Genovesa, or Tower Island, is known for its peculiar locals and its semi circular shape. Its remote location on the northern sector of the archipelago, far away from humans, other land animals and possible predators, has made it an ideal place for birds to nest. Locals call it the “Bird Island.”
Genovesa is the result of volcanic eruptions, and the horseshoe resemblance is the caldera of the now inactive volcano, with collapsed walls that have formed cliffs in the middle of the ocean. Besides from its spectacular geography, its friendly residents cover the area in flocks.
Mangroves and rocky terrain are full of life as frigates, boobies, gulls, lava herons, puffball chicks, finches and mockingbirds fly around, chirping and dancing in the air. You’ll be amazed at the thousands of birds that await once you step inside Genovesa.
But the birds, that are wonderful and plenty, are not the only interesting wildlife in the island. Snorkelling in Genovesa is one of our favorite activities because you’ll encounter rays, turtles and white tipped sharks. Besides, the walls that surround the submerged caldera act as natural barriers that protect you from strong currents (great for inexperienced snorkelers!).
What to Do?
Prince Philip’s Steps: Named after a visit by the British Monarch in 1964, an 81ft stairway will take you on a hike around Darwin Bay. Locals also know the steps as “El Barranco,” steep and fragile. Observe endemic bird species and beautiful sights of the island while the smell of Palo Santo accompanies your steps. Keep an eye open for the Galápagos short eared owl, a day time hunter.
*Dry landing and moderate difficulty.
Darwin Bay: A beach with white sandy shores awaits at Darwin Bay where a crater once stood. Frigate birds, red footed- boobies and seagulls fly above, and rest at the lava ledges around Darwin Bay while plenty of sealions, rays and sharks swim in the waters around. Darwin Bay is the perfect place for birdwatching, snorkelling and kayaking!
*Wet landing, easy to moderate difficulty.
What to See?
Birds, birds, birds: In a tiny territory birdwatchers can appreciate the diversity of bird species in the Galápagos Islands. Some of our favorites include frigatebirds (who inflate their red pouches to attract a mate), the Nazca boobies, lava herons and swallow-tailed gulls.
Birdwatchers travel all the way to Genovesa, from around the globe, to see red footed boobies. It is said Genovesa is home to the largest colony of the species!
Marine life: iguanas, rays, sea lions, white tipped sharks and if you’re lucky, you may even find some hammerhead sharks!
Lava formations: Rocky formations like cliffs and walls are evidence of the origins of the island.
****Due to its location, Genovesa Island can only be visited while travelling Galápagos on a cruise. The island is small and the tours are very exclusive, taking only small groups of tourists (always with a certified guide) at a time.
We highly recommend travelling Galápagos with a cruise, where Genovesa will be included in the itinerary as a day trip.