San Cristobal

Jul 13, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


We woke up on the easternmost point of the Galapagos Islands in Punta Pitt and marveled at the phenomenal volcanic landscape. Our landing beach contained sea lions and ash colored sand due to volcanic activity and erosion.

This island is the only location containing all three species of boobies. We easily saw blue-footed boobies nesting with their chicks who are now large enough to move around. The trees and bushes housed nesting red-footed boobies. These are the only nest builders of the three booby species. Along the shore we observed the larger Nazca boobies with their black and white coats blending in with the black lava and their own guano. The red vegetation growing from the ash gives this place a strikingly beautiful contrast.

We returned to the beach to enjoy some water activities and encountered friendly sea lions. Our guests were happy to see these amazingly agile swimmers put on show with their twirls and sharp turns almost touching you nose to nose. Later, we navigated some two hours to another beautiful location on the island called Cerro Brujo. This long white sand beach was an ideal place to enjoy a nature walk, take a dip in warm turquoise waters, or capture up-close photographs of sea lions. The day ended with a fantastic sunset as we celebrated life in paradise.

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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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