Chinese Hat is a Galapagos Islands visitor site, which is known as “Sombrero Chino” in Spanish. When you see the island from a distance, you’ll soon understand why it has been named in this way, as the island is shaped like a traditional Chinese hat. The shape has arisen due to the fact that the island was created through volcanic activity. It was formed from lava and rocks which came from an erupting volcano. The intriguing shape can be most easily seen if the island is approached from the north. Chinese Hat Galapagos visitor site is not far from the south eastern coast line of Santiago Island.
Here we will cover everything you need to know about a visit to Chinese Hat Galapagos, including things to do, how to visit, when to go, what wildlife you will see and also our helpful Insider recommendations for a visit here.
At Chinese Hat, one of the main highlights is the activity of walking along the delightful trail. Leaving the beach, this heads past a lava field and towards a stunning cliff. The trail is not very long (just 0.3 miles / 0.4 kilometers), and it is well worth doing for the lovely views and the wildlife along the way. The scenery is delightful, and there are some excellent photographic opportunities, both of the landscape and the wildlife on this island.
Snorkeling is also a common activity at the Chinese Hat visitor site. One of the great things about snorkeling here is that the water is relatively deep, while also being relatively protected, due to its location, so on occasion it is possible to see white-tipped reef sharks here. This can be a real highlight for many.
For some who are on Galapagos Islands cruises that offer kayaking, this may sometimes be a place where you can enjoy this watersport. You may very well be able to observe wildlife from the kayak, as the waters can be quite clear here at times.
Finally, if you are lucky, your cruise itinerary may also have some time factored in to spend on the stunning white sand beach here. If you have time to relax you can swim, and enjoy some sunshine before getting back on your yacht.
Chinese Hat has a wet landing.
Chinese Hat can only be visited from a Galapagos Islands cruise. This means that it is not possible to visit on a day trip from any of the inhabited islands while on a Galapagos land-based trip. Be aware that not all Galapagos Islands cruises visit Chinese Hat, so if you want to go there, you need to ensure it is included on your itinerary.
The waters around Chinese Hat are typically fairly calm, making a visit here enjoyable in any season. Generally speaking, the wildlife also does not vary greatly throughout the year, so anytime is good for a visit. However, it is worth considering that generally, the currents in the seas around the Galapagos Islands are stronger in the colder, drier season, and especially in the months of August and September. While this may on the one hand not be as appealing, on the other hand, during the colder drier months (June to November), the Humboldt current brings with it more nutrients to the ocean in this area, which in turn attracts more wildlife. On the other hand, there is also plenty of wildlife in the hotter, wetter season, so this is not a big distinguishing factor for visiting this site, necessarily.
The wildlife at Chinese Hat rarely disappoints. One creature you are likely to see here is the colorful Sally Lightfoot crab, scuttling around near the water’s edge. There is also a colony of marine iguanas, and some sea lions that also reside in a colony here. You may also see penguins here, and oyster catchers too.
Snorkelers might get to see white-tipped reef sharks. Very lucky snorkelers may get to see a Galapagos penguin under the water, though this is less common.
Chinese Hat has some rough areas on its paths, due to the lava. For this reason, our main Insider’s recommendation for this island is that you bring good, sturdy walking shoes for a visit here.
Another Insider recommendation we have for visiting this spot, is to make sure that it is included on your cruise itinerary if you want to visit there. At Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders, we are experts in Galapagos cruises, and we can help make sure that you book the right cruise that includes this Galapagos visitor’s site if it is high on your must-see list.
Contact us today to book your Galapagos Islands cruise or find out more!