The Galapagos Islands lie in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles west of the coast of Ecuador, straddling the Equator. There are 13 large islands, 6 smaller ones and 107 islets and rocks. The islands are volcanic in origin, and several volcanoes in the west of the archipelago are still very active. Galapagos is a provence of the Republic of Ecuador. In 1959, Ecuador designated 97% of the land area of the Galapagos as a National Park, and in 1986, the Galapagos Marine Resources Reserve was established, protecting the waters aroundthe archipelago. The islands have been recognized internationally as a Man and Biosphere Reserve, and as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.