Arriving to Gardner Bay, we will prep our snorkel gear and wetsuits and jump overboard! The snorkel activity is in a protected bay. The water isn’t too deep, and it’s a good thing, because the ocean floor is littered with various species of sea stars, corals, and urchins. Schools of fish, sea lions, rays, and maybe even sea turtles and Galapagos sharks can be found in this site. Above water, the cliffs provide refuge for Nazca boobie birds, sea lions, and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Back on the boat, both hot and cold drinks are awaiting you, as well as a snack of fresh fruit from our highlands farm.
We next navigate to our second site visit, Suarez Point, but first, lunch! Our crew will serve you up a fresh and filling lunch to refuel your body before we disembark and begin our 2-hour hike. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for the rocky trail, but we have a “wet landing” first, a quick ride on the zodiac from boat to beach.
On the beach, we will first notice the fine white sand and the black lava rocks, hiding the marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs, maybe even some slumbering sea lions! Keep on the lookout for lava lizards and Galapagos snakes (harmless, like a common garden snake). Your Naturalist Guide will assist in pointing out all the wildlife found along the trail, from the Nazca boobies, Galapagos Mockingbirds, to the famous Waved Albatross found nesting in the area from April to December, colonies of marine iguanas, Galapagos Hawks, Galapagos Doves, warbler finch, and the large-billed cactus finch, also endemic to the island. Most of the trail meanders along the rocky shore, and the turquoise waters crash onto the rocks, providing light ocean spray and a cool breeze to enjoy your trek.
As the looped trail returns toward the beach, notice the change in plant life and the niches of each bird. Finally, returning to the beach where you began your trek, the zodiac awaits to return you to the boat. Cool drinks, fresh fruit, and a delicious local dessert nourish you along the return trip, arriving to Pto. Baquerizo Moreno around 5PM.
DEPARTURE: 6:30 AM
RETURN: ~5:00PM (tour ends at pier, transportation to hotel not included)
BRIEF ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION: 2-hour navigation to the uninhabited island, snorkel in Gardner Bay, 1.2-mile hike along rocky terrain at Suarez Point, return navigation to San Cristobal Island
HIGHLIGHTS: Waved Albatross (April-December), large-billed cactus finch, Nazca boobie birds, Galapagos Dove, Galapagos Hawk, marine iguanas, fish, sea stars, and sea lions.
* Española island (or Hood, in honor to the British admiral Samuel Hood) is, with 60
km ², one of the smaller that form the Ecuadorian archipelago of the Galapagos
islands. It is the oldest of all, with about 300 million years of existence.
Uninhabited, there live several animal species of interest, such as the endemic
mockingbird of Hispaniola, the Galapagos dove, the Galapagos Gull, the marine
iguana, albatross and pinnipeds. Two places are especially popular with visitors:
Gardner Bay, which has a beach renowned for its beauty, and Punta Suarez, of
interest for its variety of birds.