Visiting Bartolome Island Galapagos: Our Experience

Panoramic View of Bartolome Island, Galapagos

Bartoloméw Island, commonly known as Bartolome Island, is volcanic in nature. However, this does not preclude it from being a pleasant destination for travelers. It’s a must-have place to visit on Galapagos Islands.

If you think this is an area that is rocked up and down by volcanoes and continental shifts and so lacks visual beauty, you’re wrong.

Some sceneries are so gorgeous that it appears as though the green and brown of the land are meeting the blue sky. Nature has created an intentional mosaic that makes the land, sky, and water seem like a picture book leaf.

Going down on Bartolome Island, Galapagos

The Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome Island is noted for its conical, yet uneven form. It can be seen from afar and shines like a light to travelers on their way to the sea since it is a prominent landmark that no one can overlook.

Many people have also loved ascending to the peak of the island, and the adventure is unrivaled by anything other than the beauty of the location. Apart from the stunning Pinnacle Rock, this highly gorgeous location of the Galapagos Islands also has additional beauty to discover underwater.

How to Get to Bartolome Island

Birdlife at Bartolomé Island Galapagos

Bartolome island is only a two-hour sail from the Itabaca Channel, making it an ideal day trip from Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. It is a must-see on any Galapagos Land Tour itinerary, and it is also a popular stop on Galapagos Cruises.

Bartolome Island Visitor Sites and Activities

Visitors to Bartolome may participate in a wide range of activities, including hiking to the summit for panoramic views, visiting the gorgeous beaches, snorkeling from the coast, and diving.

Panoramic Viewpoint

Volcanic landscape of Bartolomé Island, Galapagos

Following a dry landing on the concrete pier, the walkway transforms into a 372-step wooden boardwalk and staircase.

On a hot day, the climb might be difficult, so bring lots of water with you. Take as many pauses as you need on the way up; there is plenty of room for others to pass you and there is no urgency to get to the summit.

Visitors are greeted with a postcard-perfect panorama of the Galapagos Islands at the summit. Pinnacle Rock and the golden sand beach may be seen below.

Behind the bay, you will find the massive black lava flows of Santiago Island and the Daphne Major/Minor islands. You should also be able to see your cruise ship docked in the bay’s azure waters. There are other points of interest to watch out for as you go up and down the steps. 

Volcanic phenomena such as spatter cones and tuff cones may be seen. The ancient lava flows have formed a stunning yet bleak lunar environment. Pioneer vegetation includes the indigenous Tiquilia nesiotica, Lava cactus, and Scalesia shrubs.

Pinnacle Rock Beach

Trail at Bartolomé Island, Galapagos

Visitors arrive at a magnificent golden sand beach by wet landing, with leisure time to snorkel, swim, or sunbathe.

Snorkelers are only permitted to enter the sea on the north beach. The main snorkeling area is located around Pinnacle Rock. Bartolome island is known to be one of the greatest snorkeling spots on the Galapagos Islands so you shouldn’t miss out!

Penguins, lively sea lions, interested reef sharks, rays, and tropical fish species are among the wildlife present in the area which you may encounter while swimming.

Watching penguins while snorkelling at Bartolomé Island, Galapagos

Those on the beach have the option of sunbathing or swimming. Explorers can also take a short trek through the mangroves to the south shore. From January through March, sea turtles nest here, while reef sharks and rays can be seen in the shallow waters. Although swimming is not permitted on the north beach, animals may often be seen from the shore.

Bartolome Island Dive Site

Because of an upwelling current, the seas surrounding Bartolome are frigid. On the other side, cooler waters are richer in nutrients, making this location a key Galapagos feeding habitat. 

Blue-footed boobies and other seabirds are drawn to schools of fish. Sharks, sea lions, and Galapagos penguins are drawn to the region as well.

The diving site of Bartolome is built on and around a rocky platform. Underwater cliffs plummet down to the deep sea bed, with terraced plateaus, creating an ideal environment for a wide variety of marine species. Sea horses frequent the black coral stairs, and reef sharks congregate along the overhangs.

Bottom Line

Bartolome is one of the most popular Galapagos islands for tourists to visit. What the island lacks in terrestrial wildlife it makes up for with diverse marine life. Not to mention that the 360-degree view is the greatest panoramic viewpoint in the Galapagos Islands! We highly recommend that you visit Bartolome Island as part of your Galapagos adventure.

About the author

Oleg Galeev

Made a road trip throughout Ecuador and explored the Galapagos Islands.

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