Tui De Roy/Minden Pictures/National Geographic Stock

No. 1: Galápagos, Ecuador

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2009 ranking: No. 2. The far-flung archipelago that sparked one of the
fundamental scientific premises of our time (Charles Darwin’s evolutionary
theory, inspired by his visit in 1835) has drawn an ever-larger cohort of
amateur naturalists in recent years. The challenges of traveling here (the
islands lie 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador and can be visited only via boat
in the company of a national park guide) hardly deter wildlife-enthusiast
tourists; the remoteness seems to be part of the fun. It’s certainly what’s
kept the islands’ myriad indigenous species—including marine iguanas, penguins,
sea lions, and giant tortoises—unfazed by humans. Unique face-time with wild
creatures: that’s what has put these islands at the top of our list.

World's Best Islands 2010

No. 1: Galápagos, Ecuador

2009 ranking: No. 2. The far-flung archipelago that sparked one of the
fundamental scientific premises of our time (Charles Darwin’s evolutionary
theory, inspired by his visit in 1835) has drawn an ever-larger cohort of
amateur naturalists in recent years. The challenges of traveling here (the
islands lie 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador and can be visited only via boat
in the company of a national park guide) hardly deter wildlife-enthusiast
tourists; the remoteness seems to be part of the fun. It’s certainly what’s
kept the islands’ myriad indigenous species—including marine iguanas, penguins,
sea lions, and giant tortoises—unfazed by humans. Unique face-time with wild
creatures: that’s what has put these islands at the top of our list.

Tui De Roy/Minden Pictures/National Geographic Stock

World's Best Islands 2010

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