Santiago Island

This official name is used less often than the old Spanish name (Santiago), or the English name (James). A favorite island for pirates and whalers, Santiago has a long human history as well as some outstanding opportunities for wildlife viewing. The island, which consists of two overlapping volcanoes, has an area of 585 km² and a maximum altitude of 907 metres, atop the northwestern shield volcano.

This island does not offer a lot of vegetation but instead a splendid variety of seabirds, marine iguanas and Galapagos fur seal. The black lava shoreline that is called James Bay was already explored by Darwin himself. Here you also find the once inhabited port Puerto Egas and the Sugarloaf Mountain. From its crater was extracted salt.

The island was further denigrated in the l920s and 1960s by two salt mines. Nevertheless, Santiago remains one of the most intriguing islands in the Galapagos, with numerous visitor sites chock-full of wildlife.

Puerto Egas

A visit to Puerto Egas begins with a wet landing on the dark sand beaches of James Bay. Puerto Egas also known as South James Bay, located on Santiago's western shore, packs a lot into one fun-filled visitor site. A black-sand beach, remnants of the island's habitated history, amazing geology, and unique wildlife all cluster in South James Bay.

visit begins with a walk along the rocky coast giving visitors the opportunity to view some of the Galapagos Island's best tide pools. Sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish including the endemic four-eyed blenny can be seen. The walk also presents visitors with a variety of shore birds, marine iguanas, sally light foot crabs and sea lions.

Espumilla Beach

Visitors who now come to Espumilla Beach come in search of birds rather than wate.Trimmed with verdant mangrove trees, Playa Espumilla's long, golden-sand beach is one of the Galapagos's most idyllic spots. Get there via a wet landing at the northern end of James Bay. A walk through a mangrove forest leads to a lagoon usually inhabited by a group of flamingos as well as pintail dicks and common stilts. This is a nesting site as well as a feeding area for the flamingos. Sea turtles dig their nests at the edge of the mangroves, and care must be taken not to walk on these large depressed areas in the dark-hued sand.

Sullivan Bay

Located on the eastern coast of James Island, across from Bartolome. Sullivan Bay's unearthly topography is what fascinates most visitors. This eastern shore of Santiago consists of a 120-year-old basaltic pahoehoe lava flow, producing solid black-rock fields that look as if they just cooled yesterday.

The Sullivan Bay lava field is a variety of interesting patterns. The shapes and textures of trees, which once existed there and hornitos caused when pockets of gas or water trapped under the lava exploded. The Sullivan Bay lava is known a panoehoe (Hawaiian for rope). This thin-skinned lava's molten material cools down after an eruption causing the surface materials to buckle creating a rope like appearance. panoehoe lava is rare to the rest of the world, but is common to the volcanoes of Hawaii and the Galapagos Islands

Buccaneer Cove

Located on the northwest corner of the Santiago Island, Buccaneer Cove was a haven for pirates during the 1600s and early 1700s.

Fresh water was often available in lava rock depressions, and the cove was a convenient place to keep boats.

Although today tour boats don't land in the cove, many pass by slowly, letting passengers enjoy the area's towering cliff walls rock formations. The shoreline is now populated by feral goats that do as much damage to the landscape as the pirates did on the high seas.



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