Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido)
This vertical rock off the northwest coast of San Cristobal juts up approximately 500 feet straight out of the water. As you approach from San Cristobal it will have the appearance of a boot, giving it the name “Kicker Rock”. As you get closer and cruise around towards the north face, you will have the opportunity to spot blue footed boobies, masked boobies and magnificent frigate birds.
Genovesa (Tower Island)
Located in the far north east of the archipelago, Genovesa is home to some of the most spectacular bird watching in the Galapagos. Most visits include a stop at Prince Philips steps and Darwin Bay. Both locations are superb for viewing the abundance of birdlife, including swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, frigate birds and tropic birds. At times the sky seems filled with birds. You will also see Red Footed Boobies which, like the frigate bird, nest in the branches of the low lying shrubs. (Breeding Season is from September to July.) Aside from birdlife, Genovesa is also a great place for snorkeling. With small cliffs lining the bay, there is a diverse array of sea life that lives around these rocky outcroppings as well as on the sandy bottom.
Fernandina is the westernmost island in the Galapagos, located just a short distance from Isabela. One of the youngest islands in the Galapagos, Fernadina remains one of the most highly active volcanic islands, with its main crater approximately 6.5 kilometers wide. Due to its young age and lack of precipitation, it does not have the rich flora that other islands such as Santa Cruz or San Cristobal do. This allows only a certain group of animals to thrive here, most notably the flightless cormorant. Punta Espinoza is the main area of visit, offering great contrast between the green mangroves, black lava flows, and turquoise waters. The island is also home to the largest colony of sea iguanas in the Galapagos.
Formed by joining of six lava flows, Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos. Located on the western side of the archipelago Isabela stretches approximately 100 kilometers north to south.
On its western coast you will find Tagus Cove and Urvina Bay, popular destination for cruises that make the journey to Fernandina and the west coast of Isabela. On a short walk around Tagus Cove, past walls scrawled with graffiti dating back to the 1800’s, you’ll enjoy views of a saltwater lagoon named Darwin Lake. Throughout this hike you are sure to see several different kinds of finches, including the woodpecker finch. Once you reach the summit of this hike, you will also be able to see both Darwin and Wolf Volcano. A short boat ride along the cliffs of Tagus Cove also reveals Galapagos Penguins, flightless cormorants, blue footed boobies and marine iguanas.
Urbina Bay is located south of Tagus Cove on the western coast of Isabela and is largely known for a 5 kilometer section that was uplifted some 4 meters in a geological event in 1954, leaving sea life stranded above the ocean. From Urbina Bay you will also have the chance to cruise through large Mangroves as well as search for Giant Tortoises.
Santiago is located in the heart of the Archipelago. On the western side of Santiago the two main sites include Puerto Egas and James Bay. Puerto Egas was once an area of salt mining, although in current times it is known more for the 30-40 thousand fur seals that make their home here and the inter-tidal pools that support a large variety of sea life. The black sand beach of Puerto Egas also serves as a great place to snorkel, with good chances to swim with sea lions and sea turtles.
Bartolome is where you will find the iconic Pinnacle Rock, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Galapagos. A visit to Bartolome will include a hike up a series of stairs to a lookout point that peers across a martian landscape towards Pinnacle Rock. At the base of this rock you will find beautiful white sand beaches with sea lions and Galapagos Penguins. The south side of this island is where sea turtles will come to lay their eggs from January to March.