Where are the Galapagos Islands? A Brief Overview
Every now and then, you hear the Galapagos mentioned in documentaries, movies, or the news. They are a place that truly make our imagination run wild! Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution come to mind, and we wonder about the rare animal species that exist there, such as the Galapagos giant tortoises and marine iguanas. What are those? How did they adapt to such an inhospitable place? How did they get there? There are just so many questions! And then you pause to think… where in the world are the Galapagos Islands, exactly, that makes them such a unique place? So if you are getting acquainted with the Enchanted Isles for the first time, let this be a brief introduction to the location of Ecuador’s magical insular region – the Galapagos archipelago!
First things first: Where’s Ecuador?
Ecuador is one of South America’s smallest countries and also one of its most fascinating. As its name implies, it lies right on the equator: latitude 0°. Packed with amazing landscapes and shaped by a history and culture that go back millennia, Ecuador has something for every taste. Immerse yourself in its rich Andean lifestyle, and discover its amazing sites by train, car and/or foot. You can also simply sit back and relax with a glass of wine as you admire Quito’s World Heritage downtown from the comfort of a beautiful terrace. Because of its superb location on the equator, Ecuador is blessed with relatively constant spring-like weather up in the highlands, and a warmer, tropical one down in the coastal, rainforest and island regions ALL YEAR LONG! It might get rainier or drier depending on the time of the year, but it always feels pretty nice!
Ecuador is located along the northwestern region of South America’s pacific coast, between the countries of Colombia (to the north) and Peru (to the south). Due to its compact size, you can drive from Quito to the beach in 4 hours, you can reach Colombia in roughly 5 hours and Peru in approximately 15 hours. The cloud forest is just a couple of hours away from Quito and the Amazon region is 6 hours away. Talk about being able to see some of the most varied landscapes in just one go and getting acquainted with the country’s people in very little time!
Where are the Galapagos Islands Exactly?
The amazing Galapagos Islands are located in Ecuador’s Pacific Ocean. A 2 hour flight from Quito and voilá! You’ll have arrived to that exotic location you had only read about on books and travel magazines!
The Galapagos archipelago is a group of volcanic islands that are spread out across an area of 45,000 km2 (17,000 mi2) in Ecuador’s Pacific Ocean. They are located roughly 906 km (563 mi) to the west of Ecuador’s coast and they are their own province. Coordinates: 0.37°S 91.55°W.
They are also a National Park and Marine Reserve, which is a hint of just how wonderful the place really is. The equator goes through the archipelago, so you’ll find islands on both hemispheres, but most of them are located on the southern hemisphere.
The archipelago is located on the Nazca plate and atop the Galapagos hotspot, features which are both responsible for the creation of its 18 main islands, 3 smaller islands and 107 islets. Because the Nazca Plate is moving under the South American Plate, volcanic activity is a recurring feature throughout the archipelago! In the Galapagos, life evolved millions of years ago, but life is continuously being born every day!
Now that you know where the Galapagos Islands are, add them to your bucket list and book your flight now! We promise it will be a life-changing experience!
Nathalie Moeller is of Ecuadorian and German descent. As a child she spent her summers in the Galapagos Islands, where her mother grew up, and from a very young age learned to love the beauty and uniqueness of the archipelago. She studied Journalism and Humanities in Barcelona, after living in Madrid and Germany for a couple of years. This gave her a culturally broader view of the world, which is reflected in everything she does. Blogging gives her the opportunity to combine her passion for travelling and writing.