Galapagos Islands - geography and location
The Galapagos Islands lie across the equator at the 90th meridian west. The nearest land is Guayaquil in Ecuador, over 960 kilometers to the east.
The total land area of the islands is about 8000 square kilometers, spread over 45,000 square kilometers of sea. The archipelago is 450 kilometers long from Darwin Island, in the northwest, to Espanola Island in the southeast.
The Galapagos Islands were once called Las Islas Encantadas (Bewitched Islands). The Galapagos archipelagos is composed of five major islands -- Isabella, Fernandina, San Cristobal, San Salvador, and Santa Cruz. There are also eight other large islands and over forty islets and smaller rocks with official names.
Almost all the islands are populated by animals that can be found nowhere else. Some are covered in lava fields which is the contrast between the stark white beaches, the steel-grey ocean of the outer edges of the islands, the blue-green ocean of the sheltered areas of the islands, the rough grey-black lava rocks, and the peaceful forests