The Galapagos Islands have been mapped by Google Street View for the first time, allowing virtual explorers extraordinary access to Charles Darwin’s biological paradise.

To mark the 178th anniversary of the great British scientist’s ground-breaking journey of 1835, Google have produced 360-degree images along some of the most dramatic and remarkable landscapes to be seen.

Working in collaboration with the management of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation, photographers with backpacks walked the same earth that inspired Darwin on his way to developing his theory of evolution.

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And far from keeping to the beaten track, the mapping team went out of their way to photograph some of the iconic animals that live only on this bio-diverse and isolated habitat.

Wearing the “Street View Trekker” camera, they walked past giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and even got in the water with some particularly inquisitive sea lions.

Google say the latest addition to Street View is more than just a treat for armchair travellers.

“It will also play an instrumental role in the ongoing research of the environment, conservation, animal migration patterns and the impact of tourism on the islands,” wrote Raleigh Seamster, the project leader for Google Earth Outreach.

Meanwhile, the search engine giant says people will now be able to “step into Darwin’s shoes”, and as with normal Street View users can zoom in and out and move between images.

The Galapagos islands are available to explore now – as a hint, start by looking for Ecuador.

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