Situated in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km from the South American continent, the lava landscapes that define Galapagos islands are formed by ongoing seismic and volcanic activity. These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, led to the development of unusual animal life – such as the land iguana, the giant tortoise and the many types of finch – that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit in 1835. This isolated group of volcanic islands and its fragile ecosystem has taken on almost mythological status as a showcase of biodiversity. You don’t have to be an evolutionary biologist or an ornithologist to appreciate one of the few places left on the planet where the human footprint is kept to a minimum.