Long before the Galapagos Islands were considered a hot tourist destination, Charles Darwin paid them a visit in 1835. As part of a 5-year surveying mission that set sail in 1831 with Captain Robert Fitzroy aboard the HMS Beagle, 22-year-old Charles Darwin was invited to join them as an unpaid member of the crew. At that point, although Darwin was always fascinated by science, he was still searching for himself – he found his studies in medicine to be underwhelming, followed by an equally flat bout into divinity. Fitzroy felt that this cruise might be a good opportunity for him to explore the world more.
The Beagle made landfall on San Cristobal in September of 1835. They had already charted much of the South American coast and were now tasked with creating a map of the Galapagos. In fact, the maps that they created were so well done that they were used for over a century, until the archipelago was re-charted by the USS Bowditch in 1942.