The young, volcanic, Galapagos Archipelago is made up of over 130 islands and islets, although only five are actually inhabited. A province of Ecuador, they are located on the Equator, about 1,000 km (about 600 miles) to the west of South American mainland. Aside from their natural beauty, and the opportunities for exploration by sea, the Galapagos Islands are intimately associated with scientific research. While this may have begun with Charles Darwin's brief visit in 1835, today the emphasis is on conservation research, and the islands and surrounding marine reserve form a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.
The Galapagos Islands Explorer is a fold-out visitor's map (scale 1 : 400 000), that measures approximately 100 × 69 cm (W × H) when unfolded. It also has sections on human history, conservation, National Park Rules, the various island names (Ecuadorian and English), a timeline, and biographies of the significant people in Galapagos history. It will complement a trip to the islands, and help you make the most of your time there.
Mapping has come a long way since the islands first appeared on Gerardus Mercator's map in 1569, and the Galapagos Islands Explorer is the perfect companion for a visit to the archipelago. As well as the map itself, the Explorer gives a general introduction to the geology, climate, and geography of the islands, plus background background information on the flora and fauna you can expect to see - from Galapagos cotton to the famous iguanas and giant tortoises. There is concise and practical information on each of the main islands as well as the most popular dive sites.