Bartolomé Galápagos Island

Bartolomé in Galapagos is one of the “youngest” volcanic formations in the Galapagos Islands. It covers an area of 120 hectares and is located north of Santiago Island. It is named after Sir Bartholomew James Sullivan, a lifelong naturalist friend of Charles Darwin. Bartolome is a volcanic tuff island, which has the most impressive natural viewpoint of the Galapagos. This island offers one of the most amazing volcanic landscapes. Bartolome Galapagos Island is home to species of flora and fauna that have adapted over time. This island is a quiet place for their development because no human lives here.

Bartolome Galapagos Island is the most photographed of the islands in the Galapagos, as it offers an awesome 360-degree panorama of red, orange, green and black soils that contrast with its beautiful turquoise waters and white sand beaches. Bartolome Island should be part of your Galapagos experience. If you want to know more details about this magical place, continue reading. Below we detail everything that you need to know to plan your visit to Bartolome Galapagos Island.

Bartolome Galapagos Geology

Bartolome Island was originally an underwater volcano that probably emerged between 1.5 and 2 million years ago. Therefore, it is considered one of the youngest islands in the Galapagos Archipelago. The most outstanding point of the island is undoubtedly the Pinnacle Rock, a kind of rock that comes out of the ground like an arrowhead. This geological formation is of natural origin and is formed by an eroded volcanic cone. However, some people argue that the rock has taken this peculiar shape due to US Air Force soldiers using it for target practice during World War II.

Where is Bartolome Galapagos Island?

Bartolome Island is part of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. It is located north of Santiago Island.

How to visit Bartolome Galapagos Island?

Bartolome Galapagos Island is only two hours away from the Itabaca Channel in the north of Santa Cruz Island, making it an excellent travel destination for a daily tour through the impressive landscapes of Bartolome. Also, this is a destination that is often visited on cruise ships.

Bartolomé Galápagos Island weather and climate

Bartolome Galapagos Island has two distinct climate seasons:

Both offer a good time for visiting the island, but the character of each season is somewhat different. The warm and wet season runs roughly from December/January through to May. This season is sunny and warm, but occasionally wet. It has warm temperatures on land and at sea, and occasional rain. Meanwhile, the cool and dry season runs approximately from June to December. This season has cooler temperatures on land and at sea, and a dry climate.

In general, the climate is temperate with maximum temperatures of 17 ° C and minimum of 10 ° C and the annual average temperature is 14 ° C. From June to August the temperature decreases considerably.

What to bring for Bartolome Galapagos Island?

If you decide to visit the island during the dry season (June to August), we recommend packing cotton clothing, shorts or bermuda shorts, sunscreen, sunglasses and a sweater at night; due to the temperature drops around four degrees with respect to the temperature of the day.


If you travel in the rainy season (September to May), we recommend you bring an umbrella or raincoat, shoes with non-slip waterproof soles, wear long-sleeved shirts, a sweater, and pants because the weather becomes cold at this time in Bartolome Galapagos Island.

In general, we suggest:

Bring comfortable shoes or tennis if you want to visit the attractions of Bartolome Galapagos Island. Bring a cap or hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, even if you travel in the rainy season. Always bring an umbrella or raincoat with you, because rain showers can occur at any time.


Best activities to do on Bartolome Galapagos Island

When it comes to planning your dream vacation, something you should take into account is what activities you are going to do during your visit to make that trip memorable. Below we provide information about a wonderful variety of activities that you can enjoy on Bartolome Galapagos Island.

Wildlife Observation (vegetation, birds, terrestrial and aquatic animals)

This activity can be combined with hiking or any of the other activities that you do. There is a place where you could find a bird or iguana along the way; surely, you will also come across a sea lion resting on the white sands of the beaches of Bartolome Galapagos Island. These animals are already accustomed to the human presence, which allows them to be viewed up close. Although the authorities advise not to approach more than 2 meters. This is sufficient distance to be able to protect the species, and at the same time, observe and photograph the animal with total safety.

Snorkel in Bartolomé Galapagos Island

If you love diving underwater, snorkeling at the Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome Galapagos Island will be your ideal activity. In this superficial diving activity, you have the opportunity to explore the seabed and discover an underwater world just by submerging your head; here the protagonists are colored fish, sea lions, sea turtles and even a shark. You cannot leave the island without at least having practiced snorkeling once.

Visit the beaches of Bartolome Galapagos Island

Visit Playa Dorada, Playa Norte and Playa Sur on Bartolomé Island and admire their marine life. In this tour you can see the “Twin Bays”, both are separated by a small isthmus and is the place of the north and south beaches. North beach is an excellent place for those who enjoy swimming and practicing marine sports. While the south beach is ideal for walking. Explorers can follow the short trails through the mangroves to Playa Dorada, where the famous Pinnacle Rock is located.

Trekking through the Bartolome volcano and panoramic viewpoint

An authentic postcard of the Galapagos Islands will be your reward as you climb the 372-step wooden staircase that leads to a spectacular view of Pinnacle Rock and Playa Dorada. The route of this path is 795 meters long and 372 steps; this lasts approximately forty minutes. The climb can be difficult so try to bring water to hydrate and the right footwear. Along the way you will find other points of interest such as the splash cones and tuff cones, ancient volcanic formations. Added to this is the lunar landscape formed by lava flows and the island’s own pioneer vegetation (endemic bushes of Tiquilia, Lava Cactus and Scalesia).

Bartolome Dive Site

Bartolome dive site is located around a rocky platform and is the perfect place to find a great diversity of marine life thanks to the cold waters brought by the Humboldt current, due to this, this area is an important feeding site for blue footed boobies (Sula nebouxii), sea lions (Otariinae) and Galapagos penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus). It is common to see reef sharks on overhangs and to find seahorses hiding on the black coral steps. Among other species that you will be able to observe are: green sea turtles, white tip reef sharks, barracudas, seahorses, Moray eels, octopus and colorful reef fish. If you’re lucky you might even see a Galapagos scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini).

Flora and Fauna of Bartolome Galapagos Island

The flora and fauna of the Bartolome Galapagos Island is plenty of charm as the place itself. Between the months of January and March the green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) come to the golden sand beach of Bartolome to nest their eggs. Only 1% of the babies reach adulthood. This species is endemic and unfortunately is in danger of extinction. This animal can measure up to 84 centimeters and feeds on algae and marine plants, but it can also hunt small sea crabs, as well as jellyfish. Volunteer programs have been developed among visitors to the island, so that they share with this reptile but at the same time, get involved in the care and conservation of them.

The Galapagos hawk (Buteo galapagoensis)

It is a bird of prey endemic to the archipelago. It measures 53 centimeters, with a wingspan of 120 centimeters, especially in females that are larger than males. This bird feeds on the older or sicker members of the other species such as iguanas, penguins, rodents, snakes, lava lizards, and more. During the nesting and feeding period of the chicks, the female and the male share responsibility.

 Galapagos penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus),

This particular species is differentiated by its shiny black plumage and by its small size, they do not measure more than 53 centimeters. The island becomes their favorite resting place, here they are not disturbed. They are carnivorous animals, they feed on the variety of small fish and invertebrates that habit the waters that surround Bartolome Island. They are sociable animals, they gather in colonies with the same species and with others, and they are excellent diving companions for the tourist. Other swimming companions in Bartolome are the sea lions, rays and colorful tropical fish that are grouped in great quantity in the waters of Bartolome for the richness of their nutrients; Among the species of fish that we can find are sandpaper fish, black tambourine, dotted pig, lizard fish, trumpet fish, etc. Likewise, whitetip reef sharks can often be seen navigating the shallow waters of the island.

Bartolome is a very dry and rocky island with low vegetation. The island’s flora species are known as “pioneers”, since these were the first species to adapt to the dry environment that Bartolome offers, having 100% volcanic soil. Among some of the representative flora species of the island are: The Lava Cactus (Brachycereus nesioticus), the mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) and the sand flower (Tiquilia paronychias).

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