Española is a very popular island that creates a lot of expectations among our guests as it is the only place where the waved albatross nests. This time, however, our last stop on our Western Islands Galapagos itinerary was full of surprises that were much different from any other visit we had prior to this one. This was our adventurous exploration on Española Island.
First Part of Our Adventurous Exploration on Española Island: The Landing
Española is usually what we call a dry landing which means that there is a dock on the island and the dinghies (also known as pangas) can get right next to it so our guests can step right off the dinghy and directly onto dry land. On this particular day, the tide was very, very low; so low that the entire island looked completely different. There were rocks everywhere and our skillful panga drivers had to be extra careful during their approach towards the dock. After successfully disembarking, the welcoming committee – a city of marine iguanas – was already there, waiting to greet us all at the first beach that’s located just past the docks.
It is always nice to see the marine iguanas as they start to change their skin color and gain some reddish and greenish hues on top of their regular black scales. There was also a small community of young sea lions that seemed to be everywhere, playing among themselves and entertaining us with their whimsical moves.
The Crossing: A Trail Less Travelled By
There are two possible routes that groups can take to get to the other side this visitor site, and this was where our adventurous exploration on Española Island began. The most scenic route follows the coastline where there are usually tons of birds along the way. The other path is the slightly more challenging trail traverses through the middle of a palo santo forest. Since it was pretty early in the morning and the sun had not come out yet, our naturalist guide decided that it would be advantageous to start this on this trail as it was cooler than it would be once the sun came out. The pleasant surprise we had during this adventurous exploration on Española Island was when, right as we started to get close to the other side, we encountered many albatrosses just sitting right there, in the middle of the trail.
The Other Side: Teeming With Life
We finally reached our destination: the cliff on the other side of the island. Once we got there, we were able to see a lot of the action. There were marine iguanas on top of almost every rock as well as some lava lizards, Nazca boobies flying everywhere, waved albatrosses jumping off the cliff and even some Galapagos hawks that were up above, dominating the skies!
The last time we were on Española, about a month ago, there were actually very few albatrosses and there was not even a single hawk on site. This time, not only did we get to see hawks flying around, but we also got a look at their nests!
There were juveniles that got really close to us (as they tend to be more curious than adults) and gave us the chance to take some pretty awesome pictures of them! After a close examination of the pictures, it is easy to see why the Galapagos hawk is the top predator of the Galapagos Islands and a member of our BIG15 group of iconic species!
So what are you waiting for? Experience your own adventurous exploration on Española Island today by visiting the Galapagos aboard the Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise!