The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands that can be found on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, 926 km (500 nautical miles) west of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part.
The islands have a national park and a biological marine reserve. Although the islands have a scant human population of 25,000 people, the most interesting inhabitants are the many and varied animals that call these islands home, and which famously attracted the attention of Charles Darwin. Part of the islands are opened to travelers so there is the opportunity for outsiders to visit one of the true marvels of our world.
A baby sea lion (less than 2 months old), Espanola Island. Unfortunately, this beautiful Galapagos island, rich in biodiversity and plant life, has faced many crises thanks to humans. Back in 2008, dozens of sea lions were found brutally murdered on Pinta Island, the nature reserve of the Galapagos Islands.
Galapagos does sunsets the right way - beautiful.
A yellow and red land iguana.
Blowholes are quite common on the islands.
'Red Sally' lightfoot crabs coming in with the tide, Islas Plazas
The Galapagos Giant Tortoise is the largest living species of tortoise and 10th heaviest living reptile, reaching weights of over 400 kg (880 lb) and lengths of over 1.8 meters (5.9 ft). These giants live to see 100 years of age in the wild, and have lived up to 170 years in captivity.
This bizarre but stunning creature was named 'dandelion' by the geologists who discovered it during a 1977 expedition. We now know that is related to the Portuguese 'man-of-war' (a type of jellyfish).
Flamboyant flamingos also call the Galapagos Islands home.
San Christo Kicker Rock.
Diamond stingrays patrol the shallow waters near the shore.
The marine iguana is found only on the Galapagos Islands, and has the ability, unique among modern lizards, to live and forage in the sea, making it a marine reptile. The iguana can dive over 9 m into the water.
Marine Iguanas enjoying the sunshine.
This crab looks like it has some sort of death wish.
Beautiful waterfall near San Christobal, Galapagos, Ecuador.
This was the first island explored by Charles Darwin during his famous exploration in 1835.
What is now known as 'Darwin's Arch'.
The beautiful bay of Bartolome Island.
Besides creatures, the Galapagos Islands have many beautiful and interesting rock formations, which also serve as good places for sea lions to practice their favorite hobby - sleep.
A Galapagos Crab making some direct eye contact.
Swallow tailed gulls at Islas Plazas.
Penguins on the rocks, watching both directions.
A large group of sea lions. Being fairly social, and one of the most numerous species in the Galapagos archipelago, they are often spotted sun-bathing on sandy shores or rock groups or gliding gracefully through the surf. Their loud bark, playful nature, and graceful agility in water make them the "welcoming party" of the islands.
Sailing away at sunset and saying goodbye to the beautiful Galapagos Islands. What a wonderful place!