Dragon Tree, Socotra Island Yemen

Dragon trees on Socotra Island, the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.” © javarman3

As a contributor to this blog and the director of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, I do my best to stay on top of what’s happening in the islands. One way I attempt to do this is to subscribe to Google Alerts for the term “Galapagos Islands,” so every day I get an email with links to any new mentions of the word “Galapagos” on the internet. One of the interesting things I’ve discovered is how many different places around the world regularly claim to be, or are referred to as, “the Galapagos of….” their region, because of the unique wildlife found there. For example, Sibuyan Island, is often referred to as “The Galapagos of Asia” while Kangaroo Island is frequently called “The Galapagos of Australia.” Both are home to dozens of species found nowhere else on earth. There are at least two spots that claim to be “The Galapagos of the Caribbean” and at least three vying for “ The Galapagos of the Indian Ocean” title.  There is even a lake and a mountain range on the list. What this means, of course, is that the Galapagos Islands have become synonymous around the world with exceptional biodiversity and high rates of endemism, which is a good thing.

Here is a list of some of the ersatz “Galapagos Islands” I’ve come across. Can you add any others?

1. Bahia Bustamante, “The Galapagos of Argentina”

2. Ballestas Islands, “The Galapagos of Peru”

3. Bonin Islands (also known as the Ogasawara Islands), “The Galapagos of the Orient” (Japan)

4. Cendrawasih Bay, “The Galapagos of Indonesia’s Reefs”

5. Christmas Island, “The Galapagos of the Indian Ocean” (Australia)

6. Enderby Island, “The Galapagos of the Southern Ocean” (New Zealand)

7. Fernando de Noronha, “The Galapagos of Brazil”

8. Haida Gwaii (or Queen Charlotte Islands), “The Galapagos of the North” (British Columbia, Canada)

9. Kangaroo Island, “The Galapagos of Australia”

10. Lake Baikal, “The Galapagos of Russia”

11. Mona Island, “The Galapagos of the Caribbean” (Puerto Rico)

12. Pingüino De Humboldt National Reserve, “The Galapagos of Chile”

13. Roca Partida, “The Galapagos of Mexico”

14. São Tomé and Príncipe, “The Galapagos of Africa”

15. Sibuyan Island, “The Galapagos of Asia” (The Philippines)

16. Skomer, “The Galapagos of Europe” (UK)

17. Socotra Island, “The Galapagos of the Indian Ocean” (Yemen)

18. St. Paul Island, “The Galapagos of Alaska”

19. The Canary Islands, “The Galapagos of Europe” (Autonomous Community of Spain)

20. The Chagos Archipelago, “The Galapagos of the Indian Ocean” (in dispute between Mauritius and the UK)

21. The Channel Islands, “The Galapagos of the North” (USA)

22. The Islands of Loreto, “The Galapagos of North America” (Mexico)

23. The Snares, “The Galapagos of the Southern Ocean” (New Zealand)

24. The Swan Islands, “The Galapagos of the Caribbean” (Honduras)

25. Usambara Mountains, “The Galapagos of Africa” (Tanzania)