The Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Activity Book

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A Brief Introduction

Bartolome Island

On Bartolome, it seems like we are walking on the moon. This young Island is inhospitable to most plants and animals. After a dry landing, climb 30 minutes up a steep slope to the summit of a once active volcano. Pause along the way to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. From the top, gaze out across a panoramic view including the famous “Pinnacle Rock”, an eroded tuff cone. Down below, crystal clear water invites you to snorkel with schools of tropical fish. Penguins often swim in this area. On the other side of the Island encounter sea turtles and white-tipped sharks.

Genovesa Island

Tower Island is one of the most spectacular islands in Galapagos. After a wet landing on Darwin Bay’s coral beach, wind your way past tide pools where swallow-tailed and lava gulls gather. Enter a forest of mangroves where colonies of great frigate birds nest. The males inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females that fly overhead. Take a “panga” or dinghy ride along the jagged shoreline. See the beautiful red-billed tropic bird. At Prince Philip’s Steps, find storm petrels and the elusive short-eared owl, and watch the famous red-footed boobies nesting in palo santo trees.

Fernandina Island

Punta Espinosa – Located in the western part of the archipelago, Fernandina is the youngest and most pristine island found in Galapagos. Hundreds of marine iguanas, the largest colony in Galapagos, bask in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory. Flightless Cormorants build their nest on the point and Galapagos Hawk fly overhead. Evidence of recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast.

Isabela Island

Tagus Cove – Six volcanoes flowed together and formed Isabela, the largest island in Galapagos. On a nature walk, discover a salt-water lagoon, flamingo lagoon, a scenic overlook, and a spectacular view of lava fields, volcanic formations and the ocean. Note graffiti dating back to the 1800’s is written on the rocky cliffs. Explore Tagus Cove in pangas or sea kayaks and find Galapagos penguins and other seabirds.

Places to visit:

Punta Moreno
Sierra Negra
Volcán Alcedo
Punta Albemarle
Bahía Elizabeth
Punta García

Santa Cruz Giant Tortoise

Watch the scenery change as we wind our way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. From June to January you can find giant tortoises on a private farm in the highlands.
We also visit Los Gemelos “The Twins”, a pair of large pit craters where we find the bright red male vermilion flycatcher. Afterwards, we head to “the tunnels”, the largest lava tubes found in Galapagos.
After lunch at a highland ranch, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. Get your picture taken with the giant tortoises. Observe year-old tortoises and learn about the captive-breeding program.
Next, stroll through the town of Puerto Ayora (population: 10,000) –the largest town in the Galapagos. Buy souvenirs, mail postcards and absorb local charm in the social heart of the Islands.

Española Island

Walk along seemingly endless stretches of sandy beach where you’ll find colonies of sea lions. Swim and snorkel with the sea lions and enjoy the colorful diversity of sea life near Gardner Islet.
This afternoon, we disembark at Punta Suarez, where we witness the highest rate of “endemism” in the Galapagos. Sea lions noisily green us as we land on their beach. Curious mockingbirds peck at our shoelaces. From April to November waved albatross perform their wild mating rituals only on Espanola. Colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in “sky-pointing” while masked boobies busily care for their young. Stunning swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds take shelter under the cliffs.
Other species endemic to Galapagos and found on Espanola include Darwin’s Finches, Galapagos Doves and Galapagos Hawks. Observe a unique species of marine iguana identified with traces of red and green colorings. Colorful lightfoot crabs crawl along the shoreline near to the famous “blow hole”.