Today was our first full day of exploration and we started in the middle of the archipelago, at a small and beautiful island called Bartolome. This island is one spectacular volcanic site. Our first outing was a hike to the very top of the volcano, from which we could see all the different lava flows and volcanic features. The age of this island allows us to understand the processes of formation of the first islands and the establishment of life. On this hike we found the first colonizers to the islands, known as the pioneer species: lava cactus and small shrubs. Along the coastline we also found beautiful marine bird species. The most iconic ones were the blue-footed boobies, that at this time of day were fishing and perching on the rocks, and the Galapagos penguins that posed for us on the rocks.
In the afternoon we visited Santa Cruz Island to look for the famous land iguanas. These creatures nest in a very special area of soil that we can reach by following a trail. The trip took us first along the rocky shore and intertidal area, then by the wetlands where a brackish water lagoon gives shelter and provides for many bird species, and finally through the incense tree and cactus forest. We enjoyed the amazing volcanic landscapes along the way to find these special creatures. It is the end of the dry season, and the iguanas were looking for leaves and flowers to eat; they will start their mating with the first rains. We observed these colorful male iguanas, and then enjoyed a vibrant sunset to end the day.