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September 28, 2015
Popular Misconceptions About the Galapagos Islands
A Giant Tortoise from the Galapagos

Perhaps due to their isolation and unique nature, there is a large amount of information about the Galapagos Islands that isn’t quite right, or may be downright wrong.

Here are some of the more common misconceptions about the Galapagos Islands that you may read about on other websites. If you have any questions about the Galapagos, be sure to send us an email we’ll be happy to answer your questions!

You will see lots of Seals in the Galapagos
While there are Galapagos Fur Seals in the Islands, the animals that are abundant on the beaches you will visit are called Galapagos Sea Lions.

Nobody lives on the Galapagos Islands
There is a long, interesting history of settlement in the Galapagos. Today, four islands support towns with populations between 100 and 12,000. In the past the islands have been home to pirates and been used as a penal colony to exile prisoners to. Immigration is strictly controlled in the Galapagos as it is such a great place to live (and visit!)

Galapaguenos Playing Soccer

Galapagueños Playing Soccer in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno

You can’t visit the Galapagos Islands without a Park Guide
You can visit the inhabited towns and nearby areas on your own, but you are required to have a Galapagos Naturalist Guide when travelling to any sites within the Galapagos National Park or Marine Reserve. A great guide can also make a huge difference in how much you learn about the island flora and fauna.

You can see everything in the Galapagos in One Visit
A Galapagos trip is often hailed as a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. However with some seasonal changes and different species and subspecies on each island it is nearly impossible to see all the animals and highlights in one visit. Perhaps that is why so many people return to see more! If you have the time, you can see a lot of the landscapes, wildlife and people of the Galapagos Islands in 3 weeks by taking both a cruise and a land tour, but even then you will only scratch the surface!

There are no Land Predators on the Galapagos Islands
While you will likely only encounter friendly animals in the Galapagos Islands, there are indeed predators, just no land predators that you have to worry about. The Galapagos Hawk is the most prolific predator on land. They hunt everything from lava lizards and invasive rat species to baby sea turtles, marine iguanas and other birds.

Tourism is Uncontrolled in the Galapagos
The Ecuadorian government has put strict controls in place in terms of visitor sites around the islands. Additionally, only 3% of the Galapagos Islands is set aside for development. Cruise boat inspections are common and more regulations are being put in place to control land-Galapagos tour operators. With that said, it is imperative to ensure your tour company has a solid track record of providing responsible, safe services and quality guides.

There are Giant Turtles in the Galapagos Islands
While the Sea Turtles in the Galapagos are pretty huge, they’re not “Giant”. Those land-dwelling giants are Giant Tortoises, not turtles.

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