the slands are part of Ecuador, nearly 1000 km west of the mainland. The isolated location spurred
the development of endemic species like island specific tortoises.
Archeological 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
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 toBaltra and then board a boat to cruise the various islands. Access to the islands is restricted and only allowed with an official