Bartolomé & Rábida Islands

Aug 06, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


On the second day of our trip, we took an early walk on Bartolomé, a small islet located at the east of Santiago Island. Walking on this trail is like visiting another planet! Volcanic shapes, craters, lava rocks, and some other geological features reminded us of distant places such as the moon or even Mars. Few plants and animals live here, but the landscape is so impressive that one could spend the whole day admiring all the details. Once we reached the highest point at Bartolomé, we could see one of the most emblematic landscapes of the Galápagos, Bartolomé’s pinnacle with its two beautiful beaches. We were also able to see part of James Island with its intricate black pahoehoe lava designs.

Snorkeling on the beach was a great opportunity for those who wanted to start from zero, and gradually develop their skills in the upcoming days. Some others preferred to go directly to deep-water snorkeling off the Zodiac in the waters of Bartolomé. We had an unforgettable first encounter with the marine world of the Galápagos: penguins, sharks, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, and an immense variety of coloured fish gave us a warm welcome.

Lunch today was special: the traditional Ecuadorian buffet showed us how diverse and delicious Ecuadorian food can be. Potatoes, pork, ceviche, plantain chips, corn, and many types of vegetables were the perfect combination to satisfy everyone. Soon after this, our guests enjoyed visiting the global market, where nice souvenirs and clothing with Galápagos motifs were displayed in the reception area.

Later in the afternoon, we went for a second round of water activities and a short walk around the nice red beach of Rábida Island on the southern part of Santiago, where the iron contained in the sand has oxidized due to the high temperatures during volcanic eruptions many years ago.

At night, we had our first recap about the islands, and we learned more about one of the most charismatic animals here: sea lions and the fur seals. We also learned about the unique geology of the Galápagos.    

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Gabriel Tapia

Gabriel Tapia

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