The islands look quite inhospitable from a distance. Darwin made that mistake on his first sighting of shore. However, as you get closer, you can see the seabirds soaring above the cliffs, catching the updrafts. Once on land, you see the life forms between rocks, on the tops of bushes, sleeping with heads hidden. North Seymour has the unique distinction of providing adequate habitats for both species of frigatebirds found in the archipelago. It’s an uplifted block of lava that once flowed from the volcano of Santa Cruz, millennia ago.

Rabida, with its brilliant red cliffs and beach, stands out even among the other unique landscapes of Galapagos. Hilly and volcanic, Rabida is a southern cinder cone of iron-rich material, eroded and laid down as one of the most unusual beaches in the world. We enjoyed our first snorkeling opportunity! And a sunset walk! And a hidden lagoon behind the salt bushes!