Bartholomew and Rabida Islands

Jan 21, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


Before I get into today’s highlights, I first want to share that after the overcast skies of last night cleared, we had a sky absolutely loaded with stars, and not a cloud in sight. Things got even better when our full moon advanced into a Blood Moon.

Despite the late night, however, most guests were up and ready in the early morning to tackle the heights of Bartholomew Island. An ascent of more than 360+ steps takes you to the top of a dramatic tuff cone with perhaps the most iconic and renown vista of the archipelago. Following the hike, we boarded Zodiacs, gliding along (but not too near) the jagged lava coast of the island. Peering up from the base of Pinnacle Rock, we saw blue-footed boobies perched there, brown pelicans, then green marine turtles below and alongside!

Deep-water snorkeling was a charm, with the warm, light pacific current ebbing our watercrafts along Bartholomew’s shore. While aboard the crafts, we were lucky enough to observe white-tipped reef sharks, angelfish, surgeonfish, sea stars, and sea lions!

I must mention lunch as well. National Geographic Islander’s galley went all out today with traditional Ecuadorian fare—and of course a siesta was necessary afterward.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent at Rabida Island, giving guests opportunity for more snorkeling, where they got the full treatment: Green marine turtles, a lush array of fish, and even a mobula ray!

A late afternoon stroll across the red sands of Rabida Island was a perfect way to conclude the day’s adventures. Sea lions lounging on ruby-red sand is a sight not many can claim to have seen, and Rabida is the only island in this archipelago that offers such rich visual experiences.

On we go!

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About the Author

Cindy Manning

Expedition Leader

Born in Lima, Peru, of North American parents, Cindy and her family subsequently lived in several South American and European countries with a couple stops in Peoria, Illinois. Cindy received a degree in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Afterwards, Cindy spent a year and a half teaching science in the Western Province of Kenya, East Africa. 

About the Photographer

Jonathan Aguas

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jonathan was born into one of only a handful of families that reaches back five generations in Galápagos, in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. He first left the islands when he won a highly-coveted scholarship to finish his studies in the U.S.  This was the start of his life-long passion for science and languages. He earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from the University of Florida and later spent time in Europe, where he learned French. He is now fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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