(San Cristóbal or Chatham). The island got its name in honor of the holy martyr Christopher. The area of the island is 558 km², the highest point is 730 m above sea level. Frigatebirds, sea lions, giant tortoises, blue-footed and red-footed boobies, Phaetons (Phaethontidae), marine iguanas, dolphins, Galapagos gulls live on and near the island. Among the plants you can find species of Galapagos calandrinia (Calandrinia galapagos), Darwinian lecocarpus (Lecocarpus darwinii), medicinal guaiacum (Lignum vitae) and Malus germicana. On the hill of the island is the largest freshwater lake in the archipelago – Laguna El Junco. At the southern tip of the island is the capital of the Galapagos province, the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
(Santa Cruz or Indefatigable). It is the second largest and most populated island in the archipelago. Its area is 986 km², the highest point is 864 m. The name of the island in Spanish means “Holy Cross”. The largest settlement of the archipelago, the city of Puerto Ayora, is located on the island, which is a tourist center with a well-developed infrastructure (which is a rarity in this region). It is also home to the National Park Office and the Charles Darwin Research Station. The station has a breeding center for turtles before their subsequent release into the wild. The island’s peaks are richly vegetated and host the famous lava tunnels. The island also has a large population of turtles. Sea turtles, rays and small sharks often mate in Black Turtle Bay, surrounded by mangroves.
(Santa Fe or Barrington). Named after the Spanish city. The area of the island is 24 km², the highest point is 259 m above sea level. The island has the largest forest of Opuntia cacti in the archipelago. Weathered rocks serve as a good nesting place for Galapagos gulls, phaetons, petrels. Lava lizards can also be seen on the island.
(Santiago or San Salvador or James). The island is named after Saint James. The area of the island is 585 km², the maximum height is 907 m above sea level. There are marine iguanas, fur seals, sea lions, land and sea turtles, flamingos, dolphins and sharks. Pigs and goats, previously brought to the island, have been eradicated. In Sullivan Bay, recent (about 100 years ago) lava flows can be observed. San Salvador is a small island, the entire coastal zone of which is black rocks of volcanic origin. On the island of San Cristobal (Chatham) are the capital of the archipelago of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and the airport. All the vegetation zones of the Galapagos are represented here – from the undersized desert to the luxurious pampas, in addition, this is the only island in the archipelago, on which there is an inexhaustible source of fresh water (a lake in the crater of the El Junco volcano). The island is home to giant tortoises, fur seals, boobies and frigate birds. And Punta Pitt has beaches perfect for snorkelling, diving or just swimming.
(Plaza Sur). Named after the former president of Ecuador, Leonidas Plaza. The area of the island is only 0.13 km², the highest point is at an altitude of 23 m above sea level. The island’s flora includes Opuntia cacti and Sesuvium plants, which form a reddish carpet over the lava formation. Iguanas live here and a wide variety of birds can be observed on the cliffs at the southern tip of the island.
(Seymour Norte). Named after the English aristocrat Lord Hugh Seymour. The area of the island is 1.9 km², the height is up to 28 m above sea level. The island has a large population of blue-footed boobies and Galapagos gulls. Also here is one of the largest colonies of frigates.
(Fernandina or Narborough). The island is named after the Spanish king Ferdinand, who sponsored the journey of Christopher Columbus. The area of the island is 642 km², the highest point is 1494 m above sea level. It is the youngest and westernmost island of the archipelago. On May 13, 2005, a new volcanic eruption began on the island, ash and a cloud of water vapor rose to a height of up to 7 km, and lava flowed towards the sea. On a small stretch of land called Punta Espinosa, there are hundreds of marine iguanas. The island also has Galapagos cormorants, Galapagos penguins, pelicans and sea lions. Frozen lava flows and mangroves coexist on the island. Fernandina is the third largest island located in the westernmost part of the archipelago. Interesting places of the island – La Cumbre volcano, Punta Espinosa (the world’s largest colony of marine iguanas,
(Floreana or Santa Maria or Charles). The island got its name in honor of the first President of Ecuador, Juan José Flores, during whose reign the Galapagos Islands came under the jurisdiction of Ecuador. The island is also called Santa Maria after one of the caravels of Christopher Columbus. The area of the island is 173 km², the highest point is 640 m above sea level. This island was one of the first to be inhabited and has quite a rich history. From December to May, flamingos and green sea turtles nest on the island. The Hawaiian typhoon (Pterodroma phaeopygia), a seabird that spends most of its life away from the coast, also nests here. At Post Office Bay in the 18th century, whalers kept oak barrels, which they used as postal containers sent by ship to Europe or the United States.
(Española or Hood). The island is also known as Hood. The island was named Hispaniola in honor of Spain. The area of the island is 60 km², the maximum height is 206 m above sea level. This is the oldest island of the archipelago, its age is estimated at 3.5 million years. It is also the southernmost island. The remoteness of the island from the rest of the group contributes to the large number of endemics on the island and adaptability to the natural resources of the island. Iguanas in Hispaniola appear only during the mating season.
The Galapagos albatross (Phoebastria irrorata), a rare bird species, lives here. The island’s steep cliffs are perfect for taking off for these large birds that feed off the coast of Ecuador and Peru. This is the only place in the world where wavy albatrosses nest.
There are two sites for visitors in Hispaniola. Gardner Bay has a nice beach and a place for swimming and snorkeling. In the Punta Suarez area, you can observe wildlife with a large variety of local fauna.
Santa Maria (Floreana, Charles) is an island located in the southern part of the archipelago. Its main attraction is the Devil’s Crown, the crater of an extinct volcano, divided into three prongs and partially submerged in water. The surroundings of the crater are ideal for diving. In addition, sperm whales, killer whales and dolphins are found in the coastal waters of the island, and in Shark Bay, which washes the shores of the town of Punto Cormoran, both relatively harmless reef sharks and whale sharks are found. Turtles lay their eggs on the white sands of the local beach from December to May, pink flamingos and a variety of aquatic and terrestrial birds also live here.