The Galapagos islands straddle the equator near the Galapagos Triple Junction, one of the few places where three tectonic plates meet. The islands sit right on a volcanic hotspot where a mantle plume forges active volcanos.
Since 1832 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.
Darwin visited 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.
We visited the Galapagos Islands in June 2009 onboard the luxurious Celebrity Xpedition.
The Highlights album is for those that do not want to wade through all the albums.
San Cristobal
Santa Cruz
North Seymore
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