These two small islands about 10 km west of Baltra provide the first macro view of the archipelago after landing in the airport.
If you have the opportunity to visit Daphne Major, the island home where Rosemary and Peter Grant conducted their study on Darwin finches that inspired the novel, The Beak of the Finch, consider yourself among select company: the island is only accessible to one scientific group per month in order to mitigate erosion.
It is clear from the beginning of the visitâ€”a landing which requires stepping from the moving dinghy onto a vertical cliff face and scrambling up the rocks to the head of the steep, rocky trailâ€”that a trip to Daphne is a special experience. The short trail leads up the side of the volcanic island to a 120-meter high summit, passing Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and finches along the way. At the top of the cone are two small craters, where hundreds of blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds settle to find their mates (a veritable bird motel!).
Daphne Minor is fairly eroded and not accessible to touristsâ€”although the surrounding waters are very popular dive site. The underwater geology of Daphne is very interesting, with recesses and steep cliffs, and a high possibility of seeing sharks--white-tipped, Galapagos, and occasionally hammerheads--along with sea turtles, and rays.