Being the northernmost of the Galapagos Islands, Genovesa is outlying and accessible mainly on longer itineraries, or those that specifically target the north. In our opinion, this is one of the most interesting and exciting islands and is well worth the trip out. Low-lying, Genovesa Island can be tricky to spot and at times the sea mist can completely obscure the island from view, reiterating the reason behind the Galapagos Islands nickname, Las Islas Encantadas (The Enchanted Islands). The lava it is made from originated mainly from a crater that can still be found in the centre of the island, with a depth of 200 feet and a width at the rim of about 2000 feet. A lake at the bottom of the crater is home to sediment that is less than 6,000 years old.
After an exciting approach, you will arrive at Darwin Bay, a flooded caldera in the south of the island that has formed a natural harbour. There are two visitors’ sites here and both are well worth the visit. Board a panga and take a relaxing ride along the cliffs to Prince Phillips Steps, where you can disembark and climb through a steep fissure to the caldera rim. Here you are met by the hissing of masked boobies defending their ground nests, whilst great frigate birds and blue footed boobies perch in the Palo Santo (holy stick) trees above. You can also snorkel from Prince Phillips Steps where you could spot Moorish Idols, White-banded Angel Fish, Sergeant Majors, Parrot Fish, Moray Eels and Galapagos Sharks.
The second visitor spot is a coral beach at the head of Darwin Bay where the most impressive sight is the huge number of male great frigate birds. Between the months of March and June, you will see their impressive courtship display as they inflate their gular sack and shake it at the ladies. You can also spot Galapagos doves, mocking birds, lava gulls and a few marine iguanas.
Following a trail out onto the south side of the island, you may spot as many as 200,000 pairs of Galapagos Petrels!