Isla Fernandina Travel Guide

  • Isla Fernandina
    by MalenaN
  • Isla Fernandina
    by MalenaN
  • Isla Fernandina
    by MalenaN

Isla Fernandina Things to Do

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    by MalenaN Written Feb 23, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Isla Fernandina’s only visitor site, Punta Espinoza, is situated on the northeastern corner of the island. It is a lovely place to visit and it is definitely one of the highlights in this part of the archipelago.

    We came here in the morning on the 6th day of the cruise with Cachalote. There is a dry landing and then the trail goes over sand and lava rocks. In the beginning of the trail there are lots of small tidal pools with tube worms, small crustaceans and mollusks and more. It is easy to spend a lot of time here exploring. We continued past some mangrove vegetation over the sandy part of the trail on to lava rocks. Here and there, there were some Sea Lions lying around but what is striking is the number of Marine Iguanas. I have visited several places in the Galapagos with lots and lots of Marine Iguanas but the largest number was definitely here at Punta Espinoza. It is an amazing sight to see! We also saw several Marine Iguanas under the water when we later snorkeled. At Punta Espinoza we also saw nesting Flightless Cormorants.

    The trail continued over a lava field and here you can see formations from pahoehoe and aa lava flows. On the lava field there were many beautiful patches of Lava Cactus (Brachycereus cactus), an endemic cactus to the Galapagos Islands and one of the first colonizers of lava fields. On the lava field there is also a skeleton of a whale.

    Punta Espinoza, Isla Fernandina Punta Espinoza, Isla Fernandina Punta Espinoza, Isla Fernandina Punta Espinoza, Isla Fernandina Punta Espinoza, Isla Fernandina
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Cruise

    Was this review helpful?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    by MalenaN Written Feb 18, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Snorkeling off Isla Fernandina was the best snorkeling during this trip with Cachalote. The highlight was to see several Marine Iguanas swimming and feeding on algae under water. I also saw a large ray swimming just next to me. Here I’m confused, because it had the shape of an eagle ray, but it didn’t have any spots. We also saw turtles, Mexican Hogfish, Hieroglyphic Hawkfish, King Angelfish, juvenile/intermediate white-tailed damselfish and much more.

    The Marine Iguanas are most active under water in the morning, so the later you snorkel the fewer Marine Iguanas you will probably see.

    Isla Fernandina Isla Fernandina Isla Fernandina Isla Fernandina
    Related to:
    • Cruise
    • National/State Park
    • Diving and Snorkeling

    Was this review helpful?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    by MalenaN Written Feb 15, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At Punta Espinosa on Isla Fernandina you can easily spend hours exploring the many tidal pools created in the lava rock, and what is in the shallow water around. Unfortunately I didn’t make any notes after the visit so I don’t know the name of everything we saw. In the tidal pools we saw tube worms, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, small crabs, anemones, sea urchins, eremite crabs, slugs and other mollusks. In the very shallow water we also saw some fish and a turtle (Black Turtle). And off course we saw many Marine Iguanas coming back from feeding in the sea (but there the water was not that shallow).

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Cruise

    Was this review helpful?

Isla Fernandina Favorites

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    by MalenaN Written Feb 15, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The Flightless Cormorant (Phalacrocorax harris) is also called Galapagos Cormorant and it is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. It can only be found on Isla Fernandina and on the western and north coast of Isla Isabela. There are only around 700 – 800 pairs of Flightless Cormorants and its status is vulnerable. After El Niño years the number decreases drastically.

    As the name indicates it can’t fly, because the wings are far too small for that. As the Flightless Cormorant has evolved where there have been no predators, and as it looks for food in the sea wings for flying was not necessary.

    Flightless Cormorants become around 89-100cm long with a weigh of 2.5-5kg. Male and females look the same, but the males are larger. The plumage is dark brow above and lighter brown below. The eyes are small and turquoise. The immature birds don’t have turquoise eyes, but brown. The beak is quite long. Flightless Cormorants are marine birds and they have webbed feet and powerful legs, which is good for swimming.

    The Flightless Cormorant feed at sea where it dives for fish, octopus and eel. As their feathers are not waterproof they can often be seen with their wings spread out for drying, after a swim.

    The nests are built on rocky shores. Usually two or three eggs are laid and they are incubated by both the female and male. They also share taking care of the young chicks, but when the chick becomes older the female leaves to find another male to mate with.

    On Isla Fernandina we saw a few Flightless Cormorants with nests and a couple standing on the rocks, by the sea, drying their wings.

    Flightless Cormorants Flightless Cormorant Flightless Cormorant Flightless Cormorants, Isla Fernandina Flightless Cormorant, Isla Fernandina
    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park
    • Cruise

    Was this review helpful?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    by MalenaN Written Feb 15, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: 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 archipelago and they can be found on all islands, often in the shore zone, on the lava rocks.

    At Punta Espinoza on Isla Fernandina there seem to be thousands of Marine Iguanas that lay around in droves. Besides all the Marine Iguanas laying around basking in the sun we saw several coming back from feeding in the sea and when snorkeling we saw them feeding on algae in the sea. They are amazing to watch!

    During millions of years the Marine Iguana has evolved to be well adapted to its environment. With a flattened snout and sharp teeth they can effectively feed on the algae on the rocks. Their tail helps them swim under water and with their long claws they can stand firmly on the rocks. Sometimes you can see the Marine Iguanas snort, that is when they get rid of excess sea salt with help from salt-eliminating glands in their nostrils. Most Marine Iguanas are black or dark grey in colour but on some islands the male can have a red or green colouring, a colouring that becomes brighter during the mating season.

    Males become around 1m long, but some subspecies become longer and others shorter. The females are shorter than the males, and the spines along their back are not as large as on the male.

    Females and young iguanas feed along the shore when it is low tide. It is mostly the males that feed in the sea and they can stay up to an hour under water. As the water is cold the iguanas must get warm when they come up on land, and then you can often see them basking in the sun with their face to the sun and their body raised from the ground (they must get warm, but not too warm so by raising the body they will allow the air to circulate under the body).

    The breeding season is from November - March. The females will then lay the eggs in an underground nest where they are incubated for three months. The baby iguanas are small and are therefore vulnerable to predators. They risk getting eaten by owls, hawks herons or mocking birds.

    In photo 2 there is a sick iguana. It sounded like he was choking, but there was nothing we could do.

    Marine Iguanas on Isla Fernandina Marine Iguanas on Isla Fernandina
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Cruise

    Was this review helpful?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    by MalenaN Written Dec 22, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: 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, and don’t be surprised if you get surrounded by playful sea lions while snorkeling. It is absolutely fantastic!

    The male Sea Lion becomes very large, up to 230cm in length, with a weigh up to 250kg. They have a dark brown fur, which almost looks black when wet and they have a thick neck.

    The females are smaller and weigh up to 120kg. They have lighter brown fur, which looks dark brown when wet. There are many more females as only one tenth of the Sea Lion pups are males.

    The Galapagos Sea Lions feed during the day and they mostly eat Sardines. They can be away at sea for days to hunt for fish. Sharks are natural predators of the Sea Lions.

    The Galapagos Sea Lions form colonies which consist of a dominant male (bull) and up to 30 females (cows) with their pups. The bull protects its territory against other males and sometimes there are fights. As it is difficult for a male to be away feeding while protecting his territory he becomes weaker and he will then be replaced by a stronger male after a while. Males without a territory form bachelor colonies.

    The females give birth to one pup each year, which they nurse for up to three years. Sometimes you can see two pups of different age suckling milk from their mother. When they are around five months the pups can start fishing for themselves though. The mother and child can recognise each other’s bark and thus find each other among the other Sea Lions in the colony.

    Sea Lion on Isla Fernandina Sea Lions on Isla Fernandina Male sea lion, Isla Fernandina
    Related to:
    • Cruise
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Isla Fernandina

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

99 travelers online now

Comments

Isla Fernandina Travel Guide
Map of Isla Fernandina

View all Isla Fernandina hotels