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Genovesa Island, Galapagos

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Genovesa Island is one of the far outlying islands to the north east from Santa Cruz Island. It is sometimes named “Tower Island”. Genovesa Island covers an area of about five square miles (14 kilometers square) and its highest altitude is 210 feet (64 meters), making it a relatively flat island to visit. The island is shaped like a horse shoe, with the visitor sites all located to the south of the island, in the Darwin Bay area – indeed, in the hollow area of the horse shoe shape. Genovesa Island weather is much the same as elsewhere in the Galapagos Islands archipelago, and you are never likely to feel particularly chilly here.


Getting to Genovesa Island

Since Genovesa Island is very far away from most of the other Galapagos Islands it is not possible to visit it on a day trip. Therefore, those doing Galapagos land-based options will not be able to visit it. This island is only accessible to those visiting the islands on Galapagos cruises, some of the cruises that include a visit to Genovesa are the luxurious Grand Majestic, or the modern Infinity Galapagos boat. For some bird lovers in particular this may swing the balance from doing a Galapagos land based trip towards taking a cruise, since the island is a particularly lovely place to view a wide variety of bird life.



Genovesa Island History

There is little human history for Genovesa Island, as this place was not settled by people. However, the island does have a rich geological history. Evidence can be seen of relatively recent lava flows on the island near the volcano. In fact, the island was formed by the volcano erupting in the past. This has led to the development of a submerged crater. This can be seen when you arrive at Darwin Bay, and the bay is flanked by steep cliffs.

Genovesa Island Highlights

One of the most fabulous highlights of Genovesa Island is the fact that it has a tremendous amount of bird species there. This makes it an excellent place to visit for even the most amateur birdwatcher. The abundance of bird life on Genovesa Island really does set it apart from the other islands you will be likely to visit. Due to this fact, the island has become known as the “bird island”.


Genovesa Island Wildlife

As highlighted above, the main wildlife on Genovesa Island is bird life – which is very plentiful indeed. Of note, there is a very large population of red footed boobies on Genovesa Island – this is unusual, and you are unlikely to see this elsewhere on your Galapagos Islands cruise. This aside, there are a wide range of other birds to see too. These include the Nazca booby, red-billed tropicbirds, mockingbirds, finches, storm petrels and swallow tailed gulls. You will also be sure to see a lot of frigate birds here. Some lucky visitors may even get to see a short eared owl.

In terms of animal life on Genovesa Island, there are some marine iguanas. Interestingly the marine iguanas on this island grow to a smaller size than those found elsewhere in the Galapagos Islands.



Genovesa Island Activities

Genovesa Island activities are similar to those elsewhere in the Galapagos archipelago. However, given the tremendous array of bird life, one of the activities that is particularly special on Genovesa Island is the bird watching. Even those that do not consider themselves to be bird watchers will be likely to find this activity rather special on Genovesa Island.

Bird watching aside, the Prince Phillip’s Steps Galapagos visitor site and the Darwin Bay site both have trails that can be followed, and along the way, the naturalist guide will explain the wildlife and geology of this fascinating island. It is worth taking these walks as there is a lot to see along the way, and the bird life here is very interesting.

When visiting Darwin Bay, a very popular activity is snorkeling, particularly as the marine life here may include the chance to spot hammerhead sharks. The Darwin Bay marine visitor site is also a popular spot for divers, for much the same reason. If you don’t see hammerhead sharks you might still get to see starfish on the rocks, and possibly white tipped reef sharks or rays.

Once you’re done with snorkeling, walking and maybe diving, Darwin Bay is also a nice spot to relax on the beach for a while, taking in the sights and sounds of this lovely island. Of course, you may be sharing this Galapagos beach with sea lions who will likely also be enjoying the sunshine and the surf here, but that just adds to the loveliness of the experience.



Genovesa Island Visitor Points

Genovesa Island visitor points include two land-based visitor sites and one marine site. These are as follows:

Prince Phillip’s Steps

Prince Phillip’s Steps is so-named because Prince Phillip visited here in the 1960s and I the 1980s. Noteworthy about this site are the steep steps through rocks to a path, along which you will get to see two species of boobies. There is a trail leading towards a plain formed by lava as well. The steepness may not be so enjoyable for some, but it is well worth the effort to climb to the top, for the sites that lie beyond the steps.

Darwin Bay 

This Galapagos visitor site is formed of a small sandy beach, made from coral. From the beach there is a brief trail, and walking along this, visitors pass by a lagoon up to a viewpoint of the cliffs. While on the walk be sure to take care to not tread on any bird eggs which may be on the path.

Darwin Bay (Marine Site)

Here, the marine site, in which visitors can snorkel, provides opportunities to see a variety of wildlife including hammerhead sharks, turtles, sea lions, and perhaps a ray too.

Genovesa Island Hotels & Restaurants

Genovesa Island is not populated and there are no settlements here. Therefore there are no Genovesa Island hotels. Equally, there are no Genovesa Island restaurants. When visiting this island, you will be staying on your Galapagos cruise ship, and eating there too. If you would like to visit Genovesa Island, make sure to contact our local experts, and let us assist you in finding the perfect Galapagos trip for your visit to Genovesa Island and other amazing sites of the Archipelago.

By Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders
By Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders
Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders is a leading travel company based in Ecuador and run by local tour guides and travel specialists, we are happy to provide expert and free trip planning advice, no commitment fee involved.
Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders