The Galápagos archipelago is formed by 13 larger islands, and more than 60 smaller islets and rocks. The South Equatorial Current, an ensemble of various Peruvian coastal currents mixed with the Humboldt Current, reach the islands with its cold waters and serves as a gateway for organisms to arrive in a natural way. In this southeastern region of the Galápagos, species have had more time to adapt and evolve, which explains why there is such a higher rate of endemism among plants and animals.
National Geographic Islander
Our visit to Bartholomew Island started early in the morning. The tiny island showed incredible volcanic formations, and guests aboard National Geographic Islander enjoyed the landscape photo opportunities. Starting on the dry landing and all the way to the top (374 feet), we discovered spatter cones and lava bombs. After hiking up 365 stairs, we reached the summit of the volcano. The view of Santiago Island, situated in front of Bartholomew, was breathtaking and perfect for pictures. In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to snorkel near Guy Fawkes Islets. An eroded volcano offered the perfect habitat for different species of fish and marine invertebrates. Following the water activities, we got ready for a hike at Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island. A dry landing on a rocky pier led us to a dry vegetation forest. Plenty of palo santo trees and prickly pear cacti made an ideal trail for land iguanas. Land iguanas, vegetarian reptiles of pale-yellow and brown coloration, are one of three species endemic to the islands. The iguanas are found under bushes or even in the middle of trails.