Galapagos » Galapagos Marine Reserve and Darwin Foundation

Marine Reserve & Darwin Foundation


Galapagos dolphins

The interior waters of the Galapagos Islands, plus those within 40 nautical miles measured from the baseline of the Archipelago, were declared the Galapagos Marine Reserve on 1994.

This is the only protected coastal marine area in the East Pacific, and the second largest Marine Reserve in the World.

This reserve, which lies a thousand kilometers from the Ecuadorian mainland, covers an area of around 133,000 sq. km.

You can dive or snorkel and come into contract with marvellous aquatic species which live underwater: dolphins, whales, whale sharks, hammerhead shark, rays, manta rays, sword fish and turtles, etc. Other habitats are the rocky seabed, vertical rock faces, sandy beaches, mangrove swamps and, to a lesser extent, coral reefs. Coastal lakes, moist soil and areas where freshwater and seawater mix contain unique species still to be studied.

Don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel with sea lions, penguins, o variety of colorful fish and even inoffensive sharks.


The Charles Darwin Foundation is dedicated to the conservation of ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands. The Foundation operates the Charles Darwin Research Station to conduct scientific research and environmental education for conservation.

The Station has a team of over one hundred scientists, educators, volunteers, research students and support staff from all over the world. The Foundation maintains close contact with the government to promote Galapagos conservation throughout Ecuador. The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) is based in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos, Ecuador.

The CDF has seven main objectives towards these ends:

1. To promote, facilitate, design, and implement the scientific investigation necessary for the understanding of biological principles, better understanding of ecosystems, and adequate management of the islands’ natural resources.

2. To advise the Ecuadorian authorities on the subject of conservation and management of natural resources in the Galapagos Islands.

3. To collaborate with Ecuadorian institutions on the implementation of programs involved in scientific investigation and education on the islands.

4. To contribute to the development of scientific and technical personnel from Ecuador who are specialized in natural sciences and natural resource management.

5. To contribute and collaborate on educational programs related to the conservation of the islands.

6. To compile the results of the scientific investigations and the other activities of the organization and to disseminate this information regionally, nationally, and internationally.

7. To watch over and provide for the successful functioning of the Charles Darwin Research Station with the goal of accomplishing the objectives of the Foundation.

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