This just in! La Cumbre Volcano is Currently Erupting on Fernandina Island!

Just today, La Cumbre volcano on Fernandina Island began releasing giant plumes of steam and ash that went high into the deep blue skies of the Galapagos, mesmerizing passengers aboard serendipitous ships that happened to be in the vicinity.

Keep in mind that the island of Fernandina was formed by a Galapagos hotspot, itself being an active shield volcano that last erupted on April 11, 2009. Geologically speaking, Fernandina is one of the youngest islands in the whole archipelago and, being the westernmost island, is also considerably isolated. It is home to incredibly unique and endemic species, such as the flightless cormorant, that form part of our BIG15 group of iconic species in Galapagos.

Pinning almost the exact center of the island is La Cumbre – the name of the shield volcano itself made almost entirely out of fluid lava flows. This active behemoth stands at about 1,475 meters (4,842 feet) and dominates all other nearby volcanoes by being the most active volcano in the entire Galapagos archipelago.

Tectonic Technicalities

Eruptions have been known to last anywhere from a single day to up to two weeks in total and have never once been recorded as being fatal or harmful to any human being. Yacht La Pinta will be fortunate enough to get a glimpse of the said eruption from the western side of Isabela Island while at the Sombrero Chino visitor site scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday, August 5th, 2017).

Make your Galapagos vacation a unique experience aboard Yacht La Pinta!


Fernandina Island
Lava Flow On Fernandina Island

Situated on the upper western corner of the Nazca Plate, the Galapagos Islands gradually moves towards the southeast at the same rate that our fingernails grow. The archipelago also happens to be located not all that far from where the center of the Nazca Plates and Pacific Plates spread out from one another. All of the islands on the archipelago have a single cone except for Isabela Island, which has a grand total of six volcanoes strung along with its geography. As a result of its unique position over these plates, volcanic eruptions aren’t all that unusual.

Fernandina Island
The Island Is An Active Shield Volcano That Has Most Recently Been Erupting Since April 2009

A Brief History of Species Behaviour during Volcanic Eruptions (on Fernandina)

Jet black lava fields are ubiquitous on the island of Fernandina and spread themselves out from their source: La Cumbre. Visitors will walk across these solid and abstract pieces of solid magma, which now serve as a horizontal testament to how far the lava arrived from all the previous eruptions that it’s experienced. Land iguanas are oblivious to the danger of said lava as they have been known to make their nests within one of the inner calderas of La Cumbre, as the rest of the island is made of solid lava.

Marine Iguanas
Marine Iguanas Are Often Found In Punta Espinoza, A Narrow Stretch Of Land In Fernandina Island

Interesting to note is that many terrestrial and aerial species have been noted to behave in some rather fascinating and unusual ways during volcanic eruptions on Fernandina Island. Marine iguanas, for instance, have actually been observed to move towards the lava flows rather than away from them, presumably seeking their heat (as is instinct) to warm up their cold-blooded bodies. Lava from La Cumbre that reached and slid into the ocean managed to kill numerous fish and, consequently, attracted a number of seabirds that came to feast on the dead bodies that floated up to the surface. Alas, said birds were themselves also victims of the extreme heat from the lava, getting severely burned (i.e. losing all their feathers) or killed from flying too close to the lava flows. Talk about a real-life version of Icarus!

Updated:May 8, 2023

Published:September 4, 2017


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person



Condé Nast Traveler ONLINE

This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena (cedrón) syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital as it parades past.

National Geographic Traveller

A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

Cruise Critic

Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

Telegraph Ultra Travel: 50 Greatest Hotels in the World

When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Arquitect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road.

Terms and Conditions

Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

We have what you are looking for!