Galapagos Marine Reserve
Arguably, the most impressive aspect of the Galapagos lies under
the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Within its rich and fertile waters,
bathed by numerous currents, the Galapagos Marine Reserve is home
to a plethora of species of sharks, whales, turtles and other exotic
fish. And of course the playful sea lions are always nearby to entertain
you with their antics. So practice your scuba diving skills as the
Galapagos is not for the weak of stomach or the uninitiated.
That said, the land aspect of the Galapagos is still
quite impressive and alone worth the visit. Besides the fascinating
and unique flora and fauna are the incredible other worldly vistas
of volcanic islands and the quasi-religious sense of walking in Darwin's
footsteps. Among the standout sites are:
Black Turtle Cove
This is found to the Northeast of Santa Cruz Island and is
the second largest island in the Archipelago. It has many areas of
mangroves and is one of the most important areas for the reproduction
of marine and bird species.
You can see the sea turtles copulating from the end of November to
May. White and black finned sharks are commonly seen; frigates, pelicans
and blue-footed boobies generally feed in this site. Finches, cuckoos
and lava herons nest in the mangroves. There are three of the four
types of mangroves that are endemic to the Islands, and they form
true forests with multiple entrances and exits where noise from motors
is not allowed, you paddle here.
La Punta Cormorant
To the north, on the Island of Santa Maria or Floreana, is
the Cormorant Point that has an extension of 173 mt 2 and is 640 meters
above sea level. It is an area with volcanic cones. Its landing point
is a beautiful green beach, produced by the erosion of the lava combined
with the sea salt that crashes against the coast. It is an excellent
place for the crabs and sea lions on the coast, it is also good for
To the interior of the island, there is a lake that is fed by the
tides. Here you can see flamingos, royal terns, ducks, migrating birds
and beautiful vegetation with a high tolerance of salt. If you follow
the trail, after 10 minutes of walking - to the south of the lake
- is a beautiful white beach with very fine sand. This is a site for
feeding for rays and a nesting site for turtles, swimming is not allowed.
This is located on Española Island which is found
to the south of the Archipelago and covers an area of 60 km2 and has
an altitude of 206 m above sea level.
Here you can see a large number of sea lions. The first impression
of the Island will be how the animals live in complete peace and harmony
between species: marine iguanas, gulls, blue-footed boobies, crabs,
On the trail, you can see boobies on their nests with eggs or young,
also marine iguanas in the act of mating. You can also observe masked
boobies, whose nesting area is differentiated from the blue-footed
boobies. There are also tropic birds in their caves, crabs with beautiful
colors that cover the black lava; multi-colored swallow-tailed gulls.
There is also the "Blow Hole" which expels water up to 25 meters above
the sea when the waves are big and it is high tide. There are also
albatross, whose colony has some 15,000 pairs, this species nests
from April to November.
Located to the northeast on Española Island, Gardener Bay is
one of the most peaceful beaches in the world. Its sand is white and
fine and the water has soft waves with a gradual depth. Gardener Bay
is an excellent place for swimming with sea lions, walking on the
beaches and admiring the cuckoos, finches, sea turtle nests and almost
always the Galapagos hawk, whose territory is found here. It is an
area with small islets where you can snorkel.