Isabela Island

Apr 16, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Named after Queen Isabel, this island is the largest in the Galapagos Archipelago. It is made up of volcanos, which are still very active, erupting as recently as last year. Urbina Bay is our landing site, with a black sand beach where turtles annually lay their eggs. The area is vast and heavily vegetated due to its rich volcanic soil, producing many sources of food, safety, and nesting sites for birds. It also creates areas of shade and nesting sites for reptiles like giant tortoises and land iguanas. During our outing, we saw a variety of land birds, as well as a several tortoises and land iguanas.

After an eventful hike full of wildlife sightings, our last stop was the beach where we had the chance to take a dip to cool off, or to explore the rich underwater life in this area. The turtles and penguins were especially entertaining.

The afternoon was no less exciting, with many options available, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and Zodiac cruising. Later, we went snorkeling in search of penguins, flightless cormorants, turtles, and many varieties of fish.

To continue with the expedition, we went for an invigorating hike to view Darwin Lake. This walk offers many chances to see wildlife, including sea birds, marine mammals, fish and more. Some went for a Zodiac ride, where they had excellent sightings of penguins, cormorants, pelican, boobies and more.

It was a fantastic day of exploration, and we all returned to National Geographic Endeavour II with smiles on our faces.

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About the Author

Patricio Maldonado

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Patricio, better known as Pato amongst his friends, was born in the Galápagos Island. His family moved to the islands from the mainland and settled on the island of Santa Cruz over thirty-five years ago. Pato had an enchanted childhood in the islands, where his keen interest in the wildlife of the Galápagos was born initially through catching lizards and observing how they lost their tails. His experiences in the islands have led him to teach visitors about the need to protect this rare and unique environment.

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