Today was a beautiful day in the Galapagos Islands. We spent our day on the west of Santiago Island in two mesmerizing locations. Sombrero Chino is a small volcano shaped like a hat that sits in perfectly turquoise waters. Here we started early with a stretching session on a small, white sandy beach where even a couple of sea lions joined the stretch. After breakfast, we went out again, this time to explore the coastline and look for Galapagos penguins. These small but very charismatic penguins have a small colony in the area. By Zodiac or kayak, we had a chance to see them and learn all about them from our naturalist. However, the morning was not over. We had the opportunity to snorkel in a small channel along the Sombrero Chino Islet. This site offers opportunities for close encounters with the underwater wildlife of the archipelago. Among the colorful fish, we found reef sharks, lots of sea stars, and a couple of friendly sea lions that interacted with our guests. We even got a quick glimpse of the very fast Galapagos penguins as they swam underwater.

In the afternoon, we enjoyed a stunning hike at Sullivan Bay. It’s hard to believe that when Darwin visited this area, the place didn’t exist as we know it today. The bay is the product of an eruptive fissure in 1890. This site is a recently formed lava field that gives us an idea of how the Galapagos once looked. Limited resources make it difficult for life to thrive. Hence, we can only observe pioneer species, such as the emblematic lava cactus, painted locusts, lava lizards, and even a hawk passing by. This surreal landscape is full of textures. We walked on two different types of lava: ropy or pahoehoe lava and a’a’ lava.