Chinese Hat

Jun 21, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


Off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island lies Sombrero Chino, or Chinese Hat. The beauty of this location is complemented by its surrounding turquoise water and wildlife. We had an early start to the day, and many guests chose to have a pre-breakfast stretch and swim on the beach of Chinese Hat. Later, after breakfast we set out on Zodiacs to look for the iconic bird of the Galapagos, the Galapagos penguin.

As we continued our expedition, we snorkeled along the coast of Santiago, just across Chinese Hat Island. The Galapagos underwater world is nutrient rich, which allows for an unexpected grouping of animals from different worlds. We spotted various species of fish, sharks, and rays, all sharing the same area with penguins. We loved it.

Before reaching our final destination, our captain slowly maneuvered the ship to an Island with a crater containing brackish water and a thriving flamingo community. We then visited Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island where an eruption in the late 1800s added new lava, making the bay grow larger. Lava flows have created the most interesting shapes found in every direction we looked. Today, plants and animals have begun colonizing the area. The ambiance of the island, and the exploration of the day has made us feel as if we are in the very genesis of the Galapagos.

&We had a great day, in great places.

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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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