Isabela Island

Jan 08, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Today we started our new full day with several combinations of activities centered around of one of the most beautiful places in Galapagos, Isabela.  Our adventure started this morning at Urbina Bay, located on the west coast of a very incredible volcano known as Alcedo, which is home to one of the biggest colonies of giant tortoises. Urbina Bay is an inorganic black beach that serves as a nesting site for green pacific sea turtles and is a great place to spot our world famous land iguanas and Galapagos giant tortoises.

Isabela is one of the youngest islands, and one of the most bio-diverse of them all.  As soon as we landed on Urbina Bay, we saw several tracks of sea turtles that came to the beach the night before to lay their eggs.  After putting our shoes on, we started our adventure inland, in search of wildlife.

After strolling past the beach and into the heart of Urbina Bay, we quickly started observing land iguanas, unique to this area of the Galapagos, Darwin’s finches, lava lizards, yellow warblers, Galapagos hawks and two small and big giant tortoises endemic to this specific island.  After the walk, our guests had the opportunity to go swimming and snorkeling from the beach.

In the afternoon, we visited one of the places frequented by sailors, Tagus Cove, also located on Isabela Island.  At Tagus, we had all sorts of options—some went kayaking, other guests went paddle boarding along the coast, and some went snorkeling. Here you find many creatures in the water as sharks, rays and playful sea lions darting through the water around our delighted guests. Later we had an invigorating fast-paced walk to the top of one of the parasitic cones forming Tagus cove. Some guests went for a Zodiac ride to look for penguins, flightless cormorants, sea turtles and a variety of sea creatures.

The walk led us to the famous Darwin’s Lake and also to an eroded cinder cone from where we were able to see breathtaking landscapes and some young lava flows from nearby volcanoes.  Certainly, a day fully of adventure and discoveries at Galapagos, one of the most pristine places on earth.

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About the Author

Christian Saa

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Christian was born on the island of Isabela in the Galápagos archipelago. He grew up on a farm and had a magical childhood devoid of cars, electricity, telephones—just pure nature and playful sea lions along the beach. At the age of seven, he moved with his family to Santa Cruz Island, the economic hub of the Galápagos Islands. His father began to work in tourism and took Christian around the islands during school vacations. It was during this time that Christian learned to love and understand the real value of this unique archipelago, and he decided to devote his life to its stewardship. A lifelong passion for nature and its creatures took root in his heart, and he eventually decided to become a naturalist, which he has now been doing for 18 years now.

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