This small island is full of spectacular scenery and animal life, and is next to San Salvador (James) Island. You will find the most photographed view of all the islands here: the famous Pinnacle Rock. There is a wooden staircase that allows visitors to climb to the top without damaging the fragile ground. The island also offers many great activities.
Wildlife Highlights: This Island is very young, and is home to only pioneering species that have conquered and thrived here. Fascinating geology and scenery. Pinnacle Rock is by far the best photographic site.
Visitor Sites: Bartolome’s Walk and Beach
Smaller than a quarter square kilometre, Sombrero Chino receives its name because of its shape resembling a Chinese hat. There is trail around the cove that will lead you to see American oystercatchers, marine iguanas, lava lizards and Sally Lightfoot crabs. The 400-metre trail begins with a crescent-shaped white sandy beach and offers wonderful landscape views. There are some great snorkelling and swimming opportunities with the white-tipped reef shark and other tropical fish too!
This island is the furthest southeast and is fairly eroded, with outstanding cliff-side landscapes and a plethora of wildlife diversity.
Wildlife highlights: Galapagos sea lions, lava lizards, Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, colourful marine iguanas, Darwin's finches, yellow warblers
Unique features: The only island with a Waved Albatross colony (April to December), the largest blue-footed booby nesting colony, mockingbirds and lava lizards endemic to Española, and many unique geological formations including the well-known “blowhole”.
Visitor Sites: Punta Suárez and Gardner Bay
This island is the youngest and westernmost of all the Galapagos Islands. It is a giant large-shield volcano which hosts continuous volcanic activity due to seismic processes and fumaroles. You might even get the chance to witness a volcanic eruption. The last one was in April 2009!
Wildlife highlights: densest colonies of marine iguanas, nesting colony of flightless cormorants and penguins, sea lions, Galapagos snakes, intertidal pools.
Unique features: It is considered one of the most virgin islands in the entire world because no mammals were ever introduced here. Intertidal pools are teeming with marine life. Incredible newly-formed black lava flows that have evidence of both “pahoe-hoe” and “aa” lava, offering views of the only sea-going lizards that feed on algae.
Visitor site: Punta Espinoza
This island is located in the southern part of the Galapagos, sprinkled with parasitic cones, which are evidence of continuous and sustained volcanic activity that is fairly recent.
Wildlife highlights: Sea turtles and rays (seasonal), Galapagos flycatchers, lagoon birds (ducks, whimbrels, stilts, flamingos, and egrets)
Unique features: Endemic "hairy" Scalesia plant, flour-like beach, volcanic parasitic cones, greater flamingos, great snorkelling. Human history of the islands and post office barrel.
Visitor Sites: Punta Cormorant, Champion Islet, Post Office Bay, Baroness Cove.
The island is shaped like a horse-shoe and has a walled volcanic caldera that collapsed and formed the Great Darwin Bay, surrounded by cliffs. There is young lava flows on the flanks of the volcano, although there is no historic evidence of an eruption. Its large variety of birds gave it the nickname “Bird Island”.
Wildlife highlights: red-footed boobies, nesting colonies of Nazca boobies, tropicbirds, noddy terns, storm petrels, shearwaters, and great frigate birds. Galapagos sea lions and Galapagos fur seals.
Unique features: Greatest seabird diversity: frigate birds, boobies, short-eared owl etc, interesting vegetation such as "spineless" prickly pear cactus from the genus Opuntia and "Palo Santo" forest.
Visitor Sites: Darwin Bay, Prince Philip's Steps
On the western side of the archipelago and the largest of all the islands, it consists of six large shield volcanoes (Darwin, Alcedo, Ecuador, Wolf, Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul). Isabela contains the Galapagos’ highest point with Wolf Volcano (1,707 m; 5,600 ft.).
Wildlife highlights: flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, sea turtles, volcanic landscape.
Visitor Sites: Urbina Bay, Punta Vicente Roca, Tagus Cove.
A Little island filled with unique and interesting creatures and scenery created by geological uplifts, and covered with local arid vegetation; “Palo Santo” trees and prickly pear cactus.
Wildlife highlights: Nesting colony of magnificent and great frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, blue-footed boobies. Breeding colonies of Galapagos sea lions and marine iguanas.
Unique features: Land iguanas, white coral heads, endemic "Palo Santo" trees.
Visitor site: Half of the walk is flat and easy walking along the beach, while the other half is rocky and over boulders. Proper traction footwear needed. Snorkelling is possible when conditions are favourable.
The Plaza Sur Islands are small islands just east of Santa Cruz. The South Plaza, one of the two islands, was formed by an uplift of the sea floor and not by volcanic activity. It is teeming with wide-ranging and fantastic Galapagos creatures and landscapes.
Wildlife highlights: swallow-tailed gulls, red-billed tropicbirds, Galapagos land iguanas.
Unique features: home to a large number of species, extraordinary flora. Prickly pear cactus trees, colony of Galapagos land iguanas. Sesuvium ground vegetation (depending on season) which changes color from bright green in the rainy season and to orange and purple in the dry season.
Rábida is a small island in the center of the archipelago which is exposed to the western upwelling marine currents. It has a distinct red color that comes from the oxidation of the iron-rich volcanic material. Perfect for Snorkeling.
Wildlife highlights: Darwin´s finches, sea lion colony, Galapagos mockingbirds, doves, warblers, brown pelicans, coastal and arid zone vegetation.
Unique features: excellent snorkeling site, seasonal nesting colony of brown pelicans.
Visitor site: Red Beach
This island is in the easternmost part of the Galapagos and one of the largest islands in the archipelago. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, a small town that is also the provincial capital, is located on it. It also holds one of the two airports connecting to the mainland.
Wildlife highlights: Darwin's finches, Colony of Galapagos sea lions, lava lizards, marine iguanas, giant tortoises.
Unique features: San Cristóbal lava lizard, San Cristóbal mockingbird, coralline, El Junco (the only permanent fresh water lake in the Galapagos).
Visitor Sites: Cerro Brujo, La Galapaguera, Punta Pitt, Interpretation Centre, Tijeretas (Frigate Hill).
Galapagos’ second largest island hosting seven different vegetation zones. It is also the most populated island, with the province’s largest town in Puerto Ayora. This is where you can find all the amenities that are typical to your average city: ATM machines, banks, art, souvenirs, restaurants and bars.
Wildlife highlights: Galapagos mockingbirds, Darwin's finches, giant tortoises, vermillion flycatchers, ducks, herons, egrets, stilts.
Unique features: giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station (young & adult), giant tortoises in the wild, vegetation in the highlands including the giant daisy tree of the Scalesia genus, a variety of nature-active options and sports (hiking, scuba diving, kayaking, mountain biking, etc.).
Visitor Sites: Charles Darwin Research Station, Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill), The Highlands and the Giant tortoise reserve, Bahía Ballena (Whale Bay), Los Gemelos (Pit Craters), Las Bachas beach.
A little island found in the middle of the archipelago. Scholars have suggested that Santa Fe may be the Galapagos’ oldest volcano, the evidence being present in the sub-aerial rocks that date back 3.9 million years. The type of vegetation found here is brush, Palo Santo trees and a wide variety of the prickly pear cactus Opuntua echios. The visitor site here is a wet landing in the lovely Barrington Bay which can be found on the island’s northeastern side. The turquoise water beaches are home to a large number of sea lions.
Wildlife highlights: Darwin´s finches, sea lion colony, giant Opuntia Cacti, Galapagos Hawks, Santa Fe land iguana.
Unique features: It has one of the most beautiful bays, an ideal place for snorkeling. large Opuntia Cacti forest, home for the unique species of land iguana (Conolophus pallidus) in the world.
This island, resembling a mountain range with hills, valleys and parasitic cones, used to be a large shield volcano. It was settled by Ecuadorians in the 1960’s for salt-mining. Now, the island is uninhabited, but hosts a nice visitor site in Puerto Egas. At Puerto Egas, the visit is combined with a rocky shoreline tour and some time on its dark-colored sandy beach and at Sullivan Bay with its unique lava forms.
Wildlife highlights: the most diverse shorebird activity occurs here; Galapagos fur seals, Galapagos sea lions, Darwin finches, hawks, mockingbirds and marine iguanas.
Unique features: the coastline is rugged and well-eroded consisting of tuff stone and is just above a dark black lava flow. These tuff stones mostly came from a gigantic phreatomagmatic explosion (an abrupt contact between water and magma). The coastline is an incredible habitat that hosts intertidal life and Galapagos fur seals.
Visitor Site: Puerto Egas, Sullivan Bay.