Española Island (Hood)

Española Island is also named Hood Island. It is located in the extreme southeast of the archipelago and is considered, along with Santa Fe, one of the oldest, at approximately four million years. It is about a 10- to 12-hour trip by boat from Isla Santa Cruz. Visitors come to see the albatrosses and the mating dances of blue-footed boobies on Española Island. Because of its great variety of sea birds it is very popular with birdwatchers. You can encounter masked and blue-footed boobies, Galápagos doves, red-billed tropicbird, mocking birds, swallowed-tailed gulls and, most important, the waved albatross. There are two visitor sites: Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez.

Gardner Bay:

Gardner Bay is an about 1 km long beach that is among the most magnificent in all Galápagos. It is home to many sea lion colonies and the turquoise colored water makes a beautiful contrast to the white sand that consists of shell dust. On the rocks mingle big marine iguanas and sally light-foot crab.

Mocking birds fight for their territory and inspect the backpacks of the tourists. About 50 m of the coast there is a rock where you can encounter tropic fish and rays while snorkeling. But more spectacular is the Gardner Rock that can be reached with a panga. It is home to white-tipped reef sharks and other colorful sea dwellers and very popular among snorkelers.

Punta Suarez:

Punta Suarez lies at the west end of the island. The tourist trail is about 2 km long and leads from one end of the island to the other while revealing the spectacular bird life. There are so many blue-footed boobies nesting that have to take care not to step on one of their nests (depending on the season). You can observe red marine iguanas that are lying in the sun or the buzzards in the top of the trees. They hunt for young blue-footed boobies. Following the path you encounter masked boobies that are nesting almost the whole year on the cliffs.

The highlight of this tour is certainly the colony of the Galápagos albatross, which is endemic on this island existing nowhere else on the islands or in the world. Between the middle of March and the end of December there are up to 12,000 of this fascinating birds with a wingspan of about 2.40 m. On the cliffs they seem to be really awkward but when they get up in the air they are kings of the sky.

Only a short distance from the albatross colony there is the Hueco Soplador (blow hole). This is an up to 20m (50-75 feet) high water fountain that is created by the waves. Their whole energy is pressed through a little hole between the cliffs. The phenomenon resembles a geyser.