Genovesa Island is a great place with lots of hidden secrets that are waiting to be discovered. The Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise spends an entire day at this island in order to take advantage of the many visiting sites in the area, not to mention a great birding experience on Genovesa Island that includes a large portion of our BIG15 group of iconic species. Guests can visit it on our Northern Islands Galapagos itinerary.
The very first activity of the day consists of a medium-length dingy (also known as panga) ride that takes us from the Santa Cruz II’s anchor point to the landing spot known as Prince Phillip’s Steps. Along the way, the pangas travel beside the rocks and an amazing cliff that hides many living treasures. While here, it is possible to see red-beaked tropic birds flying in circles overhead, trying to avoid the frigate birds that are endlessly chasing after them. It is also possible to see Nazca and red-footed boobies flying alongside the cliff.
A little closer to the water we can usually discover some Galapagos fur seals simply chilling along the rocks and also marine iguanas and even some Galapagos sea lions. After this journey, guests arrive to an incredible series of steps that have more-or-less been “carved” into the rocks and are surrounded by wooden handrails. This somewhat questionable-looking staircase is known as Prince Phillip’s Steps and it is sometimes a thrill to head up.
After climbing the steps, you get to a very nice flat and open space where the trail begins. In the area up above, guests and guides can usually find a lot of Nazca boobies (both adults and chicks) as well as some frigate birds. And this is where our birding experience on Genovesa Island begins. With so much movement going around here, there always seems to be at least some kind of show going on for guests to observe. On certain occasions, you can spot Nazca booby chicks trying to take-off and/or practice their flying skills. Other instances may even allow you to spot some frigate birds proudly displaying their beautiful and iconic red pouches that are fully inflated and that they use to attract their mates. It doesn’t matter where you look, there is always something to see in this spot.
Once you have had enough time to assimilate all the beauty around this area, your naturalist guide will inform you that the adventure is about to begin and to stay within the designated trails.
The walk to cross to the other side of Genovesa Island is medium difficulty. There are some flat areas and there are also some big and uneven boulders along the way. The palo santo trees that are found on both sides of the trail are often popular hangout spots for the red-footed boobies that will often perch on its branches. If you are really lucky, you might even find one of the white-colored red-footed boobies within the dense network of branches.
Once you get to the other side you are officially entering bird paradise where the amount and variety of species of birds that overcrowd the skies are simply overwhelming. This particular time we had an incredible time to enjoy the company of a juvenile red-footed booby that was a mere inches away from our hats. Needless to say that this was quite an amazing show to behold and that left us all in awe and wonder.