San Cristobal Island

Jul 14, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


San Cristobal Island is one of the oldest islands in the Galápagos. The age can be seen on the old rocks that we find around and the amount of erosion on the landscapes and cliffs on shore. Punta Pitt is a clear example of an old region, with eroded volcanic ash formations. This region is home to different types of birds such as blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies and red footed boobies!   

This island is mostly made of basaltic rock, as well with large extensions of dry forests. Some of these leafless trees are used by sea birds for nesting purposes. Red-footed boobies and frigate birds nest in trees and they have babies at this time of the year. Swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca boobies and storm petrels nest on the ground and in some cases may form vast colonies. This morning we explored this part of San Cristobal Island and some of us went for a hike in search of the red-footed boobies that nest on the hills. There was also the option of exploring the shore and some off-shore islets from a Zodiac, and eventually we all ended on the beach. Here, we explored the snorkeling site and it was a beautiful opportunity to swim with Galápagos sea lions.

In the afternoon we landed at Cerro Brujo Beach for more exploration and for a relaxed walk along a sea lion’s colony. This beach is made of white sand and dotted with sea lions of all ages. The calm shallow waters are usually foraging ground for blue-footed boobies and pelicans. They delighted us with a show of their fishing skills! It has been an amazing trip with so many sightings and exciting experiences, and visiting this beach is the best way to end it!

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About the Author

Juan Carlos Avila

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Juan Carlos was born in Quito, Ecuador. He spent part of his elementary schooling in the province of Cotopaxi, a beautiful area in the Ecuadorian Andes ringed by volcanoes. In 1989 his family moved to the Galápagos and settled in the highlands of Santa Cruz, the second largest island in this archipelago. It was here that Juan Carlos finished high school and gained his deep love for nature.

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