Visiting the Splendid Espanola Island
The Galapagos Islands of Ecuador are well-known for their biodiversity and spectacular scenery. Visitors come from far and wide to explore this marvelous natural archipelago. Standing in the extreme southeast of the area is the stunning Espanola Island, also known as Hood Island.
The land area Espanola Island is relatively medium in size, much of which is inhabited by a fascinating array of wildlife. Isla Espanola is possible the oldest island in the Galapagos Archipelago. As it stands at quite a distance from the other islands, Espanola is home to a number of endemic animal species, i.e. species that are found here and nowhere else. Actually, Espanola Island is a bird watchers paradise. Here you will find extensive colonies of the endemic Waved Albatross. From March to December these spectacular birds nest on the island. Aside from the bird life, you can expect to see large numbers of sea lions, marine Iguanas and the Espanola lava lizard.
There are two main visitor areas on Espanola Island. These are Punta Suarez (on the western side) and Gardner Bay (on the eastern side). Punta Suarez is considered by some to be the best destination in the Galapagos Archipelago. As you arrive here you will be greeted by a large family of sea lions relaxing on the warm sands. Basking on the rocks are numerous marine Iguanas. Birders will want to keep an eye out for the Espanola mockingbird, Masked boobies, Blue footed boobies, Galapagos doves, finches, American oystercatchers, Red-Billed tropicbirds, Galapagos hawks and many other bird species. A delightful trail will lead you along as you take in all these sights. This trail will guide you past a blowhole. Waves hitting against the cliff are forced through a volcanic fissure, or hole, in the rock resulting in a loud spray of sea water, which can reach a height of 25 m.
If you arrive at the white sands of Gardner Bay, you will be just as entranced, by this paradise. This site is popular amongst tourists who take time to swim and snorkel in the waters where they may spot stingrays, parrotfish and sea turtles. Gardner Bay is a fantastic place to relax and soak up the beauty of nature. Here you will also find a fascinating colony of sea lions. Between the months of October and December, visitors to Espanola Island’s Gardner Bay may be fortunate to see the Green Sea Turtles during mating season.
You really wouldn’t want to miss this magical experience in the Galapagos Islands, so be sure to book your tour to Espanola Island.