Wildlife on Española Island
Due to the isolation of this southernmost Galapagos island, a handful of endemic species live on Española. For one, the island is the world’s only breeding ground of the Galapagos waved albatross. Visit Española between April and December to get a glimpse of this seabird that mates for life and exhibit an elaborate mating dance that can last days.
Another endemic species is the Española mockingbird, an infamously bold bird known for approaching and even landing on travelers in search of food. Be on the lookout for the Española marine iguana, dubbed the “Christmas iguana” for its striking red and green color.
The Española giant tortoise is one of the greatest success stories in wildlife conservation in the Galapagos. After nearing extinction in the 1960s, the species underwent an intensive breeding program to restore the population on Española. Today, there are around 1,500 giant tortoises on the island.
Birdlife thrives on the island. One of the greatest draws of Española Island is the chance to witness the blue-footed booby mating dance where the males show off their bright blue feet to the females in a confident strut. Other bird species on the island include Nazca boobies, Galapagos hawks, Galapagos doves, swallow-tailed gulls, red-footed tropicbirds, Darwin’s finches, and more.
The incredible sea creatures in the waters around Española are another high point of visiting the island. Besides the friendly sea lions that lounge on the coast, there are sea turtles, white-tipped reef sharks, rays, and a wide range of colorful reef fish.
Visiting Española, Galapagos
Explorers may join a Galapagos Islands cruise visiting the southern islands to enjoy the snorkeling spots and visitor sites of Española. An Española Island day tour is also possible from San Cristobal Island.