Fernandina Island is the westernmost of all the islands in the Galapagos archipelago. It’s also the third largest and, geologically speaking, the youngest.
Fernandina is famous for its volcanic activity, which continues to this day. The last major burst of volcanic activity took place in April 2009, when the southern flank of La Cumbre — a shield volcano near the center of the island — had a fissure eruption.
The cone-shaped volcano is an impressive site, but visitors don’t only come to gaze up at the summit of the four-mile-wide caldera. The island is considered one of the most pristine islands in all the Galapagos, and is home to a wide variety of reptiles and birds. Fernandina has no human inhabitants, and only a single visitor site exists on the unspoiled and heavily protected island.
Main Visitor Site
Punta Espinoza — Located on the northeastern coast of the island, Punta Espinoza is the only visitor site on Fernandina. This narrow but spectacular stretch of land is home to hundreds of marine iguanas, who gather in large groups on the black lava rocks. Penguins, pelicans and sea lions also inhabit this area, along with wonderfully-named sally lightfoot crabs. Flightless cormorants also frequent this part of the coast, and are unique among all cormorants for having lost the ability to fly in favor of better diving abilities. Further inland you can sometimes see Galapagos hawks. Lava flows are also visible in Punta Espinoza, although you’ll need to walk further inland. Along the way you might see an occasional lava cactus. These logic-defying cacti grow on barren lava flows, and are endemic to the Galápagos.
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