Bartolome and Rábida Islands

Jun 11, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

With the first beams of sun and soft winds, early in the morning we headed to Bartolome with the mission to get to the summit of the island to enjoy one of the most spectacular views in Galapagos. Compared with the main islands, Bartolome is quite small, but its geological formations that we see from the wooden steps that lead to the top, are so impressive.  Due to its surrealistic landscape at some point we had the impression of being in another world as imaging been in mars or in the moon, but at the same time, we were able to understand how the formation of these oceanic islands took place.  Once at the top, we got our prize; the view was so unique, that was possible to see many other Islands at the distance and hundreds of parasitic cones and spatter cones formations, but probably the most interesting spot, was the pinnacle rock one of the most famous attractions in the Galapagos.

We continued our afternoon activity in Rabida Island with different activities, suitable for everyone. The red beach looked peaceful, with some sea lions and pelicans resting close each other while close to the shore, blue-footed boobies tried to catch some fish. The first group of guests headed to the beach to snorkel along the cliff that formed a protected bay at that side of the island; white-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, colorful fish and Galapagos sea lions were the delightful of everybody. At the other side of the bay, kayakers explored the coastline, observing blue-footed boobies, finches, mocking birds, marine iguanas and frigate birds soaring along the surface as trying to catch some small fish.

Just before the sunset we found ourselves walking along a red sandy beach; the light looked orange changing the color of the landscape dramatically, perfect for photographing sea lions and pelicans in full action. Later on, we moved behind the beach to observe different species of seashore birds while on the green bushes some yellow warblers and finches fluttered along the branches trying to catch some insects. After a spectacular sunset, we headed back to the National Geographic Islander, leaving behind incredible creatures and places that were part of us during this magical day in the Galapagos Islands.

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About the Author

Paul Vergara


Paul grew up on the island of Floreana, one of the earliest islands of the Galápagos to have been inhabited, and one of Charles Darwin's centers of research. But just because Floreana has a long history of human settlements, does not mean that growing up there was a very modern experience. In the 1970s, there was neither electricity nor cars on the island. Not only that, but Paul and the rest of the inhabitants had to use donkeys for transportation, preserving their fish and meat using salt from the sea.

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