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Recommended Reading List

If you cannot find these works at your local vendor or for purchase on-line, ask your public library if you can obtain them through interlibrary loan (there may be a small fee for this service). Libri Mundi bookstores in Quito also carry many of these titles.

This is just a sample of works about Galápagos. Please write us with more of your suggestions.

General nature guides, expedition tales and other works about the Islands:

Beebe, William. The Arcturus Adventure: An Account of the New York Zoological Society’s First Oceanographic Expedition. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1926; New York: Harper & Row, 1981. — About the 1925 expedition to Cocos Islands and the Galápagos, lending fascinating insights into the methods of scientists of foregone years. This was one of the first (if not the first) expeditions to use the then new-fangled equipment allowing humans to spend periods of time underwater.

Beebe, William. Galapagos: Worlds End. New York, Putnam, 1924; New York : Dover, 1988. — The book that enticed the Wittmers to immigrate to the Galapagos (along with Dr. Ritter’s writings), with the hope of finding a cure for their son. This is about the 1923 expedition of the New York Zoological Society.

Darwin, Charles. Beagle Diary. Ed. By R. D. Keynes. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2001. — This is a brilliant edition, transcribed directly from the Beagle Diary without edits.

De Roy, Tui. Galapagos: Islands Born Of Fire. Toronto; Los Angeles: Warwick Pub., 1998. — A beautiful photographic journey of the Galápagos, which was De Roy’s home for over 35 years.

Elper, Bruce and Alan White. Galapagos Guide. Quito, Ecuador: Imprenta Europa/ Libri Mundi, 1986.

Jackson, Michael. Galapagos: A Natural History Guide. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1993. — The quintessential book on the Galápagos, teaching the geology, climate, botany, zoology, conservation of the Islands.

Stephenson, Marylee. The Galapagos Islands: The Essential Handbook for Exploring, Enjoying, and Understanding Darwin’s Enchanted Islands. Seattle, WA : Mountaineers Books, 2005. — A helpful nature guide to identifying the Islands’ flora and fauna, with good explanations on ecology and conservation.

Thornton, Ian. Darwin’s Islands: A Natural History. Garden City, N. Y. : Natural History Press / Doubleday, 1971. — Good book, from the 1960s, on the natural history of the Islands.

Nature Guides
Nature guides specific to types of wildlife:

Constant, Pierre. Marine Life of the Galapagos: A Diver’s guide to the Fishes, Whales, Dolphins, and Marine Invertebrates. Hong Kong : Odyssey ; New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 2007.

Constant, Pierre. The Galápagos Islands. New York: Odyssey, 2000.

Fitter, Julian, Daniel Fitter, and David Hosking. Safari Guides: Wildlife of the Galapagos. London: Harper Collins, 2000.

Harris, Michael. A Field Guide to the Birds of Galapagos. London: Collins, 1992.

Hickman, Jr., Cleveland P. A Field Guide to Sea Stars and other Echinoderms of Galapagos. Lexington: Sugar Spring Press, 1998.

Hickman, Jr., Cleveland P. and Todd L. Zimmerman. A Field Guide to Crustaceans of Galapagos. Lexington: Sugar Spring Press, 2000.

Hickman, Jr., Cleveland P and Yves Finet. A Field Guide to Marine Molluscs of Galapagos. Lexington: Sugar Spring Press, 1999.

Heinzel, Hermann and Barnaby Hall. Galápagos Diary: A Complete Guide to the Archipelago’s Birdlife. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Horwell, David and Pete Oxford. Galapagos Wildlife: A Visitor’s Guide. UK: Bradt Publications, 2002.

Humann, Paul and Ned Deloach. Reef Fish Identification: Galápagos. Jacksonville: New World Publications, 2003.

Schofield, Eileen K. Field Guide and Travel Journal: Plants of the Galápagos Islands. New York: Universe Books, 1984.

Environmental Issues

Lawesson, J.E., et al. Botanical Research and Management in Galapagos. St. Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden, 1992. —

D’Orso, Michael. Plundering Paradise. New York: HarperCollins, Publishers, 2002. — What problems are facing modern day Galápagos? Corruption, the power of outside interests, illegal fishing, tensions conservation agencies and special interests and luxury tourism are examined by this author visited the Galápagos three times between 1999 and 2001.

Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Irenäus. Galápagos: The Noah’s Ark of the Pacific. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961. — By the scientist instrumental in pushing UNESCO and IUCN into helping to preserve these unique islands, this work chronicles his expedition of the islands just after receiving the special status, to study their state of conservation and to choose the site for the scientific research station that would be established here.

De Roy, Tui. Galápagos: Preserving Darwin’s Legacy. Richmond Hill, Ont.; Buffalo, N.Y.: Firefly Books, 2009. — Thirty top Galápagos researchers share the successes and challenges Galápagos conservation efforts face.
Human History

Angermeyer, Joanna. My Father’s Island: A Galapagos Quest. London, England ; New York, N.Y., USA : Viking, 1989. — The 1960s coming-to-age story of one of the branches of the Angermeyer family and why she never got to know her father.

Conway, Ainslie and Francis Conway. The Enchanted Islands: A Five-Year Adventure in the Galápagos. New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons [1947] — The Conways were a couple who decided to take the big plunge into the Galápagos, figuring they might have better opportunities there than in Depression-era US.

Hickman, John. The Enchanted Islands: The Galapagos Discovered. Dover, N.H.,: Tanager Books, 1985. — The human history of the Galápagos, including a chapter on the Charles Darwin Research Station and the National Park.

Latorre, Octavio. The Curse of the Giant Tortoise. Quito: Libro Mundi, 2005. — Legend says that the Giant Tortoise can see the true heart of humans.

Perry, Roger. Island Days. London: Stacey International, 2004. — By one of the early director of the Charles Darwin Research Station, Perry discusses his life here in the Galápagos, as well as during appointments to the Christmas Islands and Tristan da Cunha.

Preston, Diana and Michael Preston. A Pirate of Exquisite Mind—Explorer, Naturalist and Buccaneer: The Life of William Dampier. New York : Walker & Company, 2004. — A great biography of this incredible man, his contributions to science and the original travel writer—all interwoven with in-depth, careful research about the life of pirates and British naval law. Daumier discovered the relationship between wind and ocean currents, thus allowing sure navigation to Galápagos.

Treherne, John. The Galápagos Affair. London: Penguin Books, 1983. — About the real-life murder-mystery on Floreana Island in the 1930s.

Wittmer, Margret. Floreana. Oswestry: Anthony Nelson Ltd, 1996. — By the matriarch of the German family that survived the 1930s scandals, recounting how they scratched out a living on Floreana Island for the past 50 years.

Woram, John. Charles Darwin Slept Here. Rockville Centre, N.Y. : Rockville Press, 2005. — An extensive recounting of the human presence in Galápagos, from bishops to buccaneers, whalers and settlers, a US President and, yes, Charles Darwin.


Melville, Herman. Piazza Tales — Includes “The Encantadas, or Enchanted Islands,” ten beautiful sketches about Galápagos, capturing their other-worldliness. (The question remains, however, if Melville, indeed, had ever stepped foot on these Isles.)

Vascónez Hurtado, Gustavo. Isle of the Black Cats. — A spy thriller by an Ecuadorean writer, based on the true events of the German settlers on Floreana (Charles) Island during the 1930s. In the days before World War II, who was spying for the Nazis? The US? Japan? The Communists and Stalin?

Children’s Books
A few titles to help the kids learn about the Enchanted Isles:

Heller, Ruth. “Galapagos” Means “Tortoise.” San Francisco : Sierra Club Books for Children, 2000.

Krebs, Laurie and Grazia Restelli. We´re Sailing to the Galapagos. Cambridge, MA : Barefoot Books, 2005.

Lawson, Kristan. Darwin and Evolution for Kids. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2003.

Macdonald, Fiona and Mark Bergin. Inside the Beagle with Charles Darwin. New York: Enchanted Lion Books, 2005.

Sovak, Jan. Galapagos Islands Coloring Book. New York : Dover, 2006.

Videos / Documentaries

Galapagos. Starring Kenneth Branagh and Carole Baldwin; directed by Al Giddings and David Clark. Imax, 1999.

Galapagos: Beyond Darwin. Produced by David Clark. Discovery Channel, 2008.

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Narrated by Tilda Swinton. BBC, 2006.

In the Wild: The Galapagos Islands with Richard Dreyfuss. Directed by Nigel Cole. PBS, 1999.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to The Galápagos Islands: Flamingo, Blue-Footed Booby, Puerto Egas Visitor Site, Post Office Bay Visitor Site, White-Tail Damselfish, Tourism in Mainland Ecuador, Red-Billed Tropicbird, Flightless Cormorant, Shore Birds - Galapagos and Sea Birds - Galápagos.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

25 Jun 2012

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