Española (Hood)

There is a history on Española of highly successful programs to restore the population of the Hood giant tortoise rescued from the brink of extinction and the opuntia cactus on which the tortoises feed, but which were at one time lost to grazing goats.

Española is special for a number of reasons, but it is a particularly important Galapagos cruise stop from March to December, as it plays host to nearly all of the world’s giant waved albatross population that comes here to breed.

Visitors’ arrival at Punta Suárez is greeted by dozens of sea lions relaxing on the beach and the spectacularly colored marine iguanas that bask in the sun to regain their optimum body temperature. Their reds, greens, pinks and turquoise, are perhaps only matched by the equally colorful scarlet and blue of the plentiful Sally Lightfoot crabs that scuttle about the rocks and pools. The trail continues amidst superb scenery to a dramatic blowhole that, depending on the tide, shoots spray some 25 m up into the air.

The second landing point on Española is Gardner Bay, which has one of the longest beaches in the Galapagos. The 2 km of white coral sand meeting with turquoise colored sea is an enticing place to relax and simply watch the local inhabitants pass by. Those drawn to the water will be rewarded by an opportunity to swim with the ever-playful juvenile sea lions.

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