Sombrero Chino & Santiago Island

Dec 08, 2017 - National Geographic Islander

 We woke up and noticed we were surrounded by islands and islets. After breakfast we were ready to explore the channel between Santiago and Chinese Hat by Zodiac. The waters here are shallow and clear and sea lions joyfully play and rest around a colony ruled by a beach master.

Later returned to the same area, this time to snorkel with numerous species of underwater animals like fish of different colors and shapes and some white tip-reef sharks swam by with sublime style. A lonely penguin showed up to surprise us and its speed on its hunting trip along the rocky shores of Santiago was impressive.

What a place this is, with its magical beauty combined with abundancy of sea life. It was a great morning.


In the afternoon we navigated a short distance to reach Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island.

The Zodiacs took us to the landing area to walk on a vast extension of pahoe-hoe lava from a late 1800’s eruption on this island. Fresh lava is obviously devoid of life, although there’s enough to understand how flora and fauna progressed slowly to the rich biodiversity of today throughout the archipelago.

Some pioneers, such as the lava cactus, were the first to exist here. Animals such as the lava lizards, locusts, and some birds, are among the most versatile and they live here in unique conditions.

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About the Author

Patricio Maldonado

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Patricio, better known as Pato amongst his friends, was born in the Galápagos Island. His family moved to the islands from the mainland and settled on the island of Santa Cruz over thirty-five years ago. Pato had an enchanted childhood in the islands, where his keen interest in the wildlife of the Galápagos was born initially through catching lizards and observing how they lost their tails. His experiences in the islands have led him to teach visitors about the need to protect this rare and unique environment.

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