Most Unique Features
What Are the Unique Features of the Galapagos Islands?
The dynamic landscapes and extraordinary ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands make this archipelago one of the unique vacation spots in the world, drawing people from all stretches of life. This volcanic chain of islands has become a hotspot for divers, geologists, retirees, biologists, and backpackers alike, and all enticed to the islands by their distinct wonders. The Galapagos Islands filled with unique features found nowhere else on earth, from its waters to its volcanic activity, animal life, and beyond.
Unique Galapagos Life
The Galapagos Islands have one of the highest rates of endemism on the planet. A whopping 80% of land birds, 30% of plants, and 97% of reptiles and land mammals are unique to the archipelago, meaning that they are not found anywhere else on earth. The marine iguana is one of the best examples of this. Currently, the only ocean-faring lizard in the world, the marine iguana, has developed a unique set of features that enable it to thrive along the Galapagos shore, including a gland that collects salt from the lizard’s bloodstream, which it then sneezes out.
Sharks in the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands boast the highest reef fish biomass ever recorded, and the majority of this biomass is sharks. As many as 32 shark species sighted around the Galapagos Islands, and it is one of the few remaining places in the world where hammerhead sharks can still gather in groups of several hundred. However, don’t let the number of sharks stop you from deep-sea diving. Sharks around the Galapagos are known to be unusually docile thanks to the abundant sources of food in the rich Galapagos waters.
Not Just Rocks
A particularly unique aspect of the Galapagos Islands is the stunning array of geologic features found on them. One of the most volcanically active places in the world, the Galapagos Islands, formed from an ocean hotspot deep below the ocean surface. As the lava pushed up to the surface over the millennia, it splurged out into undulating lava flows, burst into the air to form large lava cones, and slid across the surface, leaving lava tubes in its wake. The famed Pinnacle Rock, Darwin’s Arch, Kicker Rock, and the ocean uplift on Isabela are just a few of the more notable geological formations on the Galapagos Islands.
Many people who arrive at the Galapagos Islands are taken aback by the tiny black and white bird that hides in the shadows of plunging rock crevices. The Galapagos penguin is the northernmost penguin in the world and the only penguin known to cross the equator. To survive the heat, the Galapagos penguin has developed a series of unusual behavioral adaptations. If you are lucky enough to visit Fernandina or Isabela Island where they live, you might see them hunched over with their wings fanned out to release as much heat as possible from their body. These penguins are also known to pant, much like a dog does to cool down.
Watch Your Step!
However, one of the features that most shocks visitors to the Galapagos Islands is the unusually tame nature of the Galapagos fauna. There are remarkably few predators in the Galapagos Islands, and humans have historically had a limited presence in the archipelago. As a result, the majority of Galapagos fauna never learned to fear humans. Baby sea lions happily play alongside sunbathers, and as you walk along the island paths, be careful to watch your step to avoid any lounging land iguanas!
The Galapagos Islands are known to be one of the unique island vacations in the world and will not disappoint! Explore this unique corner of the world that once hidden from humanity for millennia, is bursting with an extraordinary life and incredible sights!