Española Island, Galápagos
Oldest Island and Albatross Haven
Information about Española
Española is the most southerly of the Galápagos Islands and is probably one of the oldest. In fact, geologists have estimated it to be over 4 million years old! Over many thousands of years, thanks to tectonic activity, the island has slowly drifted away from the volcanic hot spot under the Galápagos where it first formed and its volcano lost its energy source, becoming extinct. Once the source of fresh lava ceased, the weather began its inexorable process of erosion, now making Española unusually flat and low-lying compared to most other Galápagos islands.
Española Island enjoys a really good variety and quantity of interesting species, and its visitor sites are therefore among the most popular in the Galápagos. Because of its isolation, Española is home to many unique species, including the Española Mocking Bird, the Española Lava Lizard, and the famous Waved Albatross. The Española Giant Tortoise was saved from extinction, and this has become one of Galápagos’ best known conservation successes. Española is probably most well-known for being the only known breeding ground for the entire world population of Waved Albatrosses, now a critically endangered species. Their population is currently being regularly monitored, and steps to protect their habitat are being taken by the National Park.
Interesting facts about Española
The world's only breeding ground for Waved Albatross
The oldest Galápagos Island - 4 million years!
Popular with visitors thanks to many unique species
The Española Tortoise was saved from extinction when only 14 were left
Pictures of Española
Highlights in Española
Accessible only by panga, the tiny Osborn Islet is a great place for snorkeling and swimming. Large schools of colorful tropical fish are often found in the waters around Osborn, and it's common to see Angel Fish and Parrot Fish among many others.
Suarez Point is on the western tip of Espanola and is one of the most wildlife-packed of all the visitor sites in the Galápagos. After a wet landing on a beach that's frequented by Galápagos Sea Lions you can enjoy a 2 mile hike along a trail that will take you up around the cliffs.
The range of wildlife on show here is simply stunning. This is a great place to view the remarkable Galápagos Blue-Footed Booby as well as their cousins the Nazca Booby. You can also see the rare Waved Albatross at Suarez Point, where they use the cliff tops to launch themselves into the air over the ocean.
Another famous natural feature here is the blowhole. This geological formation funnels the incoming waves into a chamber where it gets compressed and then the air and seawater are forced out at great speed, making a spectacular plume of water shoot high into the air.
Gardner Bay is a wonderfully sheltered area on the eastern shore of Espanola Island. It boasts one of the best beaches in the Galápagos, with superb white sand. There is nowhere better on the archipelago to simply sit back, relax, and take in the marvels of the wildlife around you.
The beach here is home to a large colony of Galápagos Sea Lions, who seem to love sunbathing on the beach as much as we humans do! As well as the fun-loving Sea Lions you can also find Galápagos Mockingbirds here. These birds are full of curiosity, and have been known to come and investigate bootlaces, camera straps and other equipment!
The wonderful Galápagos Green Sea Turtle can also often be seen in the shallows here, and along with a large variety of colorful reef fish, this makes Gardner Bay a great place to swim and snorkel.
Animals in Española
Our trips to Española