I started my first full day in the Galápagos, onboard MV Origin, by visiting Genovesa Island!
Also known as Bird Island, this spot is known for its gorgeous ecosystem. The island is shaped like a horse-shoe and was formed from the eruption of a volcano. This resulted in a submerged crater and is what we now know as Darwin Bay, which is surrounded by steep cliffs.
We took a dingy to the island and arrived at Prince Philip’s Steps. As soon as the boat stopped, I was surprised at how arid and hot the islands are; definitely not the climate I was expecting!
Prince Philip’s Steps
This is the first place I’ve encountered wildlife that is so fearless around people. The “locals” at Prince Philip’s Steps came right up to check us out.
Prince Philip’s Steps leads up the cliff-face to a plateau where you’ll walk along a trail with an incredible amount of birds. We got the chance to learn about the breeding and nesting habits of nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, frigates, and other local wildlife.
We even saw an owl!
This spot is apparently one of the best places to see the famous red-footed booby, so keep your eyes peeled.
Afternoon Snorkeling at Darwin Bay Beach
We had lunch on the ship then headed over to Darwin Bay beach. Darwin Bay is the area of water surrounded by Genovesa Island.
There is great snorkeling at Darwin Bay beach. The waters are filled with starfish, rays, and white tip reef sharks. The one snag in my underwater adventure was drowning my camera. Sadly, it took some serious damage because the housing wasn’t sealed properly while I was snorkeling.
If you’re bringing an underwater case for your camera, learn from my mistake and be sure that each time you enter the water it is properly sealed.
Helpful Tip: Be sure to plan on some extra time to lounge around. If you hang out on the beach for a while you are bound to make friends with some of the sea lions who love to chill there.
You will find the essentials on the main islands, but expect to pay a premium on sunscreen. I think it was close to $20 a bottle!
While Ecoventura does provide wetsuits, I brought my own.
You’ll also want to pack a rain jacket, water shoes, and binoculars for exploring. Of course, last but not least, a zoom lens and a GoPro waterproof camera are must-haves! The GoPro is a great camera to bring to the Galápagos because the animals are curious and will come right up to the lens!
Read More: My Travel Photography Gear
More Galápagos essentials!