"Bird Island" Isla Genovesa by toonsarah

Isla Genovesa Travel Guide: 24 reviews and 166 photos

Red-footed Booby

Genovesa, also known by the English name of Tower, is unusual among Galápagos Islands in having not a volcanic cone. Instead most of the volcano is submerged and surrounds an ocean-filled caldera on the south west side of the island. Due to its remote location and lack of fresh water the island was less visited in the past and has remained unaltered by man; there are no introduced species on the island.

Genovesa is a must for bird-lovers and keen photographers especially, as it attracts an enormous number of ocean-going seabirds that come here to nest: Great Frigatebirds, Red-Footed Boobies, Swallow-Tailed Gulls and Storm Petrels all breed here by the thousands.

The journey here is a long one, and consequently it remains less visited than some of the other Galápagos Islands. The small engines of some of the cheaper cruise boats cannot reach it in a comfortable amount of time, and the larger boats (over 40 passengers) are not able to enter the natural harbour formed by its caldera. But if you find an itinerary that includes this remote spot, go for it!

This was the fourth island we visited on Galápagos cruise on the Angelito, and one of my favourites. There are two visitor sites here so we spent most of the day, apart from lunch, on the island. In the morning we had a wet landing on the white sand of Darwin Bay, at the heart of the caldera. The trail here is at first sandy and later over rocky lava. The first part was especially awesome ? lined with red mangrove trees, in every one of which several Red-footed Boobies were nesting, and posing for our cameras.

Later in the morning there was an opportunity for snorkelling in the caldera but I decided to spend some time relaxing on deck and catching up with my journal ? not a bad decision as it turned out, as visibility was poor and those who went said that it was the least good of all the snorkelling sessions of our week on the Angelito.

Our afternoon landing was at Prince Philip Steps, where a steep but short climb leads to a trail across the cliffs. Here we saw Nazca Boobies, more Red-footed Boobies and juvenile Great Frigatebirds here, but perhaps most notable were the short-eared owls which here are not nocturnal as you would usually expect.

This is one of a series of pages about the various islands we visited on our Galápagos cruise. In those individual island pages I aim to describe in more detail what we did on each island, the environment and landscape, and the wildlife to be found there. But for detailed descriptions of the animals and plants etc I have included links to my main Galápagos page, rather than repeat myself too much here.

To follow our trail here as we experienced it, please read my tips in order, starting with our journey here.

And when you have finished your visit to Genovesa, do continue to the next island on our itinerary, Santiago

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:A birdwatcher?s paradise
  • Last visit to Isla Genovesa: Nov 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (7)

Comments (4)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 15, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Good that you went to this remote island, even if it did take all night on the boat.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Feb 15, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      It was well worth the journey - one of the most interesting of all the islands!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Sarah, Another interesting page. Love all the wildlife you saw!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Jan 15, 2013 at 1:15 AM

      Thank you Dee. This was one of my favourite islands - so so many wonderful birds :-)

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Dec 31, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    Fascinating island, Sarah :-)) I like your close up photos very much! And look forward to continue my journey with Santiago Island later.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Dec 31, 2012 at 6:23 AM

      Thank you so much! It's not too hard to get close-ups when you can get so close to many of the animals - sometimes my zoom was too close and I had to widen the lens again!!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Isla Genovesa is definitely a highlight on a visit to Galapagos Islands. Also for us this was the least good snorkeling spot during the cruise, because the bad visibility.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Dec 23, 2012 at 3:35 AM

      It was one of the top islands for us, for sure! Thanks for visiting my page :-)


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