Highlights and main attractions of Bartolome Island

Bartolome Island is perhaps the most recognised, most visited and most photographed of the Galapagos Islands, most notably famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spear-headed obelisk jutting out of the ocean – arguably the best known landmark throughout the entire Galapagos National Park. Despite its small size of 1.2 square kilometres, here you can find some of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire archipelago.

Named after lifelong friend of Charles Darwin, naturalist Sir Bartholomew James Sullivan, this islet consists of an extinct volcano and a stunning mixture of red, orange, green and black volcanic formations. The origins of the islet vary, some with fresh lava and spatter cones, others made from eroded tuff formations. A majority of the islands vegetation is hardy pioneer plants, usually the first plants to appear after an ecosystem is damaged, however between the islands two beaches there is a distinct change to more luscious green halophytes.

It’s not just the landscape that attracts the visitors, from here you can spot the ever-playful Galapagos penguins, the second smallest penguin in the world.

Where is Bartolome Island?

Location and Activities

The first landing point is the Bartolome Summit Trail which begins with a dry landing on a jetty, from which you start your 600 metre trek through the wild and unearthly looking lava strewn landscape to the summit. From here the dramatic views towards Santiago Island, Pinnacle Rock and Daphne Island are simply stunning, the colours of the islands magnified by the turquoise waters that separate them. The second landing is a small beach in a cove where you will find excellent swimming and snorkelling opportunities, and maybe even a chance to swim with the endemic Galapagos penguins that frequent the area. The best way to see and photograph the penguins, however, is a panga ride close to pinnacle rock where they clamber the narrow ledge at the base, as sea lions relax on the rocks, seemingly waiting to play with potential snorkellers. A third point of interest is the beach parallel to the first, where marine turtles come to nest between January and March.

Bartholome may be the most visited island, but that takes nothing away from the experiences available here; from the views to the wildlife, every aspect is completely unforgettable. From meeting endemic penguins to seeing the renowned Pinnacle Rock, this uninhabited island is a must on your Galapagos cruise itinerary.

The snorkelling here is pretty amazing, as you may spot penguins, turtles, white-tipped reef sharks and lots of brightly coloured fish as the Galapagos hawk circles above you.


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