Early in the morning, we disembarked onto a rocky landing to explore a colorful visitor site known as Dragon Hill. We walked into the island to explore the natural habitat of the Galapagos land iguanas. We were lucky to encounter around twenty golden reptiles, some of them eating prickly pear cacti, while others rested under the shade of green vegetation.

We also spotted several ground birds like small and medium ground finches, a couple of common cactus finches, and Galapagos mockingbirds. After passing through an incense tree forest, we arrived to the natural habitat of the land iguanas. These reptiles are endemic to the Galapagos, found on six different islands of the archipelago. Throughout the season, we can find several flowering plants covering the area where the land iguanas nest.

After our morning hike, we got ready to go deep water snorkeling. We encountered several species of fish, a couple playful sea lions, and a large variety of marine invertebrates along the vertical walls. Soon after, we came back to the ship to enjoy a traditional Ecuadorian lunch. Our hotel manager introduced us to everything on the menu.

After lunch, we went on a Zodiac ride along the coast of Bahia Borrero; this incredible mangrove inlet is home to an amazing amount of wildlife. As soon as we arrived, we encountered nearly two hundred golden cownose rays. Watching this giant school of rays was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. We also spotted a few baby whitetip reef sharks, as well as nesting brown pelicans and a couple great blue herons.

Some of us had the opportunity to go kayaking around the coastline of Borrero Bay, where we paddled among golden rays and baby blacktip reef sharks.

During the afternoon, we had a delightful time up on the sundeck as we circumnavigated Daphne Islet. We learned about the science that took place on the small islet, relative to the evolution of Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos Archipelago.