The Galápagos Islands

Known for unusual wildlife, the Galápagos Islands are a province of which country?

And the answer: Ecuador.

Located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador, the 19 Galápagos Islands were formed by volcanic activity and are near the confluence of three ocean currents. The islands are home to unusual plants and animals, such as the giant tortoise.  


With 97% of the land that comprises the Galápagos reserved as a national park, there's seemingly no limit to the abundant wildlife and natural wonder within these islands. Otherwise known as the "Enchanted Isles," Galápagos National Park – established over 60 years ago through presidential decree – has taken the lead in facilitating important biological studies, whose conclusions have helped guide conservation and protection efforts in the region.

Photo credit: Diego Delso. 

And good thing, too: the wildlife which comprises the region is some of the most unique in the world. In fact, the Galápagos Islands are the only place in the Northern Hemisphere where you can see penguins in their natural habitat. The Galápagos penguin is the second smallest species of its kind and is typically observed on the western islands of Isabela and Fernandina. Scientists believe this is possible due to the unique marine and air currents which meet in this region.

Due to its proximity to the equator, Galápagos Islands enjoy around 12 hours of daily sunlight year round – there's no need for that pesky daylight savings! This also means that weather on the islands is temperate year round, providing plenty of time to see daytime and nocturnal animals. Luckily, the creatures found in the islands have very little fear of people due to the lack of natural predators. While visitors are recommended to stay at least 6 feet away from wildlife at all times, sometimes the wildlife wants to get, well, a little bit closer.

Photo credit:

Learn more about the Galápagos Islands here.

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