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Bartholomew Island, Galápagos

Picture Perfect Bartholomew

What you need to know about Bartholomew Island, Galápagos

The Island of Bartholomew (or Bartolome in Spanish) is a rather barren island. It doesn't have much in the way of vegetation, and the native species consist of a few lava lizards and the insects they feed from. So why is it such a popular destination?

Simple - what it lacks in wildlife it more than makes up for in stunning landscape. Originally named after the second lieutenant of the Beagle (and friend to Charles Darwin) Sir Bartholomew Sullivan, the island is home to one of the Galápagos' most recognisable geological features, the famous Pinnacle Rock. The rock was formed by molten lava from an undersea volcano that rapidly cooled into thin layers of basalt, forming this distinctive and well-photographed landmark. The Rock even had a starring role in the 2003 Hollywood film "Master and Commander" with Russell Crowe! Today visitors have two choices of how to enjoy the views of this picture perfect island.

The beach site is wonderful for snorkelling and watching the abundant marine life. The more adventurous can hike up to a high viewpoint from which the views are breathtaking. Despite not being home to many land species, the Island has a colony of Galápagos Penguins. These little creatures are the second smallest penguin species in the world, and their numbers were unfortunately decimated in 1982 by El Nino when number fell to less than 500. Since then they have staged a comeback, but they are still monitored by the National Park to ensure their continued recovery. Other species to be seen around Bartholomew include Green Turtles, sea lions and white-tipped sharks.

Interesting facts about Bartholomew Island

The most famous (and most photographed) feature on the Islands - Pinnacle Rock

Pinnacle Rock starred in the Russell Crowe blockbuster film "Master and Commander"

Visitors can swim and snorkel on the northern beach where green turtles nest from January to March

The 600m trail to the high viewing point will give you photographs of a lifetime

Pictures of Bartholomew Island, Galápagos

A walk on Bartholomew, Galápagos
Bartholomew - seaman journey - gal0176

Highlights and Visitorpoints on Bartholomew

A walk on Bartholomew
A walk on Bartholomew

Bartholomew (known as Bartolomé locally) is the most popular excursion for Galápagos visitors, and its iconic scenery is the most photographed in the whole archipelago.

To start your walk on this island you will land in the small bay opposite the famous Pinnacle Rock. You then start the climb to the 375ft peak of Bartholomew. You’ll travel along a half mile trail that includes a series of wooden steps that have been built by the National Park Service to protect the ground here from erosion caused by tourists hiking to the summit.

When you arrive at the top of island the spectacular views will have made your efforts worthwhile. Your Galapatours expert guide will point out all the landmarks you will see from here - Pinnacle Rock itself, jutting skywards. The huge black lava flows of Sullivan Bay. The islands of Daphne Major and Daphne Minor.

On the way back down, you will be able to recognise the different volcanic formations evident on the island, such as tuff cones and volcanic spatter. You'll also see some remarkable examples of the Galápagos' ability to highlight the adaptation of species. For example the  bushes that all look dead are actually very much alive, with leaves covered with special grey hairs that help to reflect the harsh sun and reduce moisture loss for the plants.

Back at the beach there is excellent snorkeling, thanks to the underwater caves and rocks in the area. You will see various sharks, rays and tropical fish. You may also see Galápagos Penguins swimming with you!

Animals you might see on Bartholomew

Our trips to Bartholomew

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