Ecuador: Galapagos Day 7: Espanola Island (Hood Island) – San Cristobal

Española Island is part of the Galápagos Islands. The English named it Hood Island after Viscount Samuel Hood. It is located in the extreme southeast of the archipelago and is considered, along with Santa Fe, one of the oldest, at approximately four million years. The beach at Gardner Bay offers one of the best beaches to experience “relaxing beach time” in Galapagos. The expansive white sand beach (one of the longest in Galapagos at 2 km) attracts many napping sea lions. Española is probably most well-known for being the sole breeding ground for the entire population of the world’s Waved Albatrosses.

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Ecuador: Galapagos Day 6: Santa Cruz Highlands

Areas of the Galapagos with a higher elevation are known as the Highlands. Due to the altitude, Santa Cruz Highlands provide a fresh respite from the sun, making this place the perfect habitat for the giant Galapagos tortoises, Galapagos finches and other land animals and plants. The Twin Craters or Gemelos are geologically speaking seen as sink holes and their formation is not directly due to volcanic action. They were created as a result of the collapse or sinking of surface materials into cracks or manholes. We visited lava tubes or tunnels, which are the result of the many eruptions that have occurred on the island since its formation. Island specific highlights include: Giant tortoises, tree & ground Darwin finches, vermillion flycatcher, cattle egrets. We had the privilege of meeting Lonesome George!

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Ecuador: Galapagos Day 5: Santiago Island

Santiago Island is one of the Galápagos Islands. It is also known as San Salvador, named after the first island discovered by Columbus in the Caribbean Sea, or as James Island. It has the biggest and longest lava flow, which is located in Sullivan Bay. Santiago has some of the most stunning volcanic formations and surreal basaltic lava flows of the whole archipelago. Santiago is also home to Galapagos land birds like Darwin’s Finches, Flycatchers and Galapagos Hawks.

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Ecuador: Galapagos Day 4: Isabela

Isabela is the largest of the Galapagos Islands. Five volcanic craters reaching an elevation of 5,540 feet (1,689 metres), two of which are still active, dominate the island’s centre; hills covered with forests, vines, and orchids separate them from the sandy coastline. Unique to the island to the island are flightless cormorants and penguins. There are also large numbers of land iguanas and a flamingo colony.

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Ecuador: Galapagos Day 4: Isle Fernandina

Fernandina is the westernmost island in the Galapagos Islands, the third largest and youngest of the islands, less than one million years old. It is the most volcanically active and sits at the centre of the hot spot that created the Galapagos Islands. There is a short walk around the small peninsula and a longer walk inland to the edge of a large aa lava flow. Punta Espinosa is also one of the best places to see the Lava Cactus. Fernandina is the most pristine of the Galapagos Islands. Two species of the endemic rice rats are found there. Fernandina has a large land iguana population, which nests both on the rim of the caldera and in its depths.

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Read more about the article Ecuador: Galapagos Day 3: Santa Cruz & North Seymour

Ecuador: Galapagos Day 3: Santa Cruz & North Seymour

Home to the largest town in the Galapagos, Puerto Ayora, the Island has a large variety of vegetation. Pit craters, Scalesia Forest, cacti and ferns are found in its vegetation zones. The island is comprised of a younger part formed by volcanic cones and lava and an older narrow strip of land formed by uplifted lava flows and tuffs. Santa Cruz is the only island with six different vegetation zones and has Giant tortoises, land and marine iguanas, variety of birds Area: 380 sq. mi and Highest Point: 2,834 ft North Seymour Island is incredibly easy to get to on a day tour from Santa Cruz Island or Baltra Island. It offers you a refreshing change of scenery and a different variety of wildlife. There are also several diving sites at North Seymour which offers snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities for divers of all levels. You will get the chance to swim with Galapagos turtles, sea lions, eagle rays and a large number of reef fishes. The endemic Galapagos garden eel, white tipped sharks and hammerhead sharks also guard the waters of North Seymour Island.

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Ecuador: Galapagos Day 2: Genovesa: Prince Phillip Steps

Genovesa island is highly volcanic, with deep pools and caves carved from the lava shoreline. Home to the Galapagos fur seal and various seabirds including the largest colony of red footed booby birds. Steps (El Barranco), located on Genovesa Island, is an amazing steep path climbing up to 25m high cliffs. It was named after the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, who visited the island twice. The path will lead you through a diversity of lively seabird colonies, including Nazca, blue-footed and red-footed boobies, Galapagos pigeons and owls. At the top, you're met by a striking panorama of lava plains. You can reach this spot by taking a dinghy ride and at the landing site you'll most likely be welcomed by a small colony of fur seals.

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Ecuador: Galapagos Day 5: Bartolome Island

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 snorkelling, filled with the breath taking volcanic landscapes that make this corner of the world so unique. It has an incredible landscape and you can see why MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD was filmed here.

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Ecuador: Galapagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. It's considered one of the world's foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. A province of Ecuador, it lies about 1,000km off its coast. Its isolated terrain shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else. Charles Darwin visited in 1835, and his observation of Galápagos' species later inspired his theory of evolution.

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