Genovesa Wildlife

Genovesa Island

Also known as Tower or as bird Island in the Galapagos

Genovesa, one of the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, has many unique features, which make it one of the most interesting places to visit in the area. Travelers who are looking for special, peculiar and exciting experiences love to come to this small but geologically varied destination in the region. If you are a traveler off the beaten trail then you might love many breathtaking marvels of Nature you are likely to find at Genovesa. Known for its exceptional beauty and a long list of fun activities, this place has created its own fan following amongst admirers today.

The Geological uniqueness leaves a lasting impression on travelers, it occupies about 5 square miles of the area but every nook and corner has its sensational charm and aura, which draws you to it. Genovesa itself has the shape of a horseshoe and is known for its volcanic caldera, which is unique in its own right. The lavas found here are more identical in chemistry to those that one finds in ridges in the middle of the ocean. That’s in sharp contrast to other oceanic lavas, which is one of the reasons why many travelers who have an avid interest in geology, keep coming back here for more. The caldera wall has collapsed to form the Great Darwin Bay, which is cradled by beautiful cliffs.

There’s Lake Arcturus, right in the middle, and it’s filled with salt water. The astonishing thing is that the sediments that are found in this lake are about 6000 years old. The Bird Island makes for the perfect destination for wildlife lovers. The name has been fondly given to the place because of its natural habitat, including huge bird colonies that make their home here. Frigatebirds are found in plenty, and one can also spot tropicbirds, storm petrels, local Mockingbirds, swallow-tailed gulls, and Nazca Boobies. But one of the greatest attractions of the place remains the gorgeous Red-Footed Booby. In fact, it’s probably the best place in the archipelago to spot this vivacious bird found in the region.

When travelers follow the Prince Philip’s Steps, a brilliant steep path, they find their way through seabird colonies that are always buzzing with activity. And the path leads to cliffs, which are absolutely beautiful. You can indulge in activities like swimming, snorkeling, and diving when here, and make the most of your time. Known for its peculiarity and natural beauty, Genovesa is a place to visit when you are in the region.

Genovesa Island Tourist Information

  • Reaching the Island: You can only visit the Galapagos island of Genovesa on a liveaboard cruise, no day tour options are available
  • Landing: Dry Landing (El Barranco or Prince Phillips Steps), Wet Landing (Darwin Bay)
  • Wildlife Highlights: red-footed boobies, frigate birds, storm petrels, tropic birds, sea lions, hammerhead sharks, short-eared owls
  • Activity Highlights: Hiking, Birdwatching, Swimming and snorkeling
  • Conditions: At El Barranco or Prince Phillips steps Walk on ruff terrain up the hill on the non level ground, Beach landing swimming and snorkeling (Darwin Bay)
  • Notes: This is one of the best sites for birdwatching in the Galapagos Islands and perhaps the only opportunity for spotting the red-footed booby.

Expedition Cruise itineraries that visit Genovesa Island in 2021:

Genovesa Visitor Sites

Prince Phillips Steps

Galapagos islands visitor site – nesting red-footed boobies

At El Barranco, also known as Prince Philip’s Steps, visitors climb to El Barranco plateau which is part of the stretch of land that surrounds Darwin Bay on its eastern side. Everywhere one looks, there are Masked boobies on the ground and Red-Footed boobies in the trees.
Beyond a broad lava field that extends towards the ocean, thousands of storm petrels flutter like swarms of locusts, and Short-eared Owls hunt down the more inexperienced ones.
Snorkeling can be done at the beach or alongside the cliffs. The water inside the bay is very rich in nutrients, so one never knows what may be encountered. Tower is one of the most fantastic islands because of its animals, its landscape, its remoteness and its unspoiled nature.

Darwin Bay

Great place for snorkeling on Genovesa Island

Darwin Bay was created when the island’s large crater collapsed below sea level. Landing on the white coral beach in the middle of the bay requires a wet landing. Once ashore, the number of birds seems overwhelming. Masked Boobies soar overhead, Great Frigatebirds display their pouches while resting on the nearby rocks and plants, Mockingbirds Galapagos Black volcanic rockscamper quickly across the sand. It’s easy to see why Darwin Bay is a favorite of birders.
Beyond the beach, a series of tide pools carved out of black volcanic rock offer Wandering Tattlers, Lava Gulls, Whimbrels and Turnstones a place to fish. Yellow-Crowned, Black-Crowned and Lava Herons and White and Yellow Warblers have also been seen in the area.
The trail follows the coast through the Salt Bush and Mangrove nesting area of the Great Frigatebirds and Red-Footed Boobies. Unlike the Masked and Blue-Footed Boobies who nest on the ground, the Red-Footed Boobies can be seen nesting in trees between September and July. Boobies and Frigatebirds share an adversarial relationship. They nest in the same areas. Boobies frequently destroy the Frigatebird nests, while Frigatebirds feed on Booby eggs.
Continuing on the trail, visitors climb gradually to the edge of the cliff seeing Red-Foots nesting in the Mangrove trees below. Bird watching from the trail includes sightings of Sharp-Beaked Finches, Large Cactus Finches, Large Ground Finches, Galapagos Doves and Swallow-Tailed Gulls. Reaching the end the trail at the cliff’s edge offers an incredible view of the island and the many birds living there.

Recommended itineraries that visit Genovesa Island

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Frequently Asked Questions

What animals live on Darwin Island?

Darwin Island is home to a wide variety of wildlife on both land and in its waters. Divers will be thrilled by the island's diverse shark population, including scalloped hammerheads and whale sharks. The island is home to colonies of land and marine Iguanas as well as frigatebirds and swallow-tailed geese. The vibrant community of sea lions and fur seals is also home to Galapagos Penguins. Darwin Island's unique setting and conservation efforts make it a great place to see a wide variety of animals that have evolved to live in this remote, pristine habitat.

How to get to Darwin Island?

Typically, to reach Darwin Island, most travelers will fly into Ecuador and land in Quito or Guayaquil. Domestic flights will take travelers to Baltra and San Cristobal, the main Galapagos Islands airports. You must take a multi-day liveaboard, which is known for its itineraries that explore the Galapagos Islands and Darwin Island. It is important to prepare well, adhere to Galapagos National Park rules, and understand your itinerary. Darwin Island is home to a wide variety of marine life and birds, including hammerhead sharks, red-footed boobies, and other species. The journey is characterized by responsible tourism, environmental protection, and respect for the environment.

Why is Darwin Island off limits?

Darwin Island and several other Galapagos islands have restricted access to protect their fragile, extraordinary ecosystems. The regulations protect the unique species of animals, breeding areas, and plants that have developed in isolation on the Galapagos Islands and can be disrupted by humans. Controlling access is a way for authorities to stop habitat destruction and the introduction and disruption of wildlife. The Galapagos Islands are committed to sustainable tourism, conservation of the natural and cultural resources of the islands, and a commitment towards the preservation of the Galapagos Islands. This is why they have adopted this approach.

Can you stay on Darwin Island?

Darwin Island is not a place where visitors can stay overnight. It is not possible to stay overnight on Darwin Island because it's a protected area that lacks infrastructure or accommodations for tourists. Darwin Island is best explored by liveaboards, which offer diving or day excursions on the island. Overnight stays are usually spent in inhabited Galapagos islands. The regulations were put in place to protect the fragile ecosystems on the Galapagos Islands and reduce human impact. If you are planning to return soon, please check with local tour operators or the Galapagos National Park Authority for updates and changes.

Where is Darwin Island?

Darwin Island is also called Isla Darwin by Spanish speakers. It's one of the Galapagos Islands. The island is situated in the Pacific Ocean about 0.75 miles (0.12 km) northwest of Wolf Island. Galapagos Islands is part of Ecuador, located in the eastern Pacific Ocean approximately 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) west of Ecuador's mainland. The Galapagos Islands are famous for the unique wildlife that they have. They played an important role in Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection and evolution.

What country is Darwin Island in?

Darwin Island is a part of the Galapagos Islands. This archipelago in the Pacific Ocean is located on the Pacific Ocean. Galapagos Islands is a part of Ecuador. Darwin Island, therefore, is located in Ecuador. Charles Darwin was a famous naturalist who conducted research on the islands during the nineteenth century. This contributed to Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection.