Why the Galapagos Islands are such a popular holiday destination - Travel

Why the Galapagos Islands are such a popular holiday destination   by Levi Mckie

in Travel    (submitted 2012-04-26)

If you've never visited the Galapagos Islands before then it should certainly be a high priority on your list of places to go. South America in itself is a great experience, though for some reason it doesn't generally seem to be one of the first places that people think of when choosing a holiday destination. South America harbours such natural beauties as the tranquil Lake Titicaca and is home to incredibly vibrant and bustling cities like Buenos Aires, and with such diversity it is hard to imagine anyone being disappointed by a trip there.

If you do find yourself in South America or planning a trip there then it would be a shame to not experience the many wonders that the Galapagos Islands have to offer. When it comes to diversity, the Galapagos Islands are the place to be, with an array of unique and fascinating wildlife that populates its territories. Before divulging into too much information about the curious little oddities that inhabit the Galapagos Islands I will first set the scene, and to do so a brief history of the islands is required.

The Galapagos Islands have not always been there; they are a result of volcanic eruptions, specifically mantle plumes. Gradually, after time went by, the remnants of these eruptions were eroded away leaving behind the islands we see today. Though the islands are not as old as the rest of the world they still date back millions of years, the youngest being around 4 million years old while the oldest is 7 million years old.

Because these islands were so isolated from the rest of the world, and probably more significantly the mainland, only certain species could inhabit the islands. So the main victors would be the birds and insects that made the 605-mile journey, plant seeds that were carried by the wind from the mainland and lizards that floated across on vegetation.

These circumstances resulted in the birth of a unique eco system, where many species would evolve and adapt in different ways to creatures in the rest of the world. As a result of this the islands were the subjects of many scientific expeditions, one of which led Charles Darwin's famous theory of evolution.

The various unique species on the Galapagos Islands are quite extensive, probably the most well known is the giant tortoise which can weigh in at a staggering 225kg and measure 6 feet from head to tail. And what's more these animals have never learnt to fear man so photo opportunities are far easier.