We have arrived at the center of the archipelago, where there is evidence of volcanic activity not so long ago. Both Bartolome and Sombrero Chino Islands are young, geologically speaking.

Early risers head out for a 6:30 am brisk walk to the top of Bartolome, an invigorating hike and one of the most beautiful ones. There are roughly 370 steps to the top, but we barely feel it. There is so much to see. About 1.2 million years old, the island is full of volcanic features, such as dry lava flows, tuff cones, giant spatter cones and lava tubes. At the top, we are rewarded with the iconic moonscape.

After a well-deserved breakfast, we land at a golden beach with clear waters. The weather conditions were perfect for snorkeling, although some guests opted for relaxing on the beach, or going on glass-bottom boat rides. Later, some intrepid guests went deep-water snorkeling, finding sharks and penguins in the water. An incredible experience!

In the afternoon, we dropped anchor at Sombrero Chino Island, a geologist’s dream. One of the largest spatter cones in the world, it sits off the eastern coast of Santiago Island. Here, we organized deep-water snorkeling trips and Zodiac rides. The flora and fauna of the area is well adapted for life on a desolated lava field. Once again, the Galapagos demonstrates that even in the most extreme habitats species can thrive. Some of the highlights in our visits were Galapagos penguins and sea lions, as well as big schools of yellow-tailed razor fish.