Situated in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km from the South American continent, these 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve are a melting pot of marine species. The creatures that call the islands home many found nowhere else in the world, act as if humans are nothing more than slightly annoying paparazzi.
THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION
This unusual plant and animal life – such as marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, giant tortoises, huge cacti, endemic trees and the many different subspecies of mockingbirds and finches – inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit in 1835.
This isolated group of volcanic islands and its fragile ecosystem has taken an almost mythological status as a showcase of biodiversity. Yet you don't have to be an evolutionary biologist to appreciate one of the few places left on the planet where the human footprint is kept to a minimum.