ESPAÑOLA

ISLAND

One of the oldest of all, about, 4.5 million years old, has finished all development processes; result of an uplifting is highly eroded and is on its way of mass loss and sinking. The island is located on the outer southern east corner of the archipelago.

One of the smallest and, depending on the season, most colorful islands. Find sea lion colonies, land and hybrid iguanas and countless birds soaring by the cliffs.

It is an unpopulated island.

This island witnessed the first fauna and flora arrivals and is probably home of the ancestors of the species that now populate other islands. This island is home of the Española Mockingbird, the only carnivorous one, endemic to this island. Here there is also the only Marine Iguana population that remains red and green throughout the year.

This is the only nesting site for the Galapagos Waved Albatross, thanks to the cold waters from the Humboldt current and the upwelling created on its flow, this endemic animal nests on the flat grounds of this island. Their mating ritual is one of the funniest and most beautiful scenes, it is the beginning of a life love story. They breed from the month of April to December; this is the largest and only population of the world with about thirty thousand individuals and is a UICN Critically Endangered Specie due to fisheries, water pollution and global warming and El Nino effects on the Galapagos.

About 1500 tortoises live there today. The Charles Darwin Station and the Galapagos National park have repatriated a population of Tortoises on this Island. The project started with 14 individuals that survived the introduced rats predation on the eggs on the 1960s.

Española highlights include Waved Albatross and Blue-footed Boobies courting, the Nazca Boobies colonies, as well as nesting grounds and the spectacular backdrop of Punta Suárez blowhole.

SITES OF VISIT

SUAREZ POINT

ISLAND INFORMATION

Age: 3.2 million years

Area: 37.2 mi2 /60km2

Maximum Elevation: 656 ft/200 m

DESCRIPTION

At the southeastern tip of Galapagos lies, Española, the Archipelago’s oldest island, which is without a doubt a prime sanctuary of birds where you can observe blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, red-billed tropic birds, swallow- tailed gulls, the Española mockingbird, and from April to December around 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses come to nest.

Passengers will observe sea lion colonies, the most colored marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the beautiful scenery of the blowhole where water shoots 75 ft (23 m) up into the air.

The dramatic setting among the black cliffs, the never-ending rolling and crashing of the waves below; the elaborate courtship rituals of the albatross (birds that mate for life) make Española a highlight of your trip.

The hike is also very interesting for its geographical features, consisting of a completely arid to transitional zone of vegetation with predominantly thorny plants.

  • Disembarking: Dry landing but on a slippery surface.
  • Type of Terrain: Rocky and hard.
  • Difficulty level: Difficult.
  • Duration: 2:30-3:00 hours hike.
  • Physical condition required: High.
  • Highlights: Waved albatross, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, doves, herons, gulls, hawks, sea lions, the endemic Hood (Española) mockingbird, with its bold behavior, several types of reptiles, including the brightly colored marine iguanas and an oversized lava lizard unique to this island. A birdwatchers’ paradise!

GARDNER BAY

ISLAND INFORMATION

Age: 3.2 million years

Area: 37.2 mi2 /60km2

Maximum Elevation: 656 ft/200 m

DESCRIPTION

Located on Española Island, Gardner Bay consists of an extensive beach of whitish coralline sand with several colonies of Galapagos sea lions.

Here, we can also observe the endemic mockingbird of Española, usually in small groups defending their territories.

Snorkeling is recommended, especially around the small semi submerged tuff cone located in front of the beach. Where we could see reef white-tipped sharks, rays, sea lions and a variety of colorful reef fish.

It’s basically a day of sun and beach, along snorkeling and kayaking activities.

At certain rocky points of the shoreline, we can also see marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies plunging in the water, Sally light-foot crabs, and small coastal birds and wandering tattlers (vagabundos) and turnstones (vuelvepiedras).

  • Disembarking: Wet landing.
  • Type of Terrain: A wonderful and relaxing white sandy beach.
  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Duration: 1 hour hike, 1 hour snorkeling / kayaking (extra fee).
  • Physical condition required: Low.
  • Highlights: Excellent for swimming and snorkeling along a wonderful and relaxing white sandy beach with colonies of sea lions, Hood mockingbirds, lava lizards, Galapagos hawks, and sea turtles. In front of the beach, there is a small islet, which is a good place for snorkeling among sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays, and colored fish. Travelers will also spot lava lizards and the colorful Sally light-footed Crabs or zayapas. Snorkelers often see many of the Galapagos marine species such as king angel fish, Creole fish, damsel fish, parrot fish, white-tipped reef shark, and many more.

Interested to visit this island? Available itineraries:

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