Fernandina Island, Galápagos
Untouched Volcanic Beauty
What you need to know about Fernandina Island, Galápagos
The youngest and most pristine of the Galápagos Islands, Fernandina is a favorite place to visit for Galapatours clients. Thanks to the rich, cold water currents that surround her, she's home to many wonderful species, including flightless cormorants, Galápagos Penguins, and land and marine iguanas.
The third largest island in the archipelago, she first appeared on hand-made maps by the British buccaneer Ambrose Cowley in 1684. He named her Narborough Island, but her Spanish name, Fernandina, was given to honour King Fernando of Spain, most famous as the sponsor of the voyages of Christopher Columbus to the New World. Fernandina is the Galápagos’ most volcanically active island and her last eruption was records less than 10 years ago. Many early visitors to the Galápagos Islands commented on Fernandina’s dramatic changes of landscape, her smoking craters, and tales of violent volcanic eruptions. The reason for all this activity is that she sits right over the centre of the volcanic hotspot that's responsible for creating the entire Galápagos archipelago.
Fernandina's volcano is known as La Cumbre, and the summit crater is an amazing 6.5km across. Recent eruptions have occurred both inside the crater and on the outer slopes, with some lava reaching the sea. Since the Galápagos National Park was formed there have been 13 eruptions on Fernandina, some of them continuing for several days. The National Park keeps Fernandina perfectly undisturbed, except for a single visitor site on the northeastern shore (Espinosa Point). The island is home to a large land iguana population, and they even nest in the volcanic crater. The waters surrounding Fernandina are among the richest in the whole Galápagos thanks to the rising of the cold water Cromwell Current that hits the westerly part of the island. This creates a superb feeding habitat for species like the Flightless Cormorant and Galápagos Penguins.
Interesting facts about Fernandina Island
The most geologically active island, her volcano last erupted less than 10 years ago
A perfect feeding ground for Galápagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants
This pristine island is kept in perfect condition by the National Park
Land Iguanas nest in the warm volcanic caldera
Pictures of Fernandina Island, Galápagos
Highlights and Visitorpoints on Fernandina
Fernandina Island has never been colonised by any non-native species, and this makes it ones of the world's most pristine island ecosystems. Coupled with its young age (Fernandina was only formed a few hundred thousand years ago) this makes a visit to this Galápagos island very special indeed.
At Espinosa Point on the northeastern shore of Fernandina the vista is dominated by "La Cumbre", the volcano whose lava fields formed the island. A visit to Espinosa Point is high on many people's list thanks to the number of iconic unique Galápagos species you will see here. As well as the noisy and fun-loving Galápagos Sea Lions, Espinosa Point is a great place to see Marine Iguanas, the wonderful Galápagos Penguins and the unique and endangered Galápagos Flightless Cormorant. If you are very lucky and keep your eyes skyward you may also catch sight of a Galápagos Hawk circling overhead looking for its next meal.
Mangle Point (known as Punta Mangle locally) is one of the newer visitor sites that have been authorized by the Galápagos National Park, and this one is excellent for snorkeling.
Mangle Point is on the eastern side of Fernandina and is a natural inlet which forms a sheltered area that's filled with wildlife, both under the water and on the coast. There's no landing here, and you will be snorkeling direct from your boat.
Among the species that you are likely to see are Galápagos rays, sea lions, green turtles, and sharks. As you drift along by the mangroves you can also see flightless cormorants, pelicans, Darwin's Finches, and many more species that your Galapatours expert guide will identify to you.
A dive in Cape Douglas off the west coast of Isabela Island is a fantastic opportunity to see a wide array of marine life, both above and below the surface of the water.
As you prepare for your dive you can see Galápagos Flightless Cormorants, Galápagos Penguins and Galápagos Marine Iguanas - all species you cannot see anywhere else in the world except this archipelago.
As you enter the water, you may have the opportunity to admire the powerful swimming ability of the marine iguanas as the bigger males feed on the rocks deeper under the surface.
Other species you may see in the water include Red-lipped Batfish, Horn Sharks and Mola Mola, and sometimes Baleen Whales are seen here gliding through the water.
If you have particular species that you are keen to see, contact one of our Galápagos experts today who can help you choose an itinerary that will best meet your requirements.