Urbina Bay & Tagus Cove, Isabela Island

Jul 11, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today we explored the central-south realm of Isabela Island. In the morning, we went to Urbina Bay, and in the afternoon, we went to Tagus Cove. We started this morning with a wet landing on a volcanic sandy beach; from there we started to walk. Some of our guests took a long hike, while others opted for a shorter walk.  

As we landed, we noticed the presence of green sea turtle nests right on the shore. We also observed several sea turtles swimming in the bay. One of the highlights of this place were the numerous nests of brown pelicans. This was my first time seeing the nest there.

We walked through a thick forest of Galapagos cotton, yellow cordias, and palo santo trees; along the path, we were surprised to find several Galapagos giant tortoises. Most were large males, and while some were sleeping, a particularly friendly one was feeding on the yellow flowers of the cordia and Galapagos cotton. We sat down for a couple minutes and saw this tortoise enjoying a good meal of yellow flowers and fruits.

Later that morning when everyone ended the walk on the beach, some of our guests took a refreshing swim on the shore. The water in the bay was nice and warm. Around us, we had a thick fog that originated from the Sierra Negra’s volcanic eruption.

By lunchtime we moved towards Tagus Cove. We had different activities: some of our guests went for kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding along the cliffs of the cove. This was a popular place for whalers that were looking for tortoises and fresh water. During the rainy season, one can find small quantities of fresh water in small creeks along the coast.

At the end of the afternoon, we had a great opportunity to go on a Zodiac ride along the coast. Here, we had a chance to see Galapagos penguins fishing, brown pelicans nesting, and many juvenile green sea turtles swimming.

We ended the day with a great sunset surrounded by gorgeous volcanoes.

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About the Author

Gilda Gonzalez


Gilda was born in Ambato, located in the very heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. Since she was a child, she loved animals, often rescuing street cats and dogs. Her parents always made sure there were nature books and plenty of Jacques Cousteau’s videos at home. She graduated from high school with a degree in chemistry and biology. Afterwards, Gilda obtained a B.A. in tourism and hotel management in Quito. She also studied English, French and German, later spending two months in Brussels, Belgium.

About the Videographer

Steve Ewing

Video Chronicler

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Steve fell in love with the beauty of the natural world at an early age. In addition to nature, his other main passion was telling stories though the medium of television and radio. Steve studied broadcast journalism at the University of Oregon. There, he learned how to shoot, edit, and report compelling stories using digital video.

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