Espanola is a remote Island in the Pacific Ocean of Galapagos. It's a unique jewel with a large number of endemic animals.



The name of the Island was given in honor of Spain. It is also known as Hood after an English nobleman.

This exotic Island has an area of 60 km2 and a maximum altitude of 206 meters.

Its remote location has prevented genetic flow between Espanola and other Islands in Galapagos, as a result, many of its animals are unique and found nowhere else in the Planet.

Its unique fauna are its birds, colonies of waved albatross, one of Galapagos's largest and most comical birds make this Island a highlight of the Archipelago.

Also expect to find hundreds of marine Iguanas (the only ones that change color during breeding season) and sea lions.

Normally, marine iguanas are black in color, a camouflage, making it difficult for predators to differentiate between the iguanas and the black lava rocks where they live.

On EspaƱola adult marine iguanas are brightly colored with a reddish tint except during mating season when their color changes to more of a greenish shade.

Along the southern shore of the Island, high cliffs rise up from the sea, affording spectacular views of soaring birds and the famous blowhole, where water spouts up 50 to 75 feet into the air, according to the intensity of the surf.

Among the many sights of Espanola Island is Punta Suarez, a rocky point of land where various colonies of sea birds and other fauna can be observed.

Many of the birds here are endemic to the area, and can only be seen in the Galapagos Islands.

Gardner Bay is another visitor site with a beautiful beach, offering an excellent opportunity to relax and swim.

Click Here to See the Best Galapagos Cruises Available for You

Espanola Attractions

Punta Suarez

Is a rocky point of land where various colonies of sea birds and other fauna can be observed.

The variety and quantity of wildlife assures a memorable visit.

You will see migrant, resident, and endemic wildlife including brightly colored Marine Iguanas, Lava Lizards, Hood Mockingbirds, Swallow Tailed Gulls, Blue Footed and Masked Boobies, Galapagos Hawks, Finches, and the Waved Albatross.

The main trail around Punta Suarez also passes the Espanola's famous blowhole, where incoming waves are forced out of a narrow volcanic fissure in the rock.

A seaside cliff on the southern end of the trail provides the perfect vantage point from which to watch spray soar over 25m into the air.

The sky above is full of sea birds including red-billed tropicbirds, Galapagos American Oystercatchers, swallow-tailed gulls, and Audubon's Shearwaters.

From the cliff, you can also see at the albatross's clumsy attempts to land and take off.

Since their awkward webbed feet make it impossible to take flight from inland, they must first walk to a cliff in order to take off.

Gardner Bay

Located at the east of Espanola this spot is a tourist favorite for swimming and snorkeling. With a beautiful white sand beach, it's a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the beauty of this area.

There is also a sea lion colony here and Green Sea Turtles mating just off shore during the months of October to December.

Snorkeling at Gardner Bay is awesome. This will be your chance to swim with the Sea Lions.

Further out towards Tortuga Rock and Gardner Island schools of large colorful tropical fish including yellow tailed surgeon fish, king angelfish and snorkel along with an occasional manta ray gliding by and white-tipped sharks napping on the bottom.

Espanola Saddle-back Turtle

You will have the opportunity to see this turtle in the wild. At one time, they were reduced to 12 females and 2 males. Thanks to the Charles Darwin Research Station, they are being breed and re-introduced into the island. By 1995, 700 turtles were re-introduced.

This Island is known for its natural beauty and is considered a paradise for birdwatchers.

It is one of the oldest Islands in Galapagos, at approximately four million years old.

This Island in the past was also called Hood, named after an English admiral, Viscount Samuel Hood.

Espanola is worth visiting any time of the year, but specially between the months of late March through to December, when the Waved Albatross nests here.

You can watch courtship fencing done with great yellow beaks and necks among the large, fluffy, perfectly camouflaged chicks.

This Island is one of only two places in the world where the waved albatross nests. Currently there are 12,000 pairs that inhabit the Island.

More About Galapagos

Galapagos News

Lonesome George Tortoise

Galapagos Location

Galapagos Whales

Best Galapagos Land Tours

If you have question about Espanola Island, or if you'd like to book one of our recommended Galapagos Cruises to visit these enchanted Islands, You can Contact us here

Back from Espanola to Galapagos Islands Homepage