The Galápagos Islands, official name: Archipiélago de Colón other Spanish names: Islas Galápagos (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡaˈlapaɣos]) are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, 926 km (575 mi) west of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part.
The islands are located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, 973 km (525 nmi; 605 mi) off the west coast of South America. The closest land mass is that of mainland Ecuador, the country to which they belong, 926 km/500 nmi to the east.
The group consists of 18 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. The islands are located at the Galapagos Triple Junction. The archipelago is located on the Nazca Plate (a tectonic plate), which is moving east/southeast, diving under the South American Plate at a rate of about 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) per year. It is also atop the Galapagos hotspot, a place where the Earth's crust is being melted from below by a mantle plume, creating volcanoes. The first islands formed here at least 8 million and possibly up to 90 million years ago.
Best Time To Dive
There are 2 seasons in the Galapagos Islands: Wet and Dry.
January to June is wet season with sunny spells either side of the brief but impressive showers which can occur daily. This period has warmer water temperatures generally fluctuating between 20 - 28°C during this time.
Dry season, more or less from July to December, sees less rain but is also cooler above and below the waters. Water temperatures in dry season are usually 16 - 23°C. This is when there is a strong chance of multiple whale shark encounters and is often referred to as 'Peak Season'.
The astonishing marine life that is found in the waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands, reef fish, sea lions, sting rays, golden rays, eagle rays, invertebrates, morays, garden eels, turtles, marine iguanas, white tip reef sharks, hammerheads, whale sharks, whales, pelagic fish.