Santiago Islands

Apr 18, 2019 - National Geographic Islander

Today we woke up anchored in Buccaneer’s Bay at Santiago Island. We started our morning with a stretching session at Espumilla beach, beautiful sunrise, followed by a photo walk, and kayaking for those wanting to get out on the water.

Santiago Island is just the perfect place to talk about the human history of the islands, as it was heavily visited during the 17th and 18th centuries by the English pirates and buccaneers navigating the Pacific at that time. Galapagos was the closest one could come to a convenience store at that time. Sailors would come ashore to fill their barrels with fresh water and stock up on giant tortoises. Fun fact: Giant tortoises can live without food or water for more than a year! This made them an ideal source for fresh meat and eventually became very popular among the sailors.

We had an amazing snorkeling session that morning, allowing us to see a wonderful assortment of fish, sharks, sea lions, and fur seals. In the afternoon, we had a relaxing shore walk at Puerto Egas, which supported a small salt mining community as recent as the 1960s!

We were able to admire a captivating sunset, marine iguanas feeding in the intertidal zone, sea lions playing on grottos, fur seals sleeping on the rocks, and many marine shore birds. What a great day!

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About the Author

Roberta Schiess


Born and raised in the Galápagos, Roberta Schiess Bahamonde’s grandparents were among the first permanent inhabitants of Santa Cruz Island, arriving from Switzerland in the 1940s. Her mother is also a naturalist guide in the Galápagos, so this is a profession she has been exposed to her whole life, and she often accompanied her mom as she guided visitors. 

About the Photographer

José Guerrero

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

José Guerrero Vela is an Ecuadorian permanent resident of the Galapagos. His mother was born in the islands and his grandfather was one of the first generation of teachers in the Galapagos, which has always inspired him to promote education as the main path to protect the archipelago.

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