Santiago Island Travel

Watch Fur Seals frolic in the waves and Sea Lions soak up the sun on the black sands of Santiago Island.

Santiago is an uninhabited island of reasonable size to the east of Isabela. Popular with tourists, there is an abundance of wildlife here: Fur Seals and Marine Iguanas can be found lazing on beaches while Sally Lightfoot Crabs amuse themselves in volcanic rock pools. Santiago is a real treat boasting beautiful bays, flourishing birdlife and fascinating evidence of lava flow, all making it well worth a visit.

Santiago Island is a prime example of how careful conservation is helping these islands thrive. Sadly, Santiago’s ecosystem was badly damaged many years ago due to the introduction of Goats, Donkeys and some very destructive Pigs. However, in recent years much work has been put into the island’s native plants and important residents such as Galapagos Tortoises have been reintroduced to the land. In the last decade in particular, endemic flora is making a real comeback attracting more and more birdlife to Santiago’s shores. Blue-footed Boobies, Lava Herons, Yellow Warblers and Finches are all known to live on this island.

At Sullivan Bay, lava flow provides a reminder of the volcanic activity that these islands are so well known for. With some vegetation peeking through the cracks, this mesmerising natural wonder is quite the sight to behold. Elsewhere on the island, James Bay is a good place to spot Fur Seals and their grottos. Puerto Egas, located towards the end of the beach, was once the island’s salt mine and remnants of its previous existence still stand, and while the salt-lake crater is out of bounds for visitors, Flamingos have been known to pay it a visit.

Highlights of Santiago Island:

Explore the inter-tidal pools

Thanks to the geographic make-up of Santiago, as you walk along the coast you’ll be sure to come across a number of rocky pools that are often full of sea life. Rays, Turtles and brightly coloured tropical fish often get caught in these pools, forced to wait for the tide to come back in to collect them.

Go diving

Santiago has a number of excellent dive sites just off its coast; in fact some might say some of the best the Galapagos has to offer. Along with Sea Lions, Turtles and a number of Rays, visitors can sometimes catch sight of Seahorses and even the odd Hammerhead Shark.

Marvel at the lava fields

So often we are told about the formation of these islands and the volcanic activity that has gone with it. Sullivan Bay gives you a real sense of how powerful these eruptions were, each ripple telling its own story. There may not be a lot of animal life upon these rocks but they are an amazing destination in their own right.

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