Isla Española Travel Guide

  • Marine iguanas
    Marine iguanas
    by toonsarah
  • Sea Lions at Punta Suarez
    Sea Lions at Punta Suarez
    by MalenaN
    by DennyP

Isla Española Things to Do

  • Gardner Bay

    Gardner Bay is one of the few places where it is permitted for visitors to wander without the close attendance of a guide, so once we had landed here Fabian left us largely to our own devices. We walked along the beach near the water’s edge, where a large number of Galápagos sea lions had congregated. Several of the females had babies, mostly...

  • Punta Suarez: around the beach

    The trail here is very different from the visitor site at Gardner Bay, being three kilometres n length and rated difficult. It was certainly the hardest of the week’s trails for me, being very rocky for much of its length and testing my dodgy knee to the full, and was tiring for several of the others I think, but we all agreed it was more than...

  • Punta Suarez: on the trail

    With a troublesome knee, I found this trail to be the most challenging of any on the islands, both for its length and its rockiness. It was almost like walking on stepping stones in places, moving from one lava boulder to the next along the route. But it led us to some amazing sights! Near the start of the path we got some good photos of a couple...

  • Punta Suarez: on the cliffs

    The trail here crosses a spit of land and brings you out on the cliffs. We had a lengthy pause when we first arrived at this point, sitting and watching the albatross and frigates flying past us and the waves crashing on the rocks below. To see an albatross in flight is a breath-taking sight indeed. I have written more about these awe-inspiring...

  • Gardener Bay

    Gardener Bay is situated on the northeast side of Isla Española and here there is a beautiful long white sandy beach and turquoise water. We visited the beach at Gardener Bay on the 4th day of the cruise with Cachalote. After breakfast we took the panga to go ashore and by the beach there is a wet landing.There is no trail at Gardener Bay but you...

  • Punta Suárez

    To visit Punta Suárez on Isla Española was definitely a highlight on the Galapagos cruise with M/S Cachalote, because of its abundant wildlife and breeding colonies of Waved Albatrosses (their only breeding site), Blue-footed Boobies and Nazca Boobies. There is a dry landing at a jetty where a trail of 1670m begins. It took us three hours to walk...

  • Snorkelling near Gardner Bay

    After visiting the beach at Gardner Bay we went back to Cachalote for a quick change and then went to the panga again to go snorkelling at a small rocky island just off the coast. As we were all eager to see sharks, especially Hammer Head Sharks we first tried to snorkel on the rougher side of the island, but we soon had to abandon that side to go...

  • Waved Albatross

    The only place the Waved Albatrosses (Diomedea irrorata) breed is at Punta Suarez on Isla Española. They are the largest seabirds present in the Galapagos Islands and they look both funny and beautiful. I was very happy to see their courtship display while visiting Punta Suárez. It was an amazing thing to see. During the breeding season in April -...

  • Nazca Boobies

    The Nazca Booby (Sula granti) used to be seen as a subspecies of the Masked Booby, but it is now known that it is a species of its own. In Galapagos Islands the Nazca Boobies are quite common with a population of between 25 000 - 50 000 pairs, spread out in different colonies. With a length of 81-92cm the Nazca Boobies are the largest of the three...

  • Frigatebirds

    There are two species of frigatebirds in the Galapagos Islands, the Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) and the Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor). There are about 1000 pairs of the Magnificent Frigatebird spread in 12 colonies, and a few thousand pairs of the Great Frigatebird, also in 12 colonies.The frigatebirds are large seabirds with...

  • Marine Iguanas

    One of the highlights of Galapagos Islands is to see the amazing Marine Iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus). They are endemic to the islands and they are also the only lizards in the word that swim in the sea. The Marine Iguanas spend most of their time on land, but they feed on algae and seaweed. There are seven subspecies of Marine Iguanas in the...

  • Swallow-tailed Gull

    The Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus) is endemic to Galapagos Islands, well almost endemic, as there is a small colony on the Colombian island Malpelo too. The population of Swallow-tailed Gull in the Galapagos Islands consists of 10000 - 15000 pairs, spread in 50 breeding colonies throughout the islands (but not on Fernandina and the west...

  • Blue-footed Booby

    The Blue-footed Boobies are funny looking birds, but also amazing with their bright blue feet and their special mating ritual. The Blue-footed Booby on Galapagos Islands is an endemic subspecies (Sula nebouxii excisa) and it is a common, with around 10 000 pairs.As the name indicate the Blue-footed Boobies have bright blue webbed feet. The bill is...

  • Snakes in the Galapagos Islands

    There are three species of snakes in the Galapagos Islands and they are all endemic (and there is also one species of water snake). Two of the snakes have three subspecies and one of the snakes have two subspecies. The snakes are the Floreana/Española/San Cristóbal Snake, the Galapagos/Fernandina/Isabela Snake and the Slevin’s/Steindachner’s...

  • Darwin Finches

    There are 13 species of Darwin Finches in Galapagos Islands, and they are all endemic. The Finches are famous because the role they played in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution . When Charles Darwin visited Galapagos Islands in 1835 during his voyage with the Beagle he didn’t pay much attention to the finches, but more to the Mockingbirds which...

  • Galapagos Sea Lion

    The Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus wollebaeki) is an endemic subspecies. It is common, and there is a population of about 50 000 Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands. They can be seen in many places near the shores, on beaches, on the rocks or even in the towns (for example on a porch in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and at the Fish Market in...

  • Sally Lightfoot Crab

    The beautiful Sally Lightfoot crabs (Grapsus grapsus) can be seen all over the shores of the Galapagos Islands. With its bright orange colour it stands out from the black lava rocks where you often see them. The young ones are dark in colour though, and this make them well camouflaged on the rocks. The adult crabs can be as big as 20cm. Sally...

  • Mockingbirds

    When Charles Darwin visited Galapagos Islands in 1835 he noticed that the Mockingbirds looked a bit different on different islands, and that is something that influenced his thoughts of evolution. There are four different species of Mockingbirds and they are all endemic. One is the Charles (Floreana) Mockingbird an endangered species that can only...

  • Galapagos Hawk

    The Galapagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis) is endemic to Galapagos Islands. There it can be seen on most island but mostly on Isla Española, Isla Santa Fe, Santiago and Isla Fernandina, and it can be found both in the lowlands and in the highlands.Adult females and males look the same, but the females are larger than the males. The plumage is dark...

  • Lava Lizards

    Lava Lizards are endemic to the Galapagos Islands and there are seven different species. The Galapagos Lava Lizard (Microlophus Albemarlensis) can be seen on several islands, and then there are the Española Lava Lizard, Floreana Lava Lizard, Marchena Lava Lizard, Pinta Lava Lizard, Pinzón Lava Lizard and the San Cristóbal Lava Lizard. There is...


    Loooking back on my visit through these Islands I sometimes find it hard to remember when writing what animals and birds wrer located where!!! The Islands here are so diversdified with birds and wildlife. I found the majority of these Island have very little vegitation or shade so to be out in the sun all day can be aproblem. But one thing that I...


Isla Española Transportation

  • Landing at Gardner Bay

    Española is one of the more remote islands, and the crossing here from Santa Cruz took all night, but passed without incident as far as we were concerned. The swell was not too bad and neither of us felt any adverse effects. We awoke when the anchor went down off the white sand of Gardner Bay.We landed twice on the island – well, in fact I landed...

  • Landing at Punta Suarez

    While we ate our usual delicious lunch on board the Angelito that day, the boat was sailing around Española to the western tip of the island, Punta Suarez. Fabian allowed time for a “siesta” (which for me meant catching up with my journal as there was a lot to record after our interesting morning). But soon we were back in the pangas and heading...

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Isla Española Sports & Outdoors

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    by toonsarah Written Dec 22, 2012

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After spending the first part of the morning on the beach at Gardner Bay we later went snorkelling here, jumping off a panga near a rock a little off-shore and swimming from there either to the boat or to the beach. I chose the latter, thinking I would encounter sea lions there, but that was to prove a bit of a disappointment as they were mostly very close to the edge where it was both too murky and too shallow to snorkel.

    But before that I did enjoy the sight of a Sea turtle at the start of my swim – the closest look I had at one so far on the trip, and the closest I was to get at all under water! Unfortunately though, I missed seeing the stingrays that some of the others spotted, as they had swum closer to the rock than I did.

    After a while I started to swim towards the beach – a longish swim for me but I fancied the exercise and as I said was hoping to encounter some sea lions on the way as we had seen so many coming and going from the water when on the beach earlier. One did come past as I swam but didn’t hang around. Once I reached the shallower water it became pretty cloudy, as the fine sand was stirred up by the waves breaking on the shore, so if any sea lions had been near I wouldn’t have necessarily seen them! But once I arrived on the beach I waded ashore, pulled off my flippers, and then went back into the shallows to enjoy relaxing there – and there I did get a bit closer to a few of these super-friendly animals (see photo three – you can see the rock I had swum from in the background and the Angelito on the very far right).

    That was a nice end to my swim, but I couldn’t linger for long, as the panga arrived to take me and a few other beach-goers back to join those who had remained on the Angelito (including Chris) and those who had swum there from the rock. It was time for lunch and after lunch, a second landing on Española at Punta Suarez.

    Sea turtle Sea turtle Gardner Bay
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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Isla Española Favorites

  • A very persistent sea lion pup!

    The sands of Gardner Bay were dotted with Galápagos sea lions all along their length, as far as the eye could see. These were a mix of females and pups, as this is a favourite nursery site, and the pups ranged in age from almost newborn to almost full-size. I was intrigued by the buzz of activity here, as were we all, and I’ve put together a video...

  • Waved albatrosses on Española

    If you can possibly plan your trip to include the breeding season of the waved albatrosses (late March to December), do – seeing these awe-inspiring birds was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. I'm so glad we went at the right time of year to see the albatross. When we originally planned to visit the Galapagos it was to have been in a...

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