Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove: Isabela Island

Apr 30, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


We woke up aboard National Geographic Endeavour ll, anchored right off the coast of Urbina bay. This is an extraordinary visitor site, where we can explore the natural habitat of the most iconic species of reptiles in the enchanted archipelago.

After a wet landing, we hiked further inland on an even terrain. We were very lucky to encounter a couple of Galapagos giant tortoises under the poison apple trees. These reptiles were very active, some eating the greenery left behind by the recent rains, others walking out of the bushes to greet us on the trails. These giant tortoises belong to the population of Alcedo Volcano.

About halfway into our loop trail, we encountered several land iguanas feeding on the fruits of the poison apple trees. These endemic iguanas are located on six different islands of the Galapagos, and Isabela holds a large naturally-occurring population, which has been going through recovery phases, after the Galapagos National Park service controlled the population of invasive species of animals such feral pigs and goats.

After lunch, we navigated towards Tagus Cove! This was a place with high cliffs where passing sailors traditionally wrote the name of the visitor ships on the walls. Historical graffiti reminds us how popular this site was for navigators in search of giant tortoises as source of food. Some of us opted to go kayaking along the coast of this protected cove, while others went paddle-boarding. We also had the opportunity to go snorkeling with Pacific green sea turtles, a large variety of fish and a couple of Galapagos penguins, speeding elegantly through the water in search of fish.

We finished our day with a hike around the rim of a crater lake, through a forest of incense trees. It was an amazing day on Isabela Island.

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About the Author

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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