The islands were discovered in 1535. Pirates, buccaneers and English whales used the islands till the early1800s. The islands were annexed to the new Republic of Ecuador 1830 in 1832 Ecuador turned the islands into a prison colony till 1959 when the islands became a National Park Protected area. The Galapagos are a province of the country of Ecuador. The islands and Marine reserve were eventually declared a World Natural Heritage.
Over 30.000 people live in 5 different islands, the area where people live is maybe 3 % of the territory and the rest of the islands 97% are very well protected National Park areas. The waters of the Galapagos enclose a 133.000 square kilometers of protected Marine Reserve and the far north islands Wolf and Darwin are considered a Marine Sanctuary and NO TAKE ZONE.
The main income of Galapagos is tourism and local fishing in a low scale. The islands are ruled under a SPECIAL LAW, which was created in 1988 for the Conservation of the Galapagos Ecosystems and the Sustainable development of Local communities. USA dollar is the local currency.
Two marine currents influence the Galapagos climate creating also two weather conditions:
December to May is our Hot / Wet season, Heavy rains are not common but occasionally may occur for short times. The Sea is calm, water is clear, not windy and the sky is rather sunny. The average air temperature is mid to high 80s and the average water temperature is mid to high 70s.
June to November is our Cold / Dry season, actually it is never too cold in the Galapagos. A little drizzle may occasionally happen. The Sea is sometimes a bit rough, it is a bit windy and the sky varies a lot with some rather sunny days and some overcast conditions. The average air temperature is low to high 70s and the average water temperature varies from high 60s and other places low to mid 70s
It is important to know that the Galapagos wildlife is active all year around therefore any time is a good time to come to the Galapagos
Galapagos National Park Rules
- Visitors to any protected areas within the Galapagos National Park must be accompanied by a naturalist guide authorized by the GNPD.
- Travel only with tour operators and/or boats authorized to work in the protected areas of Galapagos.
- Remain on marked trails at visitor sites and respect signs at all times for the protection of wildlife, and for your safety.
- Maintain a distance of at least six feet (two meters) from wildlife to avoid disturbing them, even if they approach you.
- Never feed wildlife, as this can cause health problems.
- Flash photography is not permitted when taking photos of wildlife. Professional photography and videos recorded for commercial purposes must be authorized by the GNPD.
- Camping is only allowed in a few authorized areas in the Islands. Request authorization to camp at the Galapagos National Park’s offices at least 48 hours in advance.
- It is your responsibility not to introduce food, animals, or plants into the Archipelago. Cooperate fully with all environmental inspection and quarantine officials during your visit.
- Do not take or buy any products or souvenirs made from banned substances, including black coral, shells, lava rock, animal parts, or any native wood or vegetation prior to leaving Galapagos. This is illegal and must be reported.
- Practice “leave-no-trace” principles in order to maintain the beauty of the environment.
- Pack out all trash and dispose of or recycle it in the populated areas or on your tour boat.
- Smoking and/or campfires are strictly prohibited within the Galapagos National Park, as fires poses a serious risk to the flora and fauna of Galapagos.
- Fishing is only permitted on recreational tour boats authorized by the GNPD.
- Motorized aquatic sports, mini-subs, and aerial tourism activities are not permitted in the Galapagos National Park or Marine Reserve.