Why Are the Galapagos Islands Famous?

Galapagos blue-footed booby

The Galapagos Islands are hot, dry, and almost completely isolated from civilization, yet their importance acknowledged around the world. So, how is it they came to be so famous? In no light terms, the Galapagos Islands have had a pivotal role in changing our understanding of life itself. However, apart from just researchers and biologists, the Galapagos Islands are renowned among honeymooners, backpackers, cruise-lovers, and divers for the uncommonly strange but beautiful life they hold.

The Missing Piece

In the 1800s, it was commonly accepted that all life on Earth had existed since the beginning of time; however, cracks were starting to appear, and new ideas were forming among the scientific community. When Charles Darwin stepped onto the islands in 1835, he had come to suspect that life had evolved from less complicated organisms, but he couldn’t explain how. Without this ‘how,’ the idea was viewed as entirely ludicrous.

The Galapagos Islands skyrocketed to international fame because they provided the missing piece to Darwin’s theory of evolution. The Galapagos Islands, being geologically young and completely isolated, are home to select few species. However, the ones that have made it there were not only able to reproduce but also adapted and further evolved into multiple species and subspecies (Darwin Finches are thought to have evolved into around 14!). As Darwin studied these subspecies, he noted how the slight differences between each subspecies made the animal perfectly adapted to its surroundings. How tortoises with short necks and legs lived in environments with a short hedge, however, islands with taller shrubs were inhabited by tortoises with long necks and legs. The Galapagos Islands enabled Darwin to piece together his theory of evolution by natural selection and reveal to the world how humans evolved from simpler to more complex organisms.

The Galapagos Islands Today

However, the Galapagos Islands’ fame is not just something of the past. Tourists visit the islands from all around the world to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and wonderfully rare wildlife, while at the same time to appreciate the significance of the islands’ history.

The Galapagos Islands are lined with beautiful, pristine beaches contrasted by crystalline water, making it a competitive beach vacation in itself; however, the stunning animals that have evolved in this remote archipelago make it a bucket-list destination for most visitors. From the salt-covered marine iguana to the flightless cormorant that lost its power of flight. Many species in the Galapagos are found nowhere else in the world. Added to the mix are exotic creatures like the blue-footed booby and great frigatebird, as well as outstanding geological formations like the Galapagos blowhole and Kicker Rock. The beauty and unique sights of the Galapagos Islands will unquestionably dazzle you.

The Galapagos Islands have also become particularly famous among the diving community and are home to some of the best diving spots in the world! Thanks to the unusually rich waters that surround the islands, an abundance of large marine species flock to the Galapagos including 32 species of sharks, rays, sea turtles, eels, Galapagos penguins, a beautiful assortment of reef fish and even the occasional octopus!

Few places in the world can compare with the pristine setting and unusual beauty of the Galapagos Islands. Coupled with the role they have had on our understanding of evolution, the Galapagos Islands have become one of the most sought-after vacation destinations in the world, and are without a doubt, entirely deserving of their fame.

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