credit: William Chadwick, Oregon State University

The Galapagos Islands is the most pristine and intact ecological system remaining in the world. It’s a living laboratory and a natural treasure. Formed by underwater volcanoes millions of years ago, the islands lie 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. 13 large islands and more than 100 smaller islands and islets are home to nearly 9,000 species, most found nowhere else in the world.