Bartolome is a unique island that we get to visit on our Northern Galapagos Islands itinerary, guarding a host of different treasures awaiting to be discovered by those that visit. The Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise arrives at Bartolome Island in the afternoon on Wednesday as part of this fantastic itinerary.
One of the main attractions of Bartolome is perhaps also one of the most iconic sites or landscapes that many have seen of Galapagos, be it in postcards, magazines or documentaries. The famous Pinnacle Rock is a towering geological formation that resembles the shape of a sail boat. It is visible from pretty much any place at Bartolome, standing tall right at the edge of island.
We offer our guests a couple of different activities while at Bartolome Island, one of which is a glass-bottom boat ride along the coast and even alongside Pinnacle Rock, often giving our guests the opportunity to enjoy watching some Galapagos penguins – which happen to be members of our BIG15 group of iconic species in Galapagos – as they hang out atop the rocks and/or swim about and fish in the calm waters of Bartolome, which happens to be one of the few places north of the equator that they get to call home!
Another activity we offer our guests at Bartolome is snorkeling from the beach, which happens to be made up of some of the finest sand that there is to be found throughout the entire archipelago. From this beautiful beach, our guests will start snorkeling and swimming out past the pinnacle to get to another bay. It is not unusual to see Galapagos penguins hanging out here – some guests might even be fortunate enough to get to swim alongside a group of them! On this particular occasion, we did not find manage to find nor swim beside any penguins, but we did manage to find a couple of sharks!
We were swimming with a small group of whitetip reef sharks but quickly realized that there was something else in the water with us, and it was much bigger than the whitetip sharks! Once we were able to get closer to this shadow that was moving around in the water, we discovered that it was a huge blacktip shark (which is a bit harder to spots in these places). We were all really pleased and surprised by the presence of this rare visitor!
The last activity of the day offered to our guests at Bartolome is a hike to the summit of the island. This is a somewhat unusual hike, as all it involves is walking up a wooden staircase (372 steps in total!) that’s actually relatively easy and that will take us up to the summit of the island. There are some resting spots along the way that also function as viewpoints, too. At each spot, our guests can gradually catch their breath and then have it taken away by the beauty of the landscape! Guests that manage to complete the hike up the staircase are always rewarded with an amazing view from the top, with a near 360-degree view of the surrounding islands that are near Bartolome. Because this activity takes place in the afternoon, reaching the top also means we get to enjoy a spectacular sunset, giving us the perfect opportunity to say goodbye to Bartolome and go back to the Santa Cruz II to continue exploring Galapagos during the following days of our Northern Galapagos Islands Itinerary!