These islands derived their name from the Spanish word for ''turtle''. For many centuries, the giant turtles were considered to be a culinary delicacy. A total of 14 sub-species of giant turtle inhabit the islands, some of which have been known to live for more than 150 years.
Even today, ocean biologists and an assortment of other scientists follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. In the 1960s, a research station on one of the islands was named in his honor.
With the introduction of non-indigenous dogs, cats and rats, the ecological balance on some of the islands has become critical;however, since 1959, the Galapagos Islands have been designated as a protected area.