Isla San Cristobal, Provinca de Galapagos, Ecuador
Interpretation Center Isla San Cristobal, Provinca de Galapagos Reviews
All the info you need about the Galapagos Islands May 21, 2009
At the costs I wrote free, but it was included in our tour. So I don't really know what the real costs are when you go there by yourself.
The Interpretation Center is a must when you are in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on Isla San Cristóbal. All the information you want to know about the archipelago, you can find here.
There is information given about the history of the archipelago, the biology, geology and also human history on the island.
I will give some of the most important facts. The Galapagos Islands are exactly on the Equator, on a very interesting point on this globe. Exactly at 90 degrees East from the GMT 0 degrees line. They belong to Ecuador, but are in open ocean about a thousand kilometers from its coast. The archipelago are all volcanic islands that are on the fault line of the Pacifis Plate and the Nazca Plate. The Nazca Plate moves with a velocity of 1,000 meters each 14,000 years to the East, which is quite fast namely 7 centimeters a year! Because of this movements there is one big island exactly on the fault line, Isla Isabela (a.k.a. Albemarle). The other islands are all East of Isla Isabela, these are all non active volcanos. The further East the island is, the older it is. But they also get lower in altitude when they move to the East and slowely they will disappear under the surface of the ocean. Because of the volcanic activity and the movements of the Nazca Plate the water East from Isla Isabela is not that deep, but only about 20 km West from it the water is already about 3,000 to 4,000 meters deep!
On and especially around the islands in the ocean are a lot of animals. There are exceptionally many animals and plankton in the water because of three different currents that come together at the Galapagos Archipelago. The animals that live here are not affraid of human beings because they were never hunted my human beings. The Galapagos Islands doesn't have people living on them for a long time. Animals are only affraid of humans when they have bad memories about them, it will become in their genes then.
In 1535 the Galapagos were founded first by the bishop of Panama. He was on his way from Panama to Peru, on the Equator he didn't had enough wind anymore which made hime change his course by the current. The current brought him to the Galapagos Islands. He only saw some tortoises over there and was not interested in it. Because of the tortoises the Galapagos got their name, "galapagos means "tortoises". In the next three centuries nobody really cared about the archipelago. It was only a place to hide for pirates and a place to rest for whalers. The Spanish found it too dangerous over there and there because of the pirates. The whalers found it a great location because of the giant tortoises. They took them with them in their ships, put them on their sheild that they couldn't go anywhere and they had enough food for a very long time. The tortoises could live one year without food and half a year without water. So perfect to have food for a very long time.
The most famous visitor of the Galapagos Islands was Charles Darwin in the year 1835 of course. He was searching for evidence for his evolution theory. He found species here that he had never seen somewhere else or that evaluated just a little bit different than the same species on other places. This was hard evidence for his theory.
Since 1832 the archipelago is part of the Ecuadorian territory. They were used as prison in first case for the Ecuadorian people. Like prisoners of Englands were brought to Australia. The United States of America used the Galapagos Islands in the WWII as a place to defend the Panama Canal. They were affraid the Japanese would attack this strategic canal. The first people on the islands came to live here in the thirties of the last century. Nowadays about 30,000 people live here on the four biggest islands. Every year tourism is growing and it's getting threatened by human being. Like a lot of nature in this world.
If you want to know more about the Galapagos Islands, you should just go there and at least visit this Interpretation Centre. I can tell you everything, but this is some nice basic information.
Part of the 5 months Latin America 2009 travel blog
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