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GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

         

These islands are a land that time forgot, for they are cut off from the coast of Ecuador by 1,000 kilometers of water. They hug the equator and are scattered across 17 thousand square miles of ocean, a cluster of 13 major islands, seventeen islets and 47 reefs.

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"I have not as yet noticed by far the most remarkable feature in the natural history of this archipelago; it is, that the different islands to a considerable extent are inhabited by a different set of beings" -- Charles Darwin

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Sunrise over the Galapagos Islands

 
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Darwin Island

Discovered in 1536, the Galapagos Islands have never been connected to the mainland so the myriads of reptiles, birds, plants and shorefish which drifted or flew to its shores have remained isolated in a unique environment to undergo their own distinct evolution.

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A young frigate bird                                      A blue-footed booby

Because of what he saw here, Charles Darwin first conceived the revolutionary theory of "the origin of species". Indeed, so rare are these species, that virtually all the reptiles and half the plants and bird life are found nowhere else in the world.

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The Galapagos Islands

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A giant tortoise is only one of 11 sub-species
of tortoise left in the Galapagos

A land of breathtaking contrast with grey volcanic rock, parch deserts and lush cool forests located off traditional maritime routes, it is not surprising that the early marinas were disbelieved when they talked about strange flightless birds, fire spitting volcanoes, bubbling black rocks, seaweed eating dragons and tortoises big enough to carry men on their backs.

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A wildlife paradise almost prime evil in its splendour, the animals are so tame you can walk among them, swim with them and photograph them up close. Today, the Galapagos Islands are an Ecuadorian National Park with a strict yearly visitor quota limit.

bird     turtles

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A brown pelican, an endemic sub-species of the Galapagos

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The sea lion possibly arrived in the Galapagos about two
million years ago when sea temperatures were significantly colder

Only cruise vessels with permits are allowed on specific islands and then only at certain times. No one is allowed ashore without a qualified naturalist guide. Once on shore, you stick to set paths so that the eco-structure is not spoiled.

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Sunset at the Galapagos Islands

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

ADVENTURE ASSOCIATES
 
P.O. Box 612
Bondi Junction, N.S.W.2022
   AUSTRALIA
Telephone: +61 2 9389 7466
Facsimile: +61 2 9369 1853
E-mail: mail@adventureassociates.com

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FACTS AT A GLANCE

Climate                     Tropical heat tempered by the Pacific Ocean breezes.

Clothing                    Casual. Take good walking shoes, bathing suit and a light jacket for evenings.

Electricity                 110 volt generated on cruise vessels only.

Time Zone                GMT minus 6 hours.

Currency                  American dollars or Ecuador sucres

Tipping                     Expected on cruise vessels.

Visas & Health        An entrance fee of US$100 is payable on arrival.

GETTING THERE

Aerolineas Argentinas and LanChile to South America, then to Equador where the Government-run TAME Airline flies from Quito to Galapagos. San Airlines (non-government) also flies to the Galapagos Islands from Quito.

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 (E-mail: jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 24th April 2012)