10 Most Interesting Galapagos Islands Facts
With so many Galapagos Island facts circulating these days, it seems like a good idea to list the most interesting in one location. This will give you the opportunity to review the area at a glance, especially if you are making plans to visit during your next vacation.
One thing you should know is there are 18 islands and only about 3 are major tourist attractions. They include Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Although the airport is located on Baltra, you probably won’t spend much time there because there is not a whole lot to see.
The 10 most interesting Galapagos Island facts include:
1. Galapagos Island hotels play host to 90,000 tourists each year. Since the population of the island residents is approximately 40,000, this means the ratio of visitors to residents is almost 5 to 1. Ironically, the government only allows a maximum of 90,000.They keep a close watch on the tourist population. So the remaining 90,000 can only access the island from cruise ships during day excursions.
2. The Galapagos Island land mass is 4897 square miles, which is quite sizeable. However, of the entire area, the residents occupy just 3%. The remaining 97% are under the protection of the Galapagos National Park. This is another reason why tourism is strict.
3. One of the more interesting Galapagos Island facts reminds visitors of the previous residents who once dominated the area. They consisted of whalers, pirates, convicts and a few early settlers. Strangely enough, they all seemed to live together without negative implications.
4. Galapagos Island tours feature nature walks where you can see a number of native animal species, including donkeys, wild goats, dogs, feral pigs and more than 60 species of birds.
5. Other Galapagos Island facts include the marine life, which is abundant. You will no doubt run into a number of friendly dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins are not shy and will entertain you while leaping out of the water and spinning acrobatically into the air. Whales are also common.
6. Since the Galapagos Islands are famous for the giant Green Sea Turtles, you will see them all over. These magnificent creatures lay their eggs, at least 100 at a time on shore so you will definitely stumble upon a few empty shells. The turtles are generally in the water poking their heads up for air, but you can also spot a few in the shallow waters of the bay. To ensure spotting, travel to Fernandina, Bartolome, Santa Fe and Floreana Islands.
7. The reason why the Galapagos Islands have so many different types of marine life is because of the location. They merge with two currents. The bodies of water are the Panama Current, which is warm and the Humboldt Current, which is cold.
8. During 1997 and 1998 all Galapagos cruises were canceled due to the weather phenomenon known as El Nino. Unfortunately, there were 3 already on a direct course with the islands and had to be rerouted to avoid certain doom. Since then, weather experts have deduced that between the months of December and April, cruises should be avoided.
9. If you choose to go scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands, you must be rated a minimum of proficient. You can check with your tour operator upon landing on the island to verify your certification. If you do not meet with these standards, you will need to travel to Puerto Ayora where the less skilled divers are allowed.
10. Cotton is a major export for the residents of the Galapagos Islands. In fact, the flower that produces the cotton is larger than any other plant found there.