Bartolome Island



Bartolome Island

Bartolomé Island was named after Sir Bartholomew James Sulivan, a friend of Charles Darwin who served as principal surveyor and second-lieutenant aboard the HMS Beagle. Bartolomé is a barren islet in Sullivan Bay to the east of Santiago Island and home to a distinctive and recognizable site of the archipelago known as Pinnacle Rock. Pinnacle Rock, a volcanic cone, was formed when magma was expelled from an underwater volcano, the sea cooled the hot lava, which then exploded and came together to form this huge rock made up of many thin layers of basalt.


Bartolome Island

Bartolomé is the most visited and most photographed island in Galapagos. Visitors have access to two sites: one that involves a climb to an incredible viewpoint and the other at the beach where snorkeling and swimming is enjoyed and often accompanied by colorful fish and playful sea lions as well as sea turtles. Birdwatchers should be on the lookout for Galapagos Penguins, herons, and Galapagos Hawks.


The Galapagos Penguins, the second smallest penguin species in the world, have established a small breeding colony in a cave behind Pinnacle Rock. In 1982, these creatures suffered a massive decline during El Niño when the overall population in Galapagos declined from nearly 15,000 to fewer than 500 birds and they have been slow to recover. The most recent cause of concern came in July 2008 when a Plasmodium parasite species was found in Galapagos Penguins. The penguin population in Bartolomé continues to be monitored to ensure their health and long survival.

Bartolome Island


The landing sites for Bartolome are opposite Pinnacle Rock, on the northern side of the island. A hike along a 600-m trail and climb up a wooden staircase, constructed to help prevent erosion, leads to the 114-m summit of Bartolome where spectacular views of Pinnacle Rock, the immense black lava flows at Sullivan Bay and the rest of Santiago Island, and Daphne Major and Minor can be seen. Along the way, various volcanic formations including spatter and tuff cones and lava flows branch out from the path.


Swimming is allowed on the northern beach, one of the smaller Green Sea Turtle nesting beaches in the archipelago (nesting season is from January to March). A short trail through the vegetation leads to the southern beach where swimming is not allowed, but stingrays, Spotted Eagle Rays and Black-tipped Sharks can be seen. White-tipped Sharks are present close to shore at both beaches.




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