The most iconic place in the Galapagos.
Located at the center of the archipelago, Bartolome is one of the most frequently visited sites of all the islands. The highest point is only 374 ft (114 m) above sea level and it is separated from the island of Santiago by Sullivan Bay. The island has a surface area of 0.74 mi (1.2 km) It is an excellent site for snorkeling, filled with the breathtaking volcanic landscapes that make this corner of the world so unique.
We have two landing possibilities: a dock and a beach. The dock, made out of lava and concrete, soon turns into a wooden staircase built to avoid erosion and consists of 372 steps. It takes us to the island’s summit, where we find what probably constitutes the most photographed site in the Galapagos: Pinnacle Rock.
Due to its altitude, the lack of vegetation is immediately noticeable. Pioneer plants are observed, they are called this way because they are the first to establish roots on new ground. They include Tiquilia nesiotica (which is endemic to the island) and Chamaesyce (known as sand mat or spurge in English), lava cactus, and Scalesia bushes. Behind the beach, we have the dunes covered by mangroves.
The coralline beach next to Pinnacle Rock is a wet landing site from which we are able to snorkel amongst tropical fish and perhaps sea lions and penguins; they rest on the lava of the intertidal zone and sometimes decide to take a dip.