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30 of the most beautiful places in the world

By: Melissa Breyer on July 8, 2014, 9:01 a.m.
San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

Photo: sunsinger/Shutterstock

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Galapagos Islands

Anywhere you land in the Galapagos archipelago will be fascinating; the islands and their aquatic environs — made famous by Charles Darwin — form a national park and a marine reserve, all within the Ecuadorian province of which they are a part. Of the 18 main islands, San Cristobal Island (pictured here) is the easternmost, and the oldest as well. It was formed by the fusion of several volcanoes and it is where Darwin first set foot on the islands. While it is the most populated of all the islands (and serves as a gateway for exploring the archipelago) it also hosts frigate birds, marine iguanas, Galapagos tortoises, blue footed boobies, Galapagos sea lions, swallow-tailed seagulls, dolphins and other must-see wildlife. But take your pick of any of the islands that comprise this special spot and you will easily find yourself in one of the prettiest and most interesting places in the world.