Española Island

Feb 25, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Española Island, on the southeastern end of the archipelago, is an old shield volcano. This island is slowly but surely losing the battle against the elements, after drifting over 200 kilometers from its birthplace. AS of today, it is positioned on top of the Nazca plate, having drifted so far from its birth place and effectively losing all influence of the Galapagos Hotspot, the life force that fuels most volcanic activity in this group of islands. Despite being presently only a fraction of its original size, it is still home to vast numbers of sea birds, as well as an endemic species of mockingbird and lava lizard, unique not only to the archipelago, but specifically to Española. We explored the northeastern end of the island at Gardner Bay and nearby Gardner Islet during the morning and the western end at Suarez Point during the afternoon.

  • Send

About the Author

Benjamin Ayala


Ben is a German-Ecuadorian naturalist guide who grew up on San Cristobal, the eastern-most island of the Galápagos Archipelago, home to the political capital of the province.

About the Photographer

Celso Montalvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Celso was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of nine he arrived in the Galápagos for the first time and he was profoundly touched by nature, observation, and isolation.  When he saw the sharks, rays and turtles swimming in the bay, he was triggered by a sense of wonder that he did not feel before.  Celso believes education is key to preservation. After graduating from the Naval Academy at the age of 17 he moved to New York to continue his education.

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy