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The Galapagos Islands are a beautiful and famous destination, but who owns them? Here are some things to know if you’re planning on traveling there.

Did you know that almost 300,000 tourists visit the Galapagos Islands each year? That’s a pretty remarkable number considering these are some of the most rural islands in the world.

The beautiful island chain is popular for honeymoons, summer vacations, and so much more. But, how did such a rural island chain become so popular? What country are the Galapagos Islands a part of and what makes them so intriguing to tourists? 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the Galápagos Islands. 

What Country Are the Galapagos Islands a Part Of?

The Galapagos Islands are located just off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, just a two-hour flight from Quito. The islands are roughly 563 miles west of Ecuador’s coast.

So far, the Galapagos is a chain of at least 13 islands, however, more islands are still forming. In the last 200 years, there have been over 50 recorded volcanic eruptions in the islands.

Ecuador is one of South America’s smallest countries and (as the name implies) is located right on the equator at latitude 0. 

Historical Significance

The Galapagos Islands were discovered in 1535 by Tomas de Berlanga. Tomas was a Spanish bishop who was sailing between Panama in Peru and somehow ended up off track.

At this time the Galapagos Islands were owned by the Spanish empire, however, years of neglect led to Ecuador annexing the islands in 1832.

As the Galapagos attracted interest from North America, Ecuador, and Europe, tourism began to rise. In response to the rising tourism, Ecuador declared the islands a national park in 1959. 

Shortly after, Charles Darwin opened a research station to study the islands. It was there that Charles Darwin theorized evolution. 

Visiting the Galapagos

Ready to pack your bags and visit the Galapagos? There are tons of reasons why people visit the islands, from getting a perfect tan on the beautiful beaches to engaging directly with the wildlife.

Since the Galapagos are so rural and are of volcanic origin, there is a lack of natural predators. Because of this, the animals that are on the island are extremely tame and unafraid of people.

You can literally suntan next to a sealion for the perfect selfie.

Each island offers something different for the tourists, read this post to learn more about specific islands.

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen

Was it everything you thought it would be? Let’s do a quick recap.

What country are the Galapagos Islands a part of? The Galapagos Islands are considered a province of Ecuador. What is the historical significance of these islands? They are the founding location where Charles Darwin presented the theory of evolution.

This incredible island chain is a can’t miss vacation destination for any travel enthusiast.

A quick tip for those getting ready to embark: bring extra sunscreen and make sure it’s strong. Since the Galapagos Islands are located right on the equator, they are positioned directly under the sun where UV rays beat down without mercy.

Browse the rest of our lifestyle section for more travel tips, tricks, and destinations.