Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove

Jan 10, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

This day was spent at the largest island of the Galapagos archipelago, Isabela Island. In the morning the National Geographic Islander was anchored at Urbina bay where the waters were calm and clear. As the Zodiacs approached we observed Pacific green sea turtles and resting nicely on the bottom of the black sand were several diamond sting rays. The long hike took us along the rocky coast, a great place for Sally light foot crabs, huge male marine iguanas, and flightless cormorants! We then headed inland to observe the giant coral heads, proof that the whole area had been underwater. The area was uplifted in the 50’s and since then vegetation has covered this location and now it is a perfect site for Galapagos land iguanas. We observed a female land iguana right on the trail and underneath the poison apple trees we found several male land iguanas. We arrived to the black sandy beach, where there was time for a good swim and a group of fearless guests even swam back to the ship!

During a well-deserved lunch the ship was repositioned toward Tagus Cove. This is an historical site where pirates, buccaneers, whalers, and explorers looked for a calm bay and set foot on the island.

This is the perfect place for deep water snorkeling and today the water was 64F and was very clear. There were plenty of fish, sea turtles, horn sharks and flightless cormorants! Another option offered here were rounds of kayaking and paddle boarding, ideal options to see the wildlife up close and good exercise at the same time. For the energetic guests, a good paced hike was offered toward Darwin Lake, where the landscape is breathtaking. An option of a great Zodiac ride was offered at the same time to see the Galapagos penguins for a last time!

There were incredible opportunities for pictures, memorable moments, sightings of amazing underwater creatures, and the great hope that although the power of nature can destroy everything in one single event, it is also able to regenerate everything with life again! Galapagos is a laboratory of the world!

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About the Author

Cindy Manning

Expedition Leader

Born in Lima, Peru, of North American parents, Cindy and her family subsequently lived in several South American and European countries with a couple stops in Peoria, Illinois. Cindy received a degree in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Afterwards, Cindy spent a year and a half teaching science in the Western Province of Kenya, East Africa. 

About the Photographer

Vanessa Gallo


Vanessa Gallo’s grandparents arrived in the Galápagos Islands in 1936, making her the third generation of her family to live and work in this magical archipelago. She left the islands for the capital city of Quito for high school, where she discovered that learning foreign languages was one of her main interests. Coming from a family of naturalist guides, it was not a surprise that she also became one at the age of 17. Vanessa left the islands once again for Switzerland, where she earned a diploma in tourism and strengthened her language skills and knowledge of the travel industry. She has also travelled extensively to destinations including as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Canada, the Canary Islands, Mauritius, and many European countries.

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