Situated 600-plus miles west of mainland Ecuador at the confluence of three ocean currents, the Galapagos archipelago is comprised of 13 primary islands, 6 medium-size islands and 200-plus islets. The seismic processes that formed these islands, combined with their remote location, helped produce the diverse fauna that Charles Darwin studied in the 1830s as he formulated his theory of evolution. Today, this wildlife, from iguanas to blue-footed booby birds, remains the Galapagos' star attraction. Snorkel among sea turtles, sharks, rays and sea lions off Champion Islet, enjoy a Zodiac ride around Vicente Roca Point to see fur seals and walk the red-sand landscape of Radiba Island, home to a pelican colony. A stop in the town of Puerto Aroya affords visits to the Charles Darwin Research Station and a tortoise breeding center, while photos taken atop the peak of Bartolome Island capture the beauty of this rugged, remarkable destination.
Currency: Sucre (ECS), US$
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