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Ecuador and Galapagos

FLOREANA ISLAND

200Floreana Island is an island of the Galápagos Islands. It was named after Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuador, during whose administration the government of Ecuador took possession of the archipelago. It is one of the islands with the most interesting human history and one of the earliest to be inhabited.

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ESPANOLA ISLAND

199Also called Hood Island, southernmost of the major Galápagos Islands, in the eastern Pacific Ocean, about 600 miles (965 km) west of Ecuador. Large seal and albatross colonies live on the island, which has an area of 18 square miles (47 square km), but there are no human settlements.

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BARTOLOME ISLAND

197Bartolome, a desolate island with few plants is the most visited and most photographed island in the Galapagos. The island consists of an extinct volcano and a variety of red, orange, green, and glistening black volcanic formations. The best known of the island's features is the Tuff Cone known as Pinnacle Rock.

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BALTRA ISLAND

195This is one of the smaller islands but is important as it has the main airport. It is to Baltra that many of the scheduled flights from mainland Ecuador come. There are no visitor’s sites or accommodation on Baltra and transport is available to Puerto Ayora. However, many people on a previously booked tour are taken to the harbour where their boats will be waiting. A large number of birds can be seen at the harbour, mainly boobies and frigatebirds

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URBINA BAY

194The geological interest at Isabela's Urbina Bay is that the marine reef just offshore was uplifted 4 metres, very quickly, as recently as 1954. This provides the rare-for-the-archipelago experience of walking in the middle of a bed of coral.

 

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TOWER ISLAND

193Located in the northeast part of Galapagos, this relatively small island is a low-lying volcano rising just above the ocean surface. To reach this remote location visitors journey across rough open waters during a lengthy 8-10 hour, all- night sail from Puerto Ayora. Tower is an oasis for sea birds is well worth any discomfort caused by the crossing.

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SANTA FE ISLAND

192The wet landing site on Santa Fé is a white, sandy beach, full of sea-lions. As usual, the Galápagos Mockingbirds are curious and totally tame. The main aim in visiting the island of Santa Fé is to look for the endemic full species, the Santa Fé Land Iguana, Conolphus pallidus, which is confined to this small island.

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SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

191Santa Cruz is the island with the highest population, mostly living in the main town of the archipelago, Puerto Ayora. When visitng this island, you must visit Los Gemelos (the twins), which are two pit craters just off the main road from Puerto Ayora to the airport at Baltra.

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GALAPAGOS

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Galapagos has fascinated explorers and scientists throughout time, starting with Charles Darwin, who was astonished by the uniqueness of the species he found here and their marked differences from island to island. His observations lead him to conceive his masterpiece: The Origin of Species, a book that would change the concepts of science forever.

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GUAYAQUIL

181Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city as well as one of the most important ports on South America’s Pacific Coast. The city has gone through a comprehensive facelift involving some of Ecuador’s largest architectural and tourist projects like Malecon 2000.

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ISABELA ISLAND

182Isabela Island is the largest island of the Galápagos with an area of 4,640 km². This island was named in honor of Queen Isabel who sponsored the voyage of Columbus. Its highest point is Wolf Volcano with an altitude of 1,707 metres. The Equator passes directly through the island.

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JAMES BAY, SAN SALVADOR ISLAND

183This is a good area to see the infamous feral goats of Galapagos. At one time there were an estimated 100,000 goats on Isla San Salvador. All were descendants of goats released onto the island by buccaneers, whalers, early fishermen and salt miners in hopes they would proliferate. Well, proliferate they did to the point of seriously out competing the islands native Galapagos Tortoise.

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PUNTA ESPINOZA

186Punta Espinoza is overrun with the nominate Fernandina race of Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus cristatus) is one of the largest sub-species. Males can grow up to 1.5m. This is because of the colder water around the island.

 

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SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND

190San Cristobal Island is the fifth biggest island of the Galapagos. It is lozenge-shaped, about 30 miles long and 10 miles wide. The highest point, is 2,395 feet. It is comprised three or four fused volcanoes—all extinct. The Ecuadorians named it San Cristóbal after Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers.

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OTAVALO

184Otavalo, the largest Indigenous market In South America, best known for its wool and straw handmade weavings, textiles with Andean images and designs, Naif paintings and fine jewelery work in silver.

 

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PUNTA SUAREZ

187The other visitor site on Española is Punta Suarez, on the west of the island. Marylee Stephenson's guidebook says, "Once you land, you are immediately in the midst of such numbers and variety of wildlife that it is almost too much to absorb. First, you will be greeted by the endemic Hood Mockingbird."

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QUITO

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Founded in 1534, Quito boasts one of the largest and best preserved colonial quarters in the Americas. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the quarter is a maze of cobblestone streets, religious buildings, palaces, and manor houses. Standing above the rest

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BANOS

196Banos is a quaint Andean small peaceful town, surrounded by snowcapped volcanoes and with nice hot spring waters. Great ecotourism destination, with pleasant climate and extraordinary landscape. Also, you can swim in hot spring waters, ride bicycle, motorcycle, horses and go trekking and rafting.

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RIOBAMBA

189An important road junction on the main railroad from Quito to Guayaquil, Riobamba is the trade center of a cattle-ranching area. Manufactured products include textiles, handicrafts, leather goods, beer, and dairy products. A colorful Native American marketplace is in the city.

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