Rábida Island is one of the smaller islands of the Galapagos archipelago. It’s unpopulated (by humans, at least) and is located just south of the far larger island of Santiago. Fairly arid and steep sided, Rábida has a distinct red color thanks to its highly porous and iron-rich lava rock. The island is home to a number of small volcanic craters.
Having recovered from some conservation challenges in the form of introduced goats and rats, Rábida is now a bird-spotter’s paradise and a popular destination for Galapagos cruises. The island is home to nine species of finch, as well as Galapagos doves, yellow warblers, large billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks, mockingbirds, flamingos and brown pelicans. There’s also a bachelor sea lion colony, whose lazy residents love to lie around on the beach.
Main Visitor Sites
The Beach — The coast of Rábida Island is mostly rocky and steep sided, apart from an amazing beach on the north coast. The beach has spectacular dark red sand, thanks again to the volcanic nature of the island. Sea lions relax here, and flamingoes wade through a lagoon just behind the beach. Most visits to Rábida end with swimming or snorkeling, both of which are excellent here. Tropical fish swim in abundance near the rocks to the east of the island.
The Trail — A trail leads from the beach, past the lagoon and on up to the island’s forest of palo santo trees (a medicinal tree in the same family as frankincense and myrrh). The whole trail is full of bird-spotting opportunities, and you can also expect to come across an occasional snake or lizard.
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