The Galapagos Islands (Galapagos Islands also and officially Colón Archipelago or Galapagos Archipelago) are an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean located 972 km off the coast of Ecuador. It consists of 13 islands larger with a larger surface area to 10 sq km, 6 medium islands with an area of 1 sq km to 10 sq km and other 215 islets small addition to rocky headlands of few square meters, distributed around the line of Ecuador land.
The islands were declared a World Heritage Site in 1978 by Unesco. The archipelago has the largest source of tourism income and receives 200,000 visitors a year. It has also developed eco-tourism in order to preserve the species. The region was home to Lonesome George, the last specimen of the species Pinta giant tortoise, extinct on 24 June 2012. The islands are also home to species such as sea turtles, iguanas, lizards, cormorants, albatrosses, sea lions and penguins.
As the mainland of Ecuador, the archipelago is crossed by the equator , mostly in the north of Isabela Island . Galapagos archipelago is the second most volcanically active of the planet, second only to Hawaii. In the category of hot spots ; are the most active volcanoes Cerro Azul, Sierra Negra, Marchena and volcano La Cumbre in Fernandina Island, which is the most active of the archipelago and one of the busiest in the world.
Galapagos is known for its numerous endemic species and studies of Charles Darwin that led him to establish his theory of evolution by natural selection. They are by tourists, called The Enchanted Islands, the archipelago name earned in the sixteenth century by the great biodiversity of flora and fauna, inheriting the name for generations..
It is estimated that the formation of the first island took place more than 5 million years ago, as a result of tectonic activity. The most recent islands, calls Isabela and Fernandina, are still in process of formation, the most recent volcanic eruption has been recorded in 2009.
Administratively, Galapagos is a province of Ecuador, consisting of three cantons which in turn are islands, which are San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabela. On 12 February 1832 , under the presidency of Juan Jose Flores, the Galapagos Islands were annexed to Ecuador. From February 18 of 1973 constitute a province of this country. More information about Galapagos Cruise: http://naturegalapagos.com/