Charles Darwin when he came to the Galapagos Islands in 1835 and, perhaps, to a considerable extent inspired him to discover the evolutionary process through natural selection.
Unfortunately, today their pollution,congestion, infrastructure development is strongly opposed to efforts aimed at preserving the wildlife, habitats of unique flora and fauna. The tourist boom continues, the number of visitors is growing every year, over the past twenty years their number has tripled. But even this is not a serious problem. Galapagos Islands and the surrounding waters, located on bothside of the equator in the Pacific Ocean, west of the continental Ecuador, of which they are part, are controlled by the national park and the biological marine reserve. Nevertheless, people for many years involuntarily or intentionally introduce invasive life forms that can undermine the natural order. According to the Charles Darwin Foundation, it is about 750 alien species of plants and 490 insects. Scientists warn that damage can be irreversible.
Galapagos Islands, which are the tops of volcanoes, began to appearfrom the ocean about five million years ago as a result of tectonic activity. The most recent, named Isabela and Fernandina, are still forming, recent eruptions of the volcano were recorded in 2009. The flora and fauna on the "enchanted islands", as tourists call them, is almost unique, it can not be found in any other place. Animals and plants appeared here in different ways, including pirates. Finchs and mockingbirds were carried away from their normal course by storms, a woody scalesia plant came here by carrying seeds through the air.
The archipelago consists of thirteen large islands(with an area of ten square kilometers), five medium ones (total area from one to ten square kilometers) and 215 small ones, plus rock outcrops (several square meters). They are separated from each other by parts of the sea with deep and strong currents, so the isolation of plants and animals caught on them, the inability to interbreed with native species that colonized other shores occurred. New inhabitants had to adapt to the conditions of the new house.
The Galapagos Islands are one of the few places ina world where there is no indigenous population. Today, according to various estimates, more than 25,000 people live in Balti, Isabela, Floreana, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. The main language is Spanish. The largest ethnic group consists of Ecuadorian Métis. They are descendants of Spanish colonists and Indigenous Indians, who arrived there mainly in the last century from the continental part of Ecuador. There are many white people here, mostly of Spanish descent. Some descendants of the first European and American colonists still live on the islands.
Until 1965, only on a private or chartered basisthe vessel could visit the Galapagos. Tours began to be organized from April 1969, at the same time the first hotel of Forest Nelson was founded on Santa Cruz Island (it still exists and is located next to the Charles Darwin biocenter, but is currently closed for repairs). Local fishermen began preo
Today the Galapagos Islands, whose photosstimulate the desire to travel to this mysterious corner of our planet, have many land hotels located on San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Florea and Isabel.