Travelling to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands is on many travellers bucket lists. It’s the ultimate location for experiencing a bit of life off-grid, up-close animal encounters and one-of-a-kind landscapes … to name a few!

With its unique, tropical location on the Equator, the Galapagos is the perfect year-round destination as temperatures remain warm and there are always equal hours of daylight and night.

Fascination with the Island doesn’t end there either. Read our top Galapagos Island facts below!


  • The Galapagos Islands is an archipelago and is made of 20 islands, 42 islets and over 250 rocks.
  • The term ‘galapago’ refers to the old castellan word meaning riding saddle; a reference to the tortoise shell.
  • 97% of the islands are a National Park, with the Galapagos also being declared as the first World Heritage site in 1978.


  • Inspiration for Charles Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ came from his 5-week visit to the islands in 1835. In the book, he noted that it was possible to distinguish which island a tortoise came from by the shape of its shell.
  • The oldest island in the Galapagos is estimated to be 3.5 million years old, while the youngest – Fernandina, is just 1 million years old and still forming.
  • Beginning in the late 16th Century, pirates became commonplace in the Spanish trade routes of the islands. According to ship logs, pirates would use the Galapagos as a hideout and a place to stash their loot.


  • 20% of the marine life around the islands is endemic to the area, including marine iguanas. These are the only lizards in the world who can swim and feed almost entirely on algae.


Interested in discovering the Galapagos Islands for yourself? Check out our Avalon Waterways itineraries!

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