Fernandina Island Galapagos

On the western side of the Galapagos Islands lies the youngest of the Islands, Fernandina Island. This island, named in honor of King Fernando from Spain, is located on the western edge of the archipelago. As the youngest of the 13 Galapagos Islands, scientists put its age at approximately 700,000 years old.

Fernandina Island, formed as a result of volcanic activity, is one of the most active of the islands, with eruptions occurring every few years. Due to this action, changes sometimes take place in regards to the plant and animal life on the island. For instance, in 1968 an eruption of the volcano caused the caldera to drop 1000 feet when it collapsed. At other times, the eruption of the volcano has caused the lake to change position in the caldera. The flow of lava during an eruption also has an effect on the status of the island.

Fernandina Island is one of the few Islands that has had no native plant or animal species introduced by man. Instead, all of the plant and animal life came to the island through nature. Although the island looks desolate with its rocky landscape and lack of abundant animal life, Fernandina does have some secrets to share with the visitor.

On the northeast coast of Fernandina Island one will find the dock used to gain access to the island. However, it can be used only during high tide. During low tide, the landing takes place on volcanic rock. One must walk carefully due to the fragile state of the lava and fissures. From this point, called Punta Espinoza, the visitor has the best chance to see the flora and fauna of this island.

One trail takes the hiker to the lava fields, allowing them to have access to recent volcanic activity. If they look carefully, they will be able to see lava cactus, one of the few plants that survives here. Mangroves can be found growing in this area as well.

Map of Galapagos Islands

This trail, also known as the Land’s End trail, then leads the visitor to a patch of land that is home to several species of animals. Fernandina boasts the largest colony of marine iguanas, looking as if they are guarding the coast of the island. These iguanas are the only such lizards to adapt to living in an area where they have to get their food, seaweed and algae, from the sea, rather than from land plants as do other lizards.

Following the trail that is the closest to the point of the island will take the visitor to a colony of sea lions. The male sea lions defend their territory, and their barks cannot be missed. In addition, the flightless cormorants build their nests in the rough areas above the water line. The Galapagos Penguins are also starting to nest in this area.

Other animals found on Fernandina Island include herons, pelicans, Yellow Warblers, and the Mangrove finch. When visiting this island, it is very important to stay on the trails, as well as to avoid bringing any foreign species of plant or animal to the island.

From afar, Fernandina Island looks like a bleak and barren island. However, upon arriving on its shore, and with a little bit of exploration, the visitor will find hidden sights, flora and fauna that cannot be seen until they step foot on the black sand. Although this island is not one of the most popular for short cruises, when one has the time to explore, Fernandina Island is well worth the time spent there.

Galapagos Islands





San Cristobal

Santa Cruz

Santa Maria





Speak Your Mind