Bartolome Island is located in Sullivan Bay off James Island. Bartolome has two visitor sites on the island. The island also includes a spectacular climb to the summit of the island, which reveals first a variety of colorful volcanic formations of Bartholomew and second the immense black lava flows on nearby James Island.
Daphne Island is a large tuft cone that has been eroded by the constant crashing of the waves around its base. The vegetation is sparse, and ground cover is minimal consisting of only a few shrubs. Thousands of blue-footed boobies nest within the islands two small craters.
The National Park service restricts visitors allowed to visit Daphne and it is a select few that are able to visit this special place. Visitors venture up a steep trail to the crater rim. Finches, masked boobies, short-eared owls and Galapagos martins are visible along the way. Red-billed tropicbirds nest in the cliffs near the summit. Magnificent frigatebirds build their nests in the little vegetation that occurs on the Island's slopes and near the crater rim.
|Highlights:||Intense bird watching opportunities including nesting blue-footed boobies, masked boobies and tropicbirds|
|Animals:||Finches, masked boobies, short-eared owls, Galapagos martins, red-billed tropicbirds, frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, great blue herons|
As it is the furthest north of the Islands, the Humboldt Current has little effect here and the waters are warmer than in the south; as such there are more corals here than the other Islands. The quality can be overwhelming. Darwin's Arch sits just above the surface on an underwater plateau and the steep barnacle covered walls drop off to the deeper ocean. The water it is thick with hammerheads and on the ridge side there are large schools of fish.
|Highlights:||Quality of diving|
|Animals:||Creole fish, rainbow chub, big eye jacks, Moorish idols, mackerels, blue and gold snappers, Mexican hogfish, cornet fish, trumpet fish, parrotfish, Panamic green morays, turtles, flounders, octopuses|
Española Island is located at the extreme southeast of the archipelago and it has two important points of interest. The first is Punta Suarez. Punta Suarez is a rocky point that sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in Galapagos. High cliffs rise up from the sea, for spectacular views of soaring birds and a famous blowhole where water spouts from 50 to 75 feet into the air. The second is Gardner Bay, which is located at the eastern coast of Hood Island and provides an excellent beach for swimming and the opportunity to observe the Galapagos sea lions.
Fernandina Island is an active shield volcano and is the youngest of the Galapagos Islands. The immense shield of Fernandina volcano provides an impressive backdrop for Punta Espinosa, a narrow stretch of sand and lava rock extending from the base of the volcano into the sea. Renowned for its large colonies of marine iguanas, it is also home to a number of unique Galapagos species including the flightless cormorant, penguin, sea lion and marine turtle. Fernandina's recently formed harsh slopes can be appreciated by taking a trail inland to the edge of a large AA lava flow (type of lava flow).
Floreana has four important points of interest. The first is Punta Cormorant. Punta Cormorant has one of the best flamingo's lagoons in the Galapagos. A variety of shore birds and numerous and unique species of plant life are also available to view in the area. The second point of interest is Devil's Crown. Devil's Crown consists of the picket fence-like remains of small volcanic cone, which has been eroded away by the sea, creating an interior habitat ideal for several different types of coral and marine life. It is a perfect spot for snorkeling. The third and fourth points of interest are the Post Office Barrel (wooden barrel placed on Floreana in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship in order to communicate by mail) and the spectacular Lava Cave.
Genovesa Island is located at the inner part of Darwin Bay. This area contains an abundance of frigate birds and other interesting seabirds. Behind the small beach filled with nesting areas for frigates, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls are a number of tide pools. At high tide it is likely that the trail will be covered with water. Continuing on the trail past the tide pools, excellent views of the cliff formations along the coast, as well as an idea of the dry interior of the island can be had.
The island's seahorse shape is the product of the merging of six large volcanoes into a single landmass. On this island Galapagos Penguins, Flightless Cormorants, Marine Iguanas, pelicans and Sally Lightfoot crabs abound. At the skirts and calderas of the volcanos of Isabela, Land Iguanas and Galapagos Tortoises can be observed, as well as Darwin Finches, Galapagos Hawks, Galapagos Doves and very interesting lowland vegetation.
Named after Fray Antonio Marchena. Has an area of 130 square kilometers (50 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 343 meters (1,125 ft). Galapagos hawks and sea lions inhabit this island, and it is home to the Marchena Lava Lizard, an endemic animal.
Located between North Seymour and Baltra is the small island of Mosquera. The island consists is a long narrow stretch of white sand, rocks, and tide pools. Created by geological uplift the island has a flat look to it rather than the conical shape of the volcanically formed islands. Mosquera is a great place for visitors to wander without the typical restrictions of the other islands. It is ideal for snorkeling, strolling on the beach, and enjoying the animal life.
|Highlights:||Large population of sea lions|
|Animals:||Great blue herons, lava gulls, lava herons, lava lizards, marine iguanas|
North Seymour Island is located slightly north of Baltra. North Seymour is a low, flat island, formed as a result of the uplift of a submarine lava structure. It is covered with low, bushy vegetation, which houses the largest colony of the magnificent frigate birds (Fregata magnificens) in the Galapagos. When nesting conditions are right, there is also a large population of blue-footed boobies.
The 2km trail crosses the inland of the island and explores the rocky coast, passing colonies of blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds. Daphne Major and Minor can be spotted in the distance and body surfing sea lions play close to the shore. Along the shoreline marine iguanas, white coral and black lava rocks complete the visit to North Seymour.
|Highlights:||Rare Galapagos snakes, nesting frigatebirds, swallowtail gulls and blue-footed boobies, land iguanas|
|Animals:||Galapagos snakes, land iguanas, lava gulls, lava lizards, magnificent frigatebirds, marine iguanas, mockingbirds|
|Difficulty:||Flat, easy trail|
Rabida has a distinctive look, with its reddish beach, cliffs, and steep slopes of volcanic cinders. A noisy colony of sea lions lives on the beach, and a short trail inland is a good place to observe land birds such as finches, doves, yellow warblers, and mockingbirds. Hidden behind a narrow strip of green salt bush is a briny lagoon where flamingos may be found. Snorkeling along the rocks at the east end of the beach may reveal many of the reef fish common to these waters.
White-Cheeked Pintail Ducks live in a salt-water lagoon close to the beach, where brown pelicans and boobies have built their nests. Up until recently, flamingos were also found in the salt-water lagoon, but they have since moved on to other islands, likely due to a lack of food on Rabida. Nine species of Finches have been reported in this island.
|Highlights:||Hiking, birdwatching, swimming, snorkeling|
|Animals:||Blue-footed boobies, flamingos, Galapagos hawks, Galapagos penguins, pelicans, sea lions, white-tipped reef sharks, lava herons, lava lizards, marine iguanas, mockingbirds|
|Difficulty:||Steep and uneasy trail|
This is the first island in the Galapagos Archipelago that Charles Darwin visited during his voyage on the Beagle. This islands hosts frigate birds, sea lions, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, tropicbirds, marine iguanas, dolphins, swallow-tailed gulls. Its vegetation includes Calandrinia galapagos, Lecocarpus darwinii, and trees such as Lignum vitae.The largest fresh water lake in the archipelago, Laguna El Junco, is located in the highlands of San Cristobal.
Given the name of the Holy Cross in Spanish, its English name derives from the British vessel HMS Indefatigable. It has an area of 986 square kilometers (381 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 864 meters (2834 ft). Santa Cruz is the island that hosts the largest human population in the archipelago at the town of Puerto Ayora. The Charles Darwin Research Station and the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service are located here.
Santa Fe Island is home to the small picturesque bay and anchorage on Barrington's northeast coast. The bay has two trails for visitors to explore the area. One of these trails leads to a scenic viewpoint on top of a cliff, followed by an area where a species of land iguana can often be seen. The second trail is a short walk from the beach to an unusually tall prickly pear cactus forest.
Santa Fe is a volcanic uplift and hosts a forest of Opuntia cactus, which are the largest of the archipelago, and palo santo. Weathered cliffs provide a haven for swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropic birds, and sehar-waters petrels. The Santa Fe species of land iguanas are often seen, as well as lava lizards. There is a picturesque turquoise lagoon and calm waters where you can snorkel amongst sea lions.
|Highlights:||Land iguanas, Galapagos hawks, playful sea lion pups|
|Animals:||Frigate birds, Galapagos hawks, land and marine iguanas, manta rays, sea turtles, sea lions, lava lizards, mockingbirds|
|Difficulty:||Steep and uneasy trail; strenuous hike|
Sombrero Chino is named after its shape formed by volcanic rock giving it the name, Chinese Hat. Since it was given a maximum visiting capacity by the National Park Service it offers rare, up close viewing of Galapagos wildlife and well preserved remnants of fragile volcanic rock that can't be found in such a unique condition anywhere else. The islet is home to a colony of sea lions on the white coral sand beach. Here you can see American Oystercatchers, Galapagos Penguins swimming along the shores, and Sally-Lightfoot Crabs in bright contrast to the dark volcanic rock.
|Highlights:||Snorkeling with Galapagos penguins, playful sea lions and white-tipped sharks|
|Animals:||Sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, white-tipped sharks, Galapagos penguins, sea lions|
|Difficulty:||Good shoes necessary for walking on lava rock|
South Plaza is one of a pair of small uplifted islands that are a short distance from the east coast of Sta. Cruz. South Plaza has a unique Sesuvium and Opuntia landscape, which provides some of the most interesting wildlife observation available in Galapagos. Land iguanas, frequently in the shade of a cactus, are easily seen from the trail. Swallow-tailed gulls, along with various other sea birds are seen soaring between the land and the sky and the protected rocky seashore is prime habitat for a large colony of noisy sea lions.
|Highlights:||Land iguanas, nesting swallow tail gulls and snorkeling with friendly sea lions|
|Animals:||Land iguanas, lava lizards, Madeiran storm petrels, marine iguanas|
With a number of protected anchorages, a variety of dive sites and drift dives with large animals it is no wonder this area has topped the list of favorite sites. Due to the warmer waters here you will find many fish found nowhere else. Large pelagic fish like whale sharks, Galapagos sharks, black-blotched stingrays, spotted eagle rays have also been seen here. Hammerheads swim in a never ending parade across the reef.
|Highlights:||Variety of fish not seen elsewhere; night dives|
|Animals:||White-mouth and zebra morays, trumpetfish, cornetfish, schools of jacks, rainbow runners, barracudas, tuna, bigeye jacks, blue-spotted jacks, wahoo, bacalao, salemas, yellowfin surgeonfish, marine turtles, schooling scalloped hammerhead sharks, manta rays, Galapagos sharks, eagle rays, green turtles, sea lions, fur seals|
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