San Cristobal Island

Jun 15, 2018 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we had a wonderful day on San Cristobal Island. After breakfast, we hiked to the top of a cinder cone at Punta Pitt, a place where red-footed boobies nest and fly along the cliffs. We enjoyed the spectacular and breathtaking landscape, and the birds flying right in front of our eyes. The geology of this visitor site is amazing, the visible erosion of the island reveals that it is very old; estimated at about 5 million years old. We climb up, finding many types of unique animals along the trail, such as the San Cristobal mockingbirds, one of the four species found in Galapagos; Blue-footed boobies were nesting along the path, surrounded by the bright colored vegetation. At the end of the walk, our highlight was an endemic snake that jumped on a lava lizard to eat it! We spent ten minutes watching this unique National Geographic moment, as the lizard was devoured by the hungry snake. After this invigorating hike, we returned to the landing beach to swim and lounge on the sand, along with several Galapagos sea lions.

One of the most interesting sightings of the morning was the marine iguanas of Punta Pitt. They have been recently discovered to be unique among all of the Galapagos marine iguanas, and for being genetically ancestral to all the other marine iguanas of the archipelago. Few remain, but we were able to see several of them – ready to descend to the intertidal zone for feeding – amongst the red-footed boobies, who were preparing nesting materials in the low bushes and trees off the point. We also had Zodiac driving lessons for our young explorers in the late morning.  An exciting outing, to say the least!

In the afternoon, our captain motored to Cerro Brujo at the north part of San Cristobal, around 3.00 pm we disembarked on a tiny beach where some sea lions were resting. Behind the beach, there is a brackish water lagoon that is home to several species of migratory birds. After walking a few yards, we arrived to a magical place where the sand is as fine as powder and the water is a turquoise color; this place is the frosting on the cake for our trip. We enjoyed walking among sea lions and seabirds, while the young explorers went to swim and play, surrounded by nature in this quiet and pristine place.

Later we headed to circumnavigate El Leon Dormido, which is a volcanic formation made of ash know as tuff. This cone is collapsed, and right at the top of it several sea birds nest and live.

We had a great finale for a great week on board of the National Geographic Endeavour II. Our guests enjoyed a nice sunset with all kind of colors on the sky; many of them cheered for the Galapagos, for the end of the trip, and for a very pleasant trip back home.

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About the Author

Gustavo Barba

Naturalist

Born on mainland Ecuador in 1977, Gustavo was very attracted to nature from the time he was a child and he spent time learning several subjects related to the natural sciences. In 2003, he earned a degree in tourism management at Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial in Quito, and later became a certified national guide in Ecuador, having experience in the Amazon and Ecuadorian Andes since 2004.

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