Once known as James Island, Santiago is renowned for its unique wildlife and scenic beauty. It is home to a diverse range of endemic species, including Galapagos marine iguanas, Galapagos land iguanas, fur seals, and Galapagos hawks. The island's unique flora includes several species of cacti and the endemic Palo Santo tree.
Today, we followed in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, who famously visited Santiago Island in 1835. Darwin and some crew members of the HMS Beagle camped here for a week. While on the island, Darwin studied Galapagos marine and land iguanas, collected finches, mockingbirds, insects, and plants.
Darwin noticed that Galapagos wildlife was strangely unafraid to humans, something we also experienced as we explored the stunning landscape through a variety of outings that included kayaking, snorkeling, swimming off the beach and hiking. As a protected area, visitors must follow guidelines to ensure the conservation of the island's fragile ecosystem.