facts & tidbits

Meaning of names


Name origins
and more

Galapagos name

The islands were not named after the Spanish saddle "galapagos", as some sources suggest. The naming process involved two distinct chronological steps.

First Step

The upper shell (carapace) of a giant tortoise living on a particular island resembled a Spanish equestrian saddle named "galapagos" to early Spanish visitors. So they named the tortoise "galapagos".


Second step

Much later, the islands inherited the tortoise's name "galapagos".

Galapagos dual
island names

The Galapagos Islands have both Spanish and English names, which causes confusion among some visitors. Use the names in the left column. They are the ones most often used in the Galapagos Islands.

Official name of
the Galapagos Islands

It is "Archipelago de Colon". The name honors the memory of Christopher Columbus, whose last name is "Colon" in Spanish.

Click to learn
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Best time to go
Getting there tips
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Snorkeling tips
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Celebrity Xpedition



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