Galapagos Islands Travel Blog

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Travel Galapagos - Santiago and Nearby Sites

Travel Galapagos suggests touring Santiago’s numerous visitor sites and its location in the center of the islands make it one of the most familiar islands of a Galapagos travel. You go from site to site on Santiago, learning about the human history of the islands and seeing the fur seals or Galapagos hawks. Some of the shoreline was created by lava flows just a hundred years or so ago. You will take a quick jaunt to Bartolome’s Pinnacle Rock or pull into the quiet cove of Sombrero Chino to anchor in a storm. But wherever you go around the island, the cone of Santiago’s Sugarloaf Volcano or the sweep of black volcanic rock on its shores will appear again and again, giving you a visual anchor for a major part of your visit.

If you travel to Santiago-Galapagos it may wind up being the jumping-off point for the very long trip northeast to Genovesa, home of the red-footed boobies and thousands of storm petrels. It is also an important example of successful eradication of introduced species – with pigs eradicated in 2001 and the goat population soon to follow.

Travel Galapagos - Santiago (San Salvador, James)

Your itinerary is likely to bring you back to Santiago (James) Island several times. Its visitor sites are on the east and west sides of the island, and its central location in the archipielago means that your route will pass it often as you criss-cross to the more distant islands or to the numerous visitor sites on nearby islands.

This island has powerful evocations of past human use, including the extraordinary ravages of introduced goats and the remains of several attempts at salt mining. It also has some of the most impressive natural sites: the fur seal grottos, a flamingo lagoon, and the geologically recent lava flows at Sullivan Bay. At each of the sites, birdwatching is particularly rewarding, with sightings of flamingos. Galapagos hawks, or vermilion flycatchers likely. Migrating shorebirds are seen regularly also.