the islands are part of Ecuador, nearly 1000 km west of the mainland. The isolated location spurred
the development of endemic species like island specific tortoises..
Archeologic evidence shows the islands
were visited by pre-Incan sailors, Later pirates used it as a basis to raid the Spanish ships leaving Peru with loads of
stolen Inca gold.
In the 19th century whalers and seal hunters decimated the tortoise and seal populations.
in 1835 and his study of the island specific finches led to his revolutionary theory of natural selection.
Most tourists fly
from Guayaquil to Baltra and then board a boat to cruise the various islands. Access to the islands is restricted and only allowed
with an official guide.