Bartolome and Rabida Islands

Dec 25, 2017 - National Geographic Islander

Today’s Christmas expedition took place in two different islands. In the morning we visited Bartolome, which has the Galapagos iconic image of Pinnacle Rock, a tuff cone formation on an extinct volcano. We woke up to the sunrise to climb some 360 steps to arrive to 114 meters of altitude in the highest part of the island to a beautiful view of 100 years old lava fields. After the hike we took our expedition to the water and went snorkeling with Galapagos penguins, white-tipped reef sharks, marbled rays and lots of fish.

In the afternoon we moved to Rabida Island. This island was named after the convent where Christopher Columbus left his kid while he went traveling around the Americas. Besides its interesting history this island has also an interesting geology marked by its red sand beaches and cliffs due to high concentrations of oxidized iron. Just as we started a beautiful day with the rise of the sun, we ended an amazing expedition day with a breathtaking sunset.  What a beautiful Christmas in paradise!

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About the Author

Gianna Haro


Most of Gianna´s memories seem to be dreams, made on flawless white sandy beaches with black lava rock contours and gorgeous turquoise ocean waters. Most of it happened while barefoot, in an enchanting place that some people regard as an ideal natural laboratory, the Galápagos Islands. For her it was home. Gianna grew up going to the beach nearly every day, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, playing with wild flowers, having sea lions steal her ice cream, observing marine iguanas, and identifying invertebrates. The latter was by no means technically accurate—she dubbed each new discovery with its own made-up scientific name. At some point during those early years, being an observer became an innate ability and she knew she wanted to be a biologist. 

About the Photographer

Christian Saa

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Christian was born on the island of Isabela in the Galápagos archipelago. He grew up on a farm and had a magical childhood devoid of cars, electricity, telephones—just pure nature and playful sea lions along the beach. At the age of seven, he moved with his family to Santa Cruz Island, the economic hub of the Galápagos Islands. His father began to work in tourism and took Christian around the islands during school vacations. It was during this time that Christian learned to love and understand the real value of this unique archipelago, and he decided to devote his life to its stewardship. A lifelong passion for nature and its creatures took root in his heart, and he eventually decided to become a naturalist, which he has now been doing for 18 years now.

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