"Santiago - Isla San Salvador" Isla San Salvador by MalenaN

Isla San Salvador Travel Guide: 10 reviews and 70 photos

On the 6th day with M/S Cachalote we had visited Cerro Dragón on Isla Santa Cruz in the morning and there we had a nice and sunny weather. Unfortunately there was no wind, because if there had been wind we would have used the sails for the first and only time during the cruise, when navigating to Santiago. Approaching the island sailing would have been very nice. Now we used the engine as usual and it took 2h from Cerro Dragón to Santiago and Sullivan Bay.

As we approached Santiago the sky had become very grey and it seemed the rest of the day would be like that. But after lunch and some rest it had luckily become clear with blue sky again. Also the night continued to be clear with one of those beautiful skies you never see near civilisations. Even if there were some lights on the boat you could see the Milky Way, millions of stars and shooting-stars. Amazing!

Santiago (Isla San Salvador) is the 4th largest of the Galapagos Islands and it is also one of four islands that Charles Darwin visited in 1835. Sullivan Bay, which is the only place we visited on Santiago, is situated on the east coast of the island. In the afternoon we went snorkelling from the panga along the coast. We were in the water for 1.5 hours and it was excellent snorkelling with an abundant marine life.

After snorkelling we went back to Cachalote to change and then we went out in the panga again to go ashore. It was a dry landing. In the water we had seen a rich marine life, but on land you will not see much vegetation or wildlife. Sullivan Bay is mostly visited for its geology. Here there is a trail over a huge lava field, created during an eruption of the volcano in 1897. If you look close at the solidified lava you will see many interesting shapes and patterns. And at some places you can see how oxidation has coloured the lava. A few plants like lava cactus, Mollugo and Oily Pectis, has started to colonize the lava field.

Just off the coast at Sullivan Bay is the small island of San Bartolomé, and on San Bartolomé there are penguins along the coast facing Sullivan Bay. When we went back to Cachalote we could see them from the panga.

  • Last visit to Isla San Salvador: Jul 2011
  • Intro Updated Jan 2, 2012
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Reviews (4)

Comments (9)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    Sounds like you had fun in the water here! Those penguins must be a similar size to the Australian fairy Penguins. They are only small.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Feb 1, 2014 at 2:52 AM

      The snorkelling was amazing! Last year I snorkelled at another place not too far away from that place, but I could not enjoy it as much as in 2011. When visiting Galapagos in 2013 I was unfortunately freezing too much when snorkelling.

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    Snorkeling at Sullivan Bay seems to be fantastic! You saw lots of big fish and other creatures, and best of all, a penguin swimming in the water next to you :)

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Another excellent one with great pics!

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Jan 20, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    What a great place to visit ! Some day I have to go there as well !

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jan 13, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Being so close to the wildlife must have been amazing, and the snorkeling sounds incredible! Nice photos!

  • MM212's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Incredible photos of Galápagos! I almost went there in 1990 on a school trip...

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Great that you had such a clear night with the Milky Way, millions of stars and shooting-stars! And that you went snorkelling and saw the Galapagos Penguins.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Jan 3, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    The cruise we are thinking of booking includes Santiago - thanks for the helpful info, especially about the good snorkelling here. It also goes to Bartolome, and those penguins look so cute, I really hope to see them :-) A shame you didn't get to sail though

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    It's great you've been in Galápagos Islands! Thanks for sharing!~

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