Espanola Island

Feb 12, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Our first full expedition day took place on the magical island of Espanola, also known as Hood Island. Espanola Island is about 3.2 million years old, which makes it the oldest of the Galapagos Islands today. Espanola Island have been geological dead for many years, and as you observe from a distance you can only wondered what type of life could live in such an inhospitable place full of lava rocks and dry forest. As you set foot on land all your wonders fade, as you experience the overwhelmingly beautiful life on Espanola Island, a life given by its surrounding rich nutrient waters. In the morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and a calm sea to go kayaking, and we observed many pacific green sea turtles mating. The rest of the morning we spent it snorkeling in Espanola crystal clear water and walking along its white sand beach, where a colony of sea lion come to rest. While we were having a typical Ecuadorian lunch, the Capitan moved the National Geographic Islander to the south flank of Espanola and in the afternoon we disembarked in Punta Suarez. Along the walk we had very close encounters with Christmas iguanas, numerous sea lion pups, endemic mockingbirds and lava lizards, Nazca boobies and the majestic Galapagos Hawk. A truly magical day to start a magical trip!

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About the Author

Gianna Haro


Most of Gianna´s memories seem to be dreams, made on flawless white sandy beaches with black lava rock contours and gorgeous turquoise ocean waters. Most of it happened while barefoot, in an enchanting place that some people regard as an ideal natural laboratory, the Galápagos Islands. For her it was home. Gianna grew up going to the beach nearly every day, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, playing with wild flowers, having sea lions steal her ice cream, observing marine iguanas, and identifying invertebrates. The latter was by no means technically accurate—she dubbed each new discovery with its own made-up scientific name. At some point during those early years, being an observer became an innate ability and she knew she wanted to be a biologist. 

About the Photographer

Jonathan Aguas

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jonathan was born into one of only a handful of families that reaches back five generations in Galápagos, in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. He first left the islands when he won a highly-coveted scholarship to finish his studies in the U.S.  This was the start of his life-long passion for science and languages. He earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from the University of Florida and later spent time in Europe, where he learned French. He is now fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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