Española Island

Jul 15, 2019 - National Geographic Islander


This was our first full day of exploration on the islands. Española is the oldest Galapagos island and has many things to see.

We began with a morning visit to a beautiful white sand beach, home to many sea lions and seabirds. For some, it was a great opportunity to practice their snorkeling skills as the waters here are shallow. For the more experienced, a different area offered deeper water for more underwater life encounters. Sea lions greeted us curiously and give us an amazing acrobatic show. Although they are the stars other wildlife is no less important, their shapes, colors, and rarity all called our attention.

In the afternoon, we navigated to another point on the same island called Punta Suarez. Crabs painted the rocks with their intense red-orange color. Our welcome party consisted of spectacular marine iguanas in large groups basking in the sun, sea lions on their fishing breaks lying on the sand, and birds of all kinds. We observed Nazca boobies, nocturnal swallow-tailed gulls, the majestic Galapagos hawk, mockingbirds, and more. The largest bird flying the Galapagos is the waved albatross which is currently in its seasonal nesting period. We spotted them almost everywhere, some with their chicks, others still sitting on eggs. It was a great day on Española island.

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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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