Española: Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez

Apr 09, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today we visited Española, one of the oldest islands of the Archipelago, also one of the most beautiful islands of the Galapagos. Early in the morning, the National Geographic Islander anchored at Gardner Bay, in front of a beautiful sandy beach. While one group of guest went to do deep water snorkeling around Gardner Islet, other group went to the beach. A big group of Galapagos sea lions and the Española mockingbird welcomed us.

Later, we had a wonderful Ecuadorian lunch. Lunch included a great variety of traditional meals from the coast and the Andes of this beautiful country, including ceviche, yapingachos, suckling pig and alfajores.

In the afternoon, we set foot on Punta Suarez, a paradise to observe sea birds. As we walked along the trail, we spotted a few waved albatrosses, endemic to Espanola. These are the first adults that arrived to this island to reproduce this year. We also observed several nests and chicks of the Nazca booby, one of the three species of boobies that breed in the Galapagos.

Española is also home of the Christmas marine iguana, one of the seven sub species of marine iguanas that exist in the Archipelago. Female marine iguanas were very active, digging their nests on open areas free of vegetation. We were able to witness several fights between females that were competing for space to dig their nests. Finally, the sunset at 6 pm and that was a perfect way to finish a wonderful day.

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About the Author

Luis Vinueza


Luis arrived in the Galápagos Islands for the first time when he was 11 years old in 1983, and from that time on he knew that Galápagos would one day be his home. He returned to the islands in 1995 and spent 14 months camping in a tent. Seven of those months were spent on Española Island, studying the relationship of reproductive success and mate retention of Nazca boobies. In 1997, he started working for the marine lab at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) on different fields including diving surveys to assess the patterns of marine biodiversity around the Galápagos Marine Reserve. His research included counting lobsters and sea cucumbers and participating as an advisor for CDRS during the negotiation process that led to the 1998 creation of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. 

About the Videographer

Julio Rodriguez

Video Chronicler

Born and raised in Ecuador, the son of Spanish and American parents, Julio developed a passion for storytelling and environmental conservation at an early age. After majoring in History at Carleton College (Minnesota), with a thesis on the Basque anti-Franco movement, he taught English in Spain and made short promotional films for an energy efficiency company in India and two environmental conservation NGOs in Greece and Galapagos. 

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