Fernandina Island: A Distant Beauty in Galapagos
Fernandina Island is a remote, rocky, rugged island in the Galapagos with spectacular views of the Pacific – and plenty of strange wildlife.
The Galapagos Islands consist of 19 different islands, situated 600 miles from the coast of Ecuador. They are known for their abundance of wildlife, which has evolved on its own in a natural habitat that is highly protected from development. As you explore this beautiful remote island you’ll have a chance to see many interesting creatures including pelicans, sally lightfoot crabs, blue-footed boobies, sea lions and flightless cormorants. Keep your camera ready.
Fernandina Island is often referred to as a “land without time” as it is a volcanic island without any introduced species. The island is 300 thousand years old (which is pretty young for an island!) and it is still active. It is located on the west side of the Galapagos archipelago, right on top of the hotspot. The landscape and flora here are so strange, you might feel like you are on another planet.
The island has a large population of Marine Iguanas and these dragon-like beasts survive due to an evolutionary adaptation that allows them to feed on algae. Here you will be able to see some of the biggest iguanas of anywhere in the Galapagos Islands.
There are thought to be at least 100,000 black and gray iguanas on Fernandina Island. As you look out the lava rocks they may look like they are moving – they are covered in these reptiles basking in the sunshine. Their dark coloration is an adaptation that allows them to hold onto heat so that they can stay under the water and search for food.
Fernandina Island is also home to the largest population of Flightless Cormorants. These birds lost their ability to fly because it wasn’t needed for their environment – they get all of their food underwater so they have fantastic diving and swimming skills instead. Visiting this colony is a fascinating glimpse into the evolutionary process. Remember that amazing video from BBC’s Planet Earth II where a young marine iguana escaped from a group of snakes? That was filmed on Fernandina Island!
Also, many people visit Fernandina Island in order to view the lava rocks of one of the most active volcanos in the world. It is thought to be the youngest in the Galapagos, with the last eruption taking place in April of 2009. It is the most active volcano in the Galapagos – it has erupted 24 times since 1813.
Another intriguing and unique aspect of this island is the special quality of light here, caused by the reflection from the minerals in the ground. It gives the island an atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the world. You’ll also come across a number of shallow pools on the beaches, where you can see crabs and large green sea turtles as well as striated herons with long necks scooping up fish with their beaks.
The Advantages of Visiting Fernandina Island by Cruise
The only way to visit the island is on a Galapagos cruise. First of all – there’s the location to consider: Fernandina Island is quite far away and difficult to reach on a day trip. Also, there are many other reasons to consider a cruise.
Check out the must-do’s on your Galapagos Cruise!
When you take a cruise, you won’t have to take time-consuming small plane or ferry transport between each island and pack and unpack at each destination. Also, you’ll be able to avoid the populated towns and visit more of the off-the-beaten-track destinations – experiencing more of the wildlife of the Galapagos rather than the human population.
Also, another perk is the social experience. You’ll have a chance to interact with the crew and the other guests and meet interesting, adventurous people from all over the world. You just might make a great new friend for life!
To learn more about cruises to Fernandina Island and how you can book your trip, please contact us today! We are experts in Galapagos travel and we can arrange the perfect wildlife adventure in this remote and beautiful part of the world.
Food journalist and serial Galapagos travel