Bartholomew Island, close to Santa Cruz, is a study in contrasts. The barren, volcanic landscape on land is juxtaposed by an explosion of marine life beneath the sea. This landing site has a trail that heads high up through volcanic lava to a scenic vista that overlooks the harbor below, the iconic Pinnacle Rock, and the neighboring Santiago, and Daphne Major and Minor islands towards the horizon. The striking view is one of the most recognized and photographed in the Galapagos, and was part of the movie, “Master and Commander.”
Blue-footed boobies are often seen along the trail awkwardly performing their mating dance, nesting and taking care of their young, and diving from cliffs into the waters below for fish. Galapagos hawks, one of the rare predators in the Galapagos, are spotted overhead and nesting in the nooks and crannies of the jagged outcrops along the coast.
The bay and islets along the shore are home to one of the endemic creatures of the islands, the Galapagos penguin. The small creatures are drawn to the cool Humboldt Currents between July and December and are unbashful companions during a stop on a cruise or a morning dive excursion.
The waters off of Bartolome Island have an amazing array of marine life, coral reefs, underwater cliffs, submerged volcanic cones, and caves that make diving here an adventure. Large schools of reef fish, rays, white-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, eels, sea lions, and red-lipped batfish, are often seen during the descent. At ten meters, there is a volcanic shelf that leads to a deeper underwater canyon.
Snorkeling and kayaking here puts you in the center of the action and at arm’s length from swiftly moving penguins, sea turtles and lions, schools of brightly-colored fish, and sharks that come to the area to feed and clean themselves on the island’s coral reefs.
The crescent, white-sand beach at the foot of Pinnacle Rock and the waters off its edge are great for swimming, snorkeling with penguins, and relaxing amidst a small colony of sea lions. A trail to the south through mangroves leads to another beach where black and white-tipped reef sharks, stingrays, and spotted eagle rays feed in the shallow waters. The beach is off limits for swimming, but the wildlife here is worth the short hike.
Fun Facts about Bartholomew
Landing Point: Panoramic Viewpoint
Landing Point: Beach
Note: All information is intended as a general guide of what you might be able to see or do on this island. In reality, wildlife sightings are by nature unpredictable, and activities may be subject to change by your guide or the National Park Authority.