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Galápagos Islands

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True-color image of the Galapagos Islands acquired by NASA's Terra satellite

The Galapagos Islands (Spanish: Archipiélago de Colón; also known as Islas de Colón or Islas Galápagos) are an archipelago comprised of 13 major islands, 8 smaller islands, and 40 islets in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 kilometers west of Ecuador. The islands are perhaps best known for being the site where Charles Darwin witness evidence for diversification of species that provided support for his theory of evolution by means of natural selection. In 1835, Charles Darwin visited the islands while serving as a naturalist aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, where he studied the unique flora and fauna of the island, including finches and tortoises.

  • Size:430 kilometers long.
  • Area: Total area (sea): 45000 square kilometers. Total land area: 7882 square kilometers

Population: The first peoples to visit the island were the Chimu (From northern Peru) in 1485.

1990 Estimate: 12000 people.
Major settlements of people: Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz), 4000; Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal), 2800; Puerto Villamil (Isabela), 1000; Puerto Velasco (Floreana), 700.
Map centered over the Galapagos

Climate: The ocean currents largely determine Galapagos Islands' weather. Normally from June - December, there is a cold current rising from the south which creates a cool moist fog called a garúa close to the ocean making the climate rather cool and dry. In December, the wind has less force; the ocean is calm and the currents change, surrounding the islands in the warm Panama Current from the North. These currents create a definable weather pattern of hot sunny mornings followed by clouds and occasional showers in the afternoons. Needless to say, this is usually the favorite time to visit. In other words: June - December cool, cloudy and dry season. December - June, warm, sunny and rainy season.

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