b The Galapagos Islands (also Galapagos islands and officially archipelago of Columbus or archipelago of Galapagos) constitute a archipelago of the Pacific Ocean located to 972 km of the coast of Ecuador. It consists of thirteen large islands with a surface area greater than 10 km², six median islands with an area of 1 km² to 10 km² and another 215 small islets, as well as rocky promontories of a few square meters, distributed around the equator land.
The islands were declared a World Heritage Site in 1978 by Unesco. The archipelago has the largest source of income tourism and receives 200 000 tourists a year. Ecological tourism has also been developed in order to preserve the species. The region was the habitat of El Solitario George, the last specimen of the giant tortoise species of Pinta, extinct on June 24, 2012.4 The islands are also habitat for species such as sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, hammerhead sharks, whales, reefs Coral, frigates, iguanas, lizards, cormorants, albatrosses, sea lions and penguins. Like the continental mass of Ecuador, the archipelago is crossed by the equatorial line, for the most part by the north of Isabela Island. Galapagos is the second archipelago with greater volcanic activity of the planet, surpassed only by Hawaii. Enter the category of hot spots; The most active volcanoes are Cerro Azul, Sierra Negra, Marchena and La Cumbre volcano on Fernandina Island, which is the most active of the archipelago and one of the most active in the world.
Galapagos is known for its numerous endemic species and the studies of Charles Darwin that led him to establish his theory of evolution by natural selection. They are called, touristy, The Enchanted Islands, a name that was won by the archipelago in the 16th century for its great biodiversity of flora and fauna, inheriting the name for generations.