Lying 970 km (600 miles) west of the Ecuadorian coast on the equator, the Galapagos Islands consist of 6 main islands, 12 smaller islands and over 40 small islets.
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands that originated about 10 million years ago.
Since their formation 10 million years ago, to their discovery in 1535 by Thomas de Berlanga, the Spanish Bishop of Panama, the Galapagos Islands were completely isolated from the mainland. Throughout the millennia, a large number of birds, reptiles, insects, and plants drifted or flew to its shores, creating the unique flora and fauna found in the Galapagos today. The Islands have never been connected to a continent, therefore, over time, species have developed and adapted to the unique ecosystems of the Islands. Many species continued on and soon began to differentiate from their continental ancestors resulting in the development many endemic species (not found anywhere else) on the Islands. Until recently, the animals on the Islands had no exposure to humans and therefore never learned to fear them and remain extremely tame in human presence.