The Galapagos Islands are home to a large number of wetland habitat that privide a home for many species. The majority of these wetlands marine lagoons and coastal mangroves.
Mangrove swamps are made up of a selection of salt-hardy trees and shrubs that grow best in shallow and silty brackish water. A large amount of nutrients flows in and around the Galapagos mangroves with every tide, and this makes them perfect breeding grounds and nurseries for many marine species including sharks, turtles, penguins, rays, flamingos and more.
One of the best areas of Galapagos mangrove to visit is on the island of Isabela, where the area is known as Los Humedales, and there are several trails that cross almost 4 miles of mangrove swamp.
Further along the coast at Puerto Villamil, another Galapagos Mangrove swamp forms an important feeding site for the critically endangered Galapagos Penguin. These birds rely heavily on the mangrove for food and shelter, and any changes to this delicate habitat could spell disaster for them.
Other species that rely on the mangroves include the Mangrove finch, one of Darwin’s Finches - another species found nowhere else in the world and that is also critically endangered. Wither fewer than 100 individuals remaining it’s vital that their mangrove habitat is preserved.
Before the formation of the Galapagos National Park, settlers to the Galapagos regularly cut down the mangrove trees to build boats, houses and anything else that required a source of wood. Other areas were cleared to make way for towns to grow and to create piers and jetties and other “tourist friendly” facilities. All wetlands in southern Isabela are now fully protected by the Ecuadorian government, and they are actively conserved.
On a Galapatours cruise, your expert guide will take you through these pristine and fragile habitats, and explain their role in the life cycle of so many unique species. Contact one of our Galapagos experts today to find out which of itineraries includes an excursion to the Galapagos mangroves and their wonderful wildlife.
Photos of Galapagos Mangroves
Fast Facts about Galapagos Mangroves
- Galapagos Mangrove forests grow in water that is 100 times more salty than most other trees can survive in
- Galapagos Mangroves actually "breathe" through their roots, that curl above the brackish water
- Mangroves are vital to protect coastal habitats, and they can reduce the damage caused by waves by up to 75%
- Mangroves come in four types: red, black, white, and button.