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national parks
 NATIONAL PARKS & PROTECTED AREAS [GALAPAGOS]
   GALAPAGOS NATIONAL PARK
 
Description
Sights
Flora and Fauna
Getting there
 

Location:     Galapagos Islands

Founded:     4 th July, 1959

Area Size:     693,700 hectares ; 1,714,000 acres

Altitude Range :     1-1,707 metres: 3,28- 5,600 feet

Admission Fee:     US $100

   DESCRIPTION

The Galapagos Archipelago is one of Ecuador ís main tourist attractions and principle area of scientific interest. Without a doubt, the Galapagos Islands are the most famous and well-known tourist spot in the country.

 

The Galapagos are of volcanic origin and consist of three main islands, six smaller islands, and 42 small baron islands or quays. Situated towards the north and south of the equatorial line, 97 per cent of the total surface area of the islands constitutes the Galapagos National Park, with the exception of the inhabited areas of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela, Floreana and also Isla Baltra, where the Ecuadorian Armed Forces have been stationed. The Galapagos Islands constitute the first Ecuadorian National Park , which was established in 1936 with the aim of conserving its flora, fauna and outstanding natural beauty of the landscape. In order to manage the area more efficiently the Galapagos National Park Service was set up in 1959, which is in charge of coordinating and implementing conservation programs and running the islands. In the same year, the 100 th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwinís book, The Origin of Species, the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands was created, sponsored by UNESCO and UICN (the World Union for Nature Conservation). Five years later the operational arm, the Charles Darwin Research Station, was founded in Santa Cruz .

 

In response to an application by the Ecuadorian government, the United Nations Cultural Heritage Committee awarded the Galapagos status as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Shortly after, in 1985, the islands were also declared a Biosphere Reserve.

 

The Islands emerged from the depths of the ocean millions of years ago as a result of continuous underwater volcanic eruptions, which pushed huge quantities of volcanic material to the surface of the ocean. On several of the many islands volcanoes still are emerging today, Volcano Wolf being the most important at around 1,707 metres high. The activity and appearance of the volcanoes in this region is similar to that in Hawaii , where volcanoes are characterised by wide cones and enormous craters.

Last Updated 24th July 2006 (DLW)

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