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The Galapagos Islands Amazing and Most Stunning Landscapes and Wildlife

The volcanic islands are spread over both sides of the equator in the Pacific Ocean, and they are home to some truly unique and staggeringly beautiful species of birds and animals. They played a key role in Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, and a lot of the animals have evolved specifically to the climate and temperament of the island they are living on.Take a look at our favourite photos.

If the Galapagos islands had a symbol, it'd be the giant tortoises or Geochelone Nigra who call it home. Each species of tortoise is adapted to live on a specific island - pictured are the tortoises who live in the Alcedo volcano. They are the largest of all tortoises - sometimes growing up to four feet in length - and they often live to over 100 years.
Galapagos fur seals are among the smallest in the southern hemisphere, only growing up to five feet long as adults. Unlike the sea lions who bark at your arrival, these cute creatures are extremely shy
Have you ever seen an iguana in the water before? Neither have we. But, the Galapagos is home to the world's only iguana which feeds underwater. It tends to hang around on the rocky shore, but also can be found in the mangroves and marshes.

Sullivan Bay, pictured, is just off the east coast of Santiago Island. Its unusual swirling surface is the result of a volcanic eruption over 100 years ago. It's a great place to spot marine iguanas and bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs scuttling across the surface.

Santa Cruz Island is the second largest island next to Isabela

There are several types of frigate birds, but the second largest is the Great Frigate. It vies for the attention of females using its strange mating dance and fabulous red chestplate or gular, that puffs up during mating season.

This little fella was snapped off Isabela island. He's a green sea turtle, but in the Galapagos, they have a much darker colouring than other species. Male turtles spend all of their lives in the sea - it's only the female turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand.
Gardner Bay has turquoise waters, white sand and is teeming with sea life. A boat trip will reveal spotted eagle manta rays and if you haven't heard a sea lion's bark as yet, you'll definitely see and hear them here!

The mating rituals of the blue-footed booby and the great frigate are hard not to laugh at but the mating ritual of the Galapagos or waved albatross is truly enchanting. It is the biggest of all the archipelago's birds, with a wing span of seven to eight feet, and yet it takes part in one of the most complicated and intricate rituals with nuzzling, clacking of beaks and special noises.

The islands were discovered in the 16th century by the Spanish. They now feature a marine reserve, a national park and an Ecuadorian province.

One of the best-loved sights, even if you aren't a twitcher, is the mating ritual of the blue-footed booby bird. It's one of the most ridiculous; the male struts towards the female and displays his feet.

The red-billed tropicbird isn't endemic to the islands, but it is one of the more beautiful sea birds around. One of the most fascinating contrasts is watching it on land when, like other seabirds, it looks at its most clumsy. It almost crawls on its belly using its wing. But in the air, it is the picture of elegance.

We love this picture of a lizard perched atop a marine iguana.
Isabela was named after the Queen of Spain, and is the largest island in the Galapagos. It's also one of the youngest, formed a million years ago from six volcanos. Five of these volcanos are still active, which makes this one of the most volcanic places on Earth.

Kicker rock, also called the sleeping lion for its resemblance to, er, a sleeping lion, is especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset. During the day, the clear waters reveal spectacular marine life.

Pictured is a boat of tourists watching blue-footed boobies dive for fish.

Darwin Lake is a small salt water lagoon near Tagus Cove, and was thought to have been formed by a tidal wave when a volcano erupted. It is fascinating in that it is above sea level and is twice as salty as sea water.

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