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Monday, 03 March 2014 07:52

Travel 7

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Remaining virtually undiscovered for centuries did much to preserve the living showcase of evolution described by Charles Darwin in "The Origin of Species."

But Ecuador's best known ecosystem remains fragile.

The last remaining Pinta Island tortoise, fondly known as Lonesome George, died in 2012, adding to the list of several other species that have died out since Darwin's 1835 visit.

How to do it: While it's possible to fly to Galapagos from mainland Ecuador and visit several islands independently, you can only reach the bulk of protected habitats on heavily regulated organized cruises.

You can expect to pay from around $1,500 for a last-minute, week-long cruise organized in the capital Quito or Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz.

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