Galapagos – FAQ's – General

Galapagos – FAQ’s – General

Where is it located?
The archipelago sits 926 km (575 mi) off the coast of Ecuador and covers an area of almost 8,000 km2 (3,030 mi2). It consists of 19 islands spread out along the equator, 13 of which are major visitor sites and 4 of which are inhabited. Flights to Galapagos from Guayaquil on mainland Ecuador take under 2 hours. Fun fact: As a result of its equatorial location, days in the archipelago are 12-hours long no matter when you go!
What’s the weather like?
No seasons exist in the Galapagos Islands due to fact that they’re along the equator. However, there are two weather patterns that are recognizable every year:
  • The hot season from December to June when humidity is high and average temperatures are in the 80s F (26°-30° C). There may be occasional showers (downpours), but days are generally hot and sunny.
  • From June to November, you can expect cool winds, occasionally bringing with them a light misty-type drizzle called “garúa.” Temperatures average in the 70s F (20°-24° C) during the day and lower at night. The islands may resemble a subtropical weather pattern.

Which country does it belong to?
It belongs to Ecuador since 1831 and before that it was unclaimed.
What languages are spoken in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?
Eleven languages are spoken in Ecuador but Spanish and Kichwa are the official languages of the country. Kichwa is mostly spoken by indigenous groups in the Andes region and, to a lesser extent, in the Amazon region. Most tourism-related services/providers have multi-lingual staff, particularly in English with some German, French, and Italian speakers.
Which currency is used?
The United States Dollar is the official currency of Ecuador.
What is the time zone?
Galapagos Time is 6 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC): this is 7 hours behind time in the UK, 2 hours behind standard time in New York, and 14 hours behind time in Canberra. The mainland of Ecuador is 5 hours behind UTC.
Who lives in the Galapagos?
Locals of the islands are known as galapagueños and the last census, which was carried out in 2010, estimated their population to be at around 25,000. Most of them have come from mainland Ecuador to live on the islands within recent years. The majority of them are part of the Mestizo ethnic group, and as such are descendants of Spanish and indigenous ancestors. A small minority consists of purely European families.
Are there any indigenous groups in the Galapagos?
Near the end of the century, members of the ethnic group called the Salasacas started migrating from the mainland to the most populated islands of the archipelago and formed small colonies. They keep mostly to themselves in closed communities, in which they have their own schools and speak only Kichwa. However there are no indigenous groups autochthonous to the Galapagos Islands.
Where does the name Galapagos come from?
The name Galapagos is said to come from the Galapagos giant tortoises that are endemic to the archipelago. It turns out the Spanish word for a type of saddle is galapago, and it was often used by the Spanish explorers to refer to the giant tortoises that populated the islands with their iconic saddle-like shell.
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