$100 in cash for the Galapagos National Park entrance fee we'll each pay at the airport in San Cristobal
Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time,
On a desert island in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin received his first inklings of the theory of evolution, two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, have spent twenty years proving that Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory. For among the finches of Daphne Major, natural selection is neither rare nor slow: it is taking place by the hour, and we can watch. Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin's finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself.
Carlos de la Torre and Steve Striffler, editors The Ecuador Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The Latin America Readers) Paperback, 2009
Encompassing Amazonian rainforests, Andean peaks, coastal lowlands, and the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador's geography is notably diverse. So too are its history, culture, and politics, all of which are examined from many perspectives in The Ecuador Reader. Spanning the years before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 1500s to the present, this rich anthology addresses colonialism, independence, the nation's integration into the world economy, and its tumultuous twentieth century. Interspersed among forty-eight written selections are more than three dozen images.
Russell Maddicks, Ecuador - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture, 2014
One of the Culture Smart! series that introduces readers cultures and customs in countries around the world.
Joe Kane, Savages, 2014
Savages is a firsthand account, by turn hilarious, heartbreaking, and thrilling, of a small band of Amazonian warriors and their battle to preserve their way of life in the face of corrupt politicians, U.S. and Ecuadorean oil companies and inept environmentalists. Includes eight pages of photos.
Andres Vasquez Noboa and Pablo Cervantes Daza,, Wildlife of Ecuador: A Photographic Field Guide to Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians, 2017
Mainland Ecuador's spectacular wildlife makes it a magnet for nature tourists. With this handy and accessible guide, visitors now have everything they need to identify and enjoy the majority of birds and animals they are likely to see. Written and illustrated by two of Ecuador's most experienced nature guides and photographers, this book covers more than 350 birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. It features over 400 stunning color photographs and includes a range map for each species, as well as a brief account of the country's natural history and biogeography.
Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle,
When HMS Beagle sailed out of Devonport on 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin was twenty-two and setting off on the voyage of a lifetime. His journal shows a naturalist making patient observations concerning geology, natural history, people, places and events. Volcanoes in the Galapagos, the Gossamer spider of Patagonia and the Australasian coral reefs - all are to be found in these extraordinary writings. The insights made here were to set in motion the intellectual currents that led to the theory of evolution, and the most controversial book of the Victorian age: The Origin of Species. A fascinating story of scientific discovery.
Edward J. Larson, Evolution's Workshop, 2001
Evolution's Workshop tells the story of Darwin's explorations there; the fabulous Gilded Age expeditions, run from rich men's gigantic yachts, that featured rough-and-ready science during the day and black-tie dinners every night; the struggle for control of research on the Galápagos; the current efforts by "creation scientists" to use the Galápagos to undercut evolutionary teaching; and many other compelling stories.
Paul D. Stewart, Galapagos: the Islands that Changed the World, 2007
Rocky, fragile, beautiful, strange-the Galápagos archipelago is unlike any other place on earth. Its geology, its unique flora and fauna, and its striking role in human history intersect in surprising and dynamic ways. This book is the most wide-ranging and beautifully illustrated book available on the famous islands. Stewart describes how tragedy and murderous pirates curtailed settlement of the islands and how the islands' pristine nature, spectacular geology, and defining isolation inspired Darwin's ideas about evolution. The book explores the diverse land and marine habitats that shelter Galápagos species and considers the islands' importance today as a frontier for science and a refuge for true wilderness.
Tui DeRoy, Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire, 2010
Tui De Roy has spent her life exploring the Galapagos and recording their secrets. Here, in spectacular full-color images and in her own words,De Roy takes readers from vibrant coastlines to sheltered interiors, photographing penguins, turtles, and marine iguanas. She visits active volcanic calderas, where life hangs in the balance each time the volcano remakes itself. De Roy follows the seasons of the giant tortoise, dives into the twilight world of sperm whales and hammerhead sharks, and treads on still-steaming volcanic crust. She also makes an impassioned plea for conservation.
The most important thing you can do to stay healthy is to avoid any water that is not bottled (the Galapagos' boat purifies its own water daily and is safe) and uncooked or unpeeled fruits and vegetables, including salads.
Culture and Customs
See these websites for information on Ecuadorean culture and customs. Since there are large numbers of tourists in Quito, the Galapagos and the Amazon, they are used to American customs, but the villages are more traditional.
American tourists do not need visas to visit Ecuador.