Isabela Island; Urbina Bay and Tagus

Jan 24, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today we visited the central part of the island of Isabela.

After a dry landing on a white sandy beach we entered an incense tree forest with a path full of land iguanas. We encountered several land iguanas basking in the sun, others feeding on the small leafs brought by the light rains here.

We explored an area which was uplifted in 1954. This was the rise of the ocean floor where barnacles and other crustaceans are found hundreds of meters inland.  What once was an underwater ecosystem nowadays holds the land territory of Galapagos land iguanas and giant tortoises.  We spotted a couple of giant tortoises along the way, walking on our trail. This is a wild population which belongs to a nearby volcano. 

On the tall incense trees, a Galapagos Hawk was spotted. This is the top of the food chain in the archipelago. Many species of finches were along the trail, as well as some large coral heads from the uplifted area. This was a perfect place to learn about secondary succession, when life establishes on a terrain where there was once life before. After the hike, we had the opportunity to swim along the beach.

After lunch, we went to a calm bay area known as Tagus Cove. We had the opportunity to go deep water snorkeling with penguins, sea turtles, and sea lions. We also had the opportunity to go kayaking along the coast as well as Zodiac riding in search of wildlife.

A hike to the top of a volcano was offered to see Darwin Lake and hike along an incense tree forest. We finished an incredible day in the Galapagos with an amazing sunset.

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About the Author

Jonathan Aguas

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jonathan was born into one of only a handful of families that reaches back five generations in Galápagos, in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. He first left the islands when he won a highly-coveted scholarship to finish his studies in the U.S.  This was the start of his life-long passion for science and languages. He earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from the University of Florida and later spent time in Europe, where he learned French. He is now fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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