A Travel guide to Genovesa Island on Ecuador

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Sailboat at sunrise in Great Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island, Ecuador
Sailboat at sunrise in Great Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island, Ecuador

Named after the Italian city of Genoa, Genovesa Island (Tower Island in English) is a horseshoe-shaped island in the Galapagos Archipelago. It is considered one of the must-see sights in the Galapagos due to its incredibly diverse bird populations, including one of the largest red-footed booby colonies. This has led to it being called “Bird Island”.

At the centre of the island is the saltwater Lake Arcturus; beyond it lies a volcanic caldera whose collapsed wall forms the Great Darwin Bay. The island is a popular destination for many cruises. However, most ships bypass Genovesa Island, as the coral reefs make anchoring risky, especially for bigger ships.  

What To Do on Genovesa Island

Genovesa Island, Galapagos Islands
Red-footed booby on Genovesa Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

Genovesa Island is home to Galapagos storm petrels, great frigate birds, Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and short-eared owls. However, the main attractions are the red-footed boobies and the famous Darwin finches. You can also find sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, and incredibly diverse marine life. On the island itself, there are two main sites are Prince Philip’s Steps and Darwin Bay.

Prince Phillip’s Steps

Named after a visit from the British Royal in the 1960s, the dry rocky path is carved directly into the volcanic walls of the island. It leads to some of the largest bird colonies on the island.

Darwin Bay
Genovesa Island, Galapagos Islands
Tourists in a dingy leaving the cliffs of Darwin Bay on Genovese Island.

On the beach at Darwin Bay, you can see numerous birds and sea lions. You can dive along the outer walls of the caldera, which provides some of the best opportunities to see hammerhead sharks while snorkelling.

Tips To Make You Stay More Awesome

  • Doing a pre-booked multi-night cruise can be an expensive option. Instead, you can look for day-trips from one of the neighbouring islands. 
  • It can get quite hot, so always carry water bottles, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  • Get medical insurance before you travel.
  • Always remember the route back to your boat.
  • Keep calm when you see the wildlife, but respect their boundaries and don’t antagonize them

Read more: The other Islands of the Galapagos.

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