Today, our Galapagos Exploration took us to the center of the Archipelago. Bartolome Island was our first destination, and the best way to begin our journey was a pre-breakfast hike, all the way to the top of the island. After a comfortable dry landing, we started our way up the steps in order to reach the highest point of the trail. As we ascended, we witnessed a combination of volcanic structures that made the landscape truly stunning.
Pioneer plants such as tiquilia, and lava cactus were found scattered over the lava rocks, like a natural decoration. The true magnificence of the place was apparent once we reached the highest point of the trail: from this vantage point, we could see dozens of spatter cones on one side of the island, contrasted with the deep blue sea on the other side, and at the center of all this, the impressive Pinnacle Rock with the isthmus of Bartolome left us awe-inspired.
Once back onboard the National Geographic Islander, we got everything ready for the next chapter of exploration: snorkeling activity. As soon as we entered the water, the marvels of the Galapagos Marine Reserve were displayed to us. Blue-chin parrotfish, razor surgeonfish, and Galapagos sea lions were some of the highlights seen during our excursion.
In the afternoon, we traveled on to explore one of the jewels of the crown, Rabida Island. Our first activity at this marvelous site was deep water snorkeling. Sightings of blacktip cardinalfish, pacific green sea turtles, and feeding marine iguanas made this an exciting underwater adventure. The final activity of the day was a walk along the shoreline of a marvelous red sand beach, which was naturally decorated by green saltbushes. The presence of a Galapagos hawk, and Galapagos mockingbirds made for an excellent photo opportunity. Finally, the sun setting behind the horizon was the indicator that our journey continues tomorrow at the living paradise of the Galapagos Islands.