The island of the waved albatross
waved albatross, sea lion, Española mockingbird, lava lizard, Darwin finches, Galápagos dove, Galápagos hawk, blue-footed booby, nazca booby, swallow-tailed gull, red-billed tropic bird, marine iguana, sea lion, green sea turtle, white-tipped reef shark, manta ray, surgeonfish, parrotfish
Explore and experience
You can visit the island of Española on a day trip from San Cristóbal or on a multi-day expedition cruise. One of the oldest islands in the extreme southeast of the Archipelago. Española is one of the top three islands, being one of the most outstanding wildlife areas of the archipelago. With its unique presence of the large waved albatross colony and the variety in terms of hiking and snorkelling it is a must-visit.
One of the most popular visitor sites in the Galápagos is Punta Suarez. This island has an amazing variety of wildlife. You go ashore through a dry landing from the zodiac where sea lions await. Stretching themselves lazy across the rocky shores, you will often be forced to step over them to reach the path. Here you can also find brightly coloured red and green marine iguanas. As you continue along the path you will be looking forward to the animals you will encounter on your way: lava lizards, the Española mockingbird, Darwin finches and the Galápagos dove can frequently be found here. With some luck you can also spot the Galápagos hawk. Further down the path, along the western cliffs of the island, you will pass breeding colonies of blue-footed and nazca boobies. Swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropic birds fly to and from their nests and feeding grounds in the rocks. You continue to the south side of the island where the sea violently crashes onto the rocky shores. The enormous power comes to life in an impressive blow hole, a natural fountain in which the waves crash between the rocks and the power forces the water tens of meters high up into the air.
The absolute highlight is of course the waved albatross. With a population of 25,000 to 30,000, almost the entire world’s adult population can be found on Española between April and December to mate and breed. The mating dance is a fantastic spectacle to see. The albatross is incapable of ascending. To take flight the bird plunges off the cliff hence catching the wind beneath its wings.
A beach straight from a tropical movie scene. Vast, soft white sand and a turquoise sea. In front of you is the small island of Isla Gardner where you can enjoy fantastic snorkelling. The friendly colony of sea lions on this beach is happy to take a photo with you. And the playful young ones may even swim with you in the sea. The Española mockingbird is a fun, cheeky little guy. Sit quietly on the beach and notice how they are slowly hopping towards you, coming closer than you would expect!
Just off the vast beach of Bahía Gardner you will find Islote Gardner and Tortuga Rock, both very beautiful locations for snorkelling. Tortuga Rock is a large rock formation that sticks out of the water. If you look at the rocks from the right angle, the formation looks like a giant sea turtle that comes out of the water to take breath. On the side of the rock that is farthest away from the bay, the water is a bit deeper and there is a current. Exactly there you will find spectacular marine life, such as white-tipped reef sharks and manta rays. On the other side of the rocks the water is calmer and shallower, a perfect place for novice snorkelers and certainly no less spectacular. Floating slowly in the water you enjoy the wealth of different fish, including schools of surgeon fish, colourful parrot fish and maybe even a moorish idol. On this side of Tortuga Rock you are also close to the sandy bottom with rocks and small pieces of seaweed. If you are observant, you have the chance to see a scorpion fish. Well camouflaged, these fish wait at the bottom of the ocean until their prey of small fish comes closer. You may see a stingray resting at the bottom as well.
Islote Osborn is located on the southeast side of Bahía Gardner. You cannot land on this island, but it is a wonderful location for snorkelling or a relaxing panga trip so you can admire the many animals that live here.Back to overview