There is an abundance of books written about Galapagos and Ecuador. Below we have listed some of the books that we recommend. The comments are written by our friends at Longitude Books (www.longitudebooks.com), who specialize in travel literature.
· Galapagos – A Natural History Guide by Michael Jackson
A one-volume, handy and comprehensive introduction to the natural history of Galapagos. While not an ecology text, this accessible guide gives a detailed overview of the habitats, plants, birds, and animals of the islands. It also includes a useful bibliography, wildlife checklists and a list of plants by vegetation zone. Illustrated with many charts and maps.
· Galapagos Wildlife – A Visitor’s Guide by David Horwell and Pete Oxford
A compact guide to the birds, reptiles, insects, plants and marine life of the archipelago featuring a very good selection of large colour photographs by Horwell, Oxford and colleague Jonathan Green. Separate chapters cover visitor sites, history, conservation and habitats. The authors, both naturalist guides on the islands, present key information on the flora, fauna and places in Galapagos for the traveller.
· Galapagos - Birds, Mammals and Reptiles by Andy Swash and Rob Still.
This pocket-size volume provides a comprehensive guide to the unique wildlife of the Galapagos, which includes all birds, mammals and reptiles.
PLANTS AND FLOWERS
· Flowering Plants of the Galapagos by Conley McMullen
A field guide to 436 species of flowering plants, featuring McCullen’s own colour photographs, an overview of ecology and habitats, and an extremely useful botanical checklist by visitor site. A full page is devoted to each species, including a detailed description, habitat, distribution, a colour photograph and comments on ecology, history and identification.
· Galapagos – Islands Born of Fire by Tui De Roy:
This stunning oversize book by naturalist and photographer Tui de Roy is an outstanding tribute to the archipelago, featuring ten beautiful photo essays on wildlife and habitats.
· Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin
The wide-eyed tale of a young man on a five-year voyage that changed his life - and our way of thinking about the world. First published in 1839, this book is still essential reading. Darwin’s South American chapters are an excellent introduction to the Galapagos Islands. With maps and appendices.
· On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
A facsimile of the original, best-selling 1859 edition of On the Origin of Species, the book that Darwin sweated over for decades and that changed our view of the world. Even to the modern mind it is an outstanding introduction to the subject. It’s one of the great works of science -- and surprisingly readable. Darwin tinkered with later editions, mostly in response to his critics, but you may as well read the original
· The Enchanted Isles by Herman Melville
These ten sketches are firmly set in a highly stylised Galapagos Islands, which Melville visited during his whaling days aboard the Acushnet in the 1840s (not long after Darwin, who he lampoons). In his vision the archipelago is a bleak, wonderfully strange place.
· The Panama Hat Trail by Tom Miller
Miller’s entertaining and insightful social history of Ecuador -- as told through its hat-making history. It’s a classic example of travel writing, and one of the best things written on Ecuador, originally published in 1986.
· Insight Guide Ecuador and Galapagos by Insight Guides
This beatiful guide gives a profusely illustrated overview of Ecuador (including the Galapagos), featuring concise essays by well regarded authors on natural history, politics and culture, hundreds of photos and maps, and some limited practical information.
· Birds of Ecuador – A Field Guide by Paul Greenfield och Robert Ridgely
A comprehensive, exhaustively researched handbook to nearly 1,600 species featuring 96 colour plates, all painted by Paul Greenfield. Two decades in the making, it’s an indispensable companion for bird watching in Ecuador. It also weighs in at four pounds. With detailed range maps and descriptions of each species by Bob Ridgely.
USEFUL FIELD GUIDES
· Seabirds of the World – A Photographic Guide by Peter Harrison
A portable version of Harrison’s definitive seabird identification guide, featuring 740 colour photographs. It illustrates all the world’s seabirds, many in a variety of plumages. The book also contains a convenient key to identifying the confusing albatrosses, petrels and other tube noses, as well as range maps and information about habitats and distribution. This is the book that you’d carry on any sea voyage; our ten-year-old edition has been everywhere.
· Smithsonian Handbook: Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises by Mark Carwardine
In the trademark, graphic Eyewitness style, this sturdy guidebook colorfully describes the world’s cetaceans with whales and dolphins.
MOVIES / TV
A BBC-documentary that explore the Galapagos Islands and its important role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
· Proof of life
A movie with Meg Ryan and Russel Crow, shot in Quito and some of the spots that we are visiting on our trip