San Cristobal Island

Mar 07, 2020 - National Geographic Islander


On this, the last exploration around the Galapagos Island, we spent the entirety of our day at San Cristobal, also known by its English name, Chatam. San Cristobal is the administrative capital of the Galapagos Islands with about eight thousand inhabitants; however, most of the land and marine mass are considered a National Park. Our first visit on San Cristobal was Punta Pitt. We arrived this morning on a nice beach with golden and greenish colors. Punta Pitt is a beautiful tuff cone point where red and blue-footed boobies nest. As soon as we reached its peak we saw many blue-footed booby nests. Some were engaging in a beautiful courtship dance in which the main purpose is to show their bright turquoise feet to their mate as a sign of being healthy, and thus, able to raise healthy chicks. Further inland, we found a male blue-footed booby getting ready to incubate an egg. Blue-footed boobies, unlike Nazca and red-footed boobies lay two, three and at times (albeit few), even four eggs. They will try to raise all chicks that hatch from the eggs.

At the end of our path near a cliff, we spotted a few red-footed boobies, all our guests were very happy because our mission was accomplished. The day was very sunny and hot, so it was a good moment to return to the beach and cool off in the turquoise water of the bay. Snorkeling was superb, and the highlight was playing with a group of juvenile sea lions. We had such a great time at the beach that no one wanted to come out of the water. After resting and lunch, we navigated to the west of San Cristobal, when suddenly we had torrential rain cover the sky, pouring for two hours. This was our first time experiencing rain in this expedition – and its rainy season!

The afternoon took us to Cerro Brujo, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos Islands and probably the world. Cerro Brujo is a white sand beach bathed by crystalline water, where large schools of sardines swim around, as numerous blue-footed boobies dive in to feed on them.

Luckily, the moment we disembarked to explore the visitor site the rain stopped, and the sun started to warm the afternoon. We walked along the beach which was covered by several colonies of sea lions. The highlight of the day (and the whole week) were everyone’s favorite – sea lion pups! As we explored the tide pools, sea lion pups approached us, curious and playful.

A beautiful last sunset in the Galapagos Islands, the view of a brown pelican, diving blue-footed boobies, and Kicker Rock in the background. Our guests might be leaving the Galapagos, but these memories will never leave them!

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About the Author

Christian Saa

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Christian was born on the island of Isabela in the Galápagos archipelago. He grew up on a farm and had a magical childhood devoid of cars, electricity, telephones—just pure nature and playful sea lions along the beach. At the age of seven, he moved with his family to Santa Cruz Island, the economic hub of the Galápagos Islands. His father began to work in tourism and took Christian around the islands during school vacations. It was during this time that Christian learned to love and understand the real value of this unique archipelago, and he decided to devote his life to its stewardship. A lifelong passion for nature and its creatures took root in his heart, and he eventually decided to become a naturalist, which he has now been doing for 18 years now.

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