Galapagos » Islands » Bartolome Island

Bartolome Island

Galapagos tourists

Bartolome Island has an area of 1.2 sq km. Just off Sullivan Bay is. Here you can see the most frequently photographed and hence most famous vista on the islands. Dominated by a geologically young volcano, the island consists of ash and porous lava rock, on which colonizing plants are just beginning to grow. You’ll likely recognize the view from atop the summit of the volcanic cone, as it's the Galapagos's most photographed landscape.


The Bartolome Island has two visitor sites:

One begins from a jetty (dry landing), from where it is about 600m to the 114m summit of the island. This good but sandy trail leads through a wild and unearthly looking lava landscape; a wooden boardwalk and stairs have been built on the last (steepest) section, both to aid visitors and to protect the trail from erosion.

There are a few pioneering plants on either side of the trail, but the main attraction is the view toward Santiago, which is just as dramatic as the photographs suggest.

The other visitor site is a small, sandy beach in a cove (wet landing). Here you have good snorkeling and swimming opportunities, including a chance to swim with the endemic Galápagos penguins that frequent this cove. Marine turtles and a gaudy variety of tropical fish are also frequently seen.

The best way to see and photograph the penguins is by taking a panga ride close to the rocks on either side of the cove - particularly around the aptly named Pinnacle Rock to the right of the cove from the sea-ward side.

You can often get within a few meters of these fascinating birds - the closest point to Puerto Ayora where you can do so. Other penguin colonies are on the western side of Isabela. From the beach, a 100m trail leads across the narrowest part of Bartolome to another sandy beach on the opposite side of the island. Marine turtles may nest here. Both beaches are clearly visible from the viewpoint described earlier.



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