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Why Punta Espinoza in Fernandina Island is One of the Top Attractions in the Galapagos Islands

Why Punta Espinoza in Fernandina Island is One of the Top Attractions in the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are an incredible place to explore for travelers who are looking for a bit of adventure. Learn about the visitor site Punta Espinoza in Fernandina Island and why it’s one of the top attractions to visit throughout the year.

Top 6 Benefits of Visiting Punta Espinoza in Fernandina Island at the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands consist of 19 different islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. They are known for the abundant amount of wildlife that is available in a natural habitat that is highly protected from development. Volcanoes, tranquil beaches and remote locations are some of the most common reasons that tourists visit the destination each year. One of the top places to visit is the western island of Fernandina and its only visitor site known as Punta Espinoza. There are stunning vistas here, and the wildlife is one of a kind. A truly memorable spot to explore.

1. Natural Wildlife

An average of 100,000 black and gray iguanas are known to be present on Punta Espinoza in Fernandina Island. They roam freely and are not afraid of humans, which means they tend to lay in large piles without moving, even when groups of people are present. Sea lions and different types of birds can also be spotted on Punta Espinoza. The island is one of those remote places to visit due to its western location. Its wildlife experience also exposes visitors to sally lightfoot crabs, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, sea lions and flightless cormorants being common creatures one may encounter.

Marine iguanas Punta Espinosa Flightless cormorant Punta Espinosa

Many of the iguanas can also be seen swimming and looking for food under the water, leading to great photo opportunities for visitors. The iguanas can stay under the water for up to an hour as they are always in search of algae. Their body temperature can drop down some 20°F while they swim and look for food, which causes them to lay out on the lava rock as they digest their food, and for a quick warm-up. Their dark coloration allows them to efficiently gather a warm body temperature.

Marine iguana feeding

Marine iguana feeding

The largest colony of iguanas in the Galapagos is known to be present on the island, which causes the lava rocks to look like they’re moving because the reptiles blend in with the island. None of the animals on the island have been introduced, which means that they all arrived on their own without the help of humans.

Marine iguana closeup

Marine iguana closeup

Many of the iguanas can actually be heard snorting out salt throughout the day as they attempt to remove excess salt through their highly specialized salt glands. These glands act like a third kidney preventing a salty mix from harming their internal metabolic functions. Most of these reptiles eat once a day when they take a swim in the water.

2. Active Volcanoes

Many people visit Punta Espinoza in Fernandina Island for the abundance of lava rocks that are available due to the presence of one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The volcano is considered to be the youngest in the Galapagos, with its last eruption taking place in April 2009.

Fernandina eruption 2009

Fernandina eruption 2009

Tour guides often recommend bringing a pair of walking shoes to your Galapagos cruise to maintain your grip on the rocky surface to ensure that you can explore the island safely and comfortably. Many of the hikes and guided tours cover areas of both lava and sand.

Iguana rocky surface

Iguana rocky surface

3. Warm Weather

The island of Fernandina in the Galapagos experiences warm weather throughout the year during the months of December to May. There tends to be plenty of sunshine on most days, which causes the cold-blooded marine iguanas to inhabit the land and bask in the light on the shore. The temperature often settles around 70 degrees Fahrenheit with light winds present at times. It is quite shocking, however, that due to the upwelling waters from the Cromwell Current one may find a totally subtropical environment and even a nippy drizzle around the months of August and September.

Expedition in Fernandina Island

Expedition in Fernandina Island

4. Beautiful Views

Fernandina is a rocky island that offers spectacular panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The turquoise waters make it a beautiful place to photograph, and views of nearby Isabela Island are prominent as well. Most explorers become fascinated with the shape of this volcano, which really looks like a gigantic upside down saucer plate. Visitors can also enjoy taking pictures of the marine life when exploring the underwater world of the Pacific Ocean that presents itself while swimming or snorkeling.

Mangrove trees can also be found on the island, and these are located just above the gravel beaches. Sea lions can be seen basking in the sun or taking a dip in the water, making for a picturesque setting that can feel like paradise. The island is young, and therefore few arrivals have made few successful establishments here.

Punta Espinosa Fernandina Island Landscape of Fernandina in Galapagos

5. Shallow Pools

You are also likely to come across a number of different shallow pools on the island near the same areas where large Green Sea turtles and crabs can be found. Many of the animals wait for the high tide in the pools, and they are friendly to humans who want to get up close. Many of these creatures are looking to get back into the ocean, but they settle in the ponds during the day. It is quite common to find a patient striated heron waiting for fish to swim by, before making its long neck stretch and capturing the tasty morsel.

Shallow pools

Look at my long neck stretch and capturing a tasty morsel

6. Water Activities

Punta Espinosa in Fernandina Island is also a popular place to visit for the water activities that are available, which can be enjoyed all year round. Many visitors come to snorkel and get a glimpse of the marine life or to follow the iguanas as they spend their time looking for food in the water. Many people also visit the island to go swimming when the weather permits, allowing for the incredible opportunity to wade the water next to playful sea lions that can be seen in groups. Scuba diving on live-aboard vessels is also available for those who want to spend more time in the water and explore the depths of the ocean.

Water activities Punta Espinosa

Snorkelling in Punta Espinosa

Visit our Western Islands itinerary to see this wonderful site of Punta Espinoza in Fernandina Island!

Blog Reviewed & Edited by: Francisco Dousdebés
All Images: Francisco Dousdebés

Francisco Dousdebes

Francisco “Pancho” Dousdebés is an Ecuadorian, born in Quito. Early in life he developed a special interest in natural sciences and a special predilection for the outdoors. After finishing high school in Ecuador, he travelled abroad as an exchange student and landed in the Midwest of the United States. Afterwards, Francisco studied Biology and, in 1986, had a great opportunity land right in his hands: to become a Naturalist Guide for the Galapagos National Park.

Currently, he is the Galápagos Product Manager for Yacht La Pinta, Yacht Isabela II and the Boutique Hotel Casa Gangotena in Quito. He loves to promote the beauty of Ecuador all over the World, and has participated in many Trade Shows, International Forums, and Roadshows together with the Ministry of Tourism and Quito Turismo. He is keen on explaining the role of sustainability in fragile destinations, and also gives lectures on Ecuador’s natural history, natural selection, evolution, and sustainable tourism. Traveling is certainly one of his passions, and whenever he has free time, he has already surely arrived at his next exploration destination.

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