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Santiago Island Visitor Site: Sullivan Bay - Hiking - Ecuador

The eastern side of Santiago Island was volcanically active relatively recently (about 100 years ago) and Sullivan Bay is a great place to see lava, sometimes edged with black volcanic glass (obsidian). There is a small colony of Galapagos Penguins at the landing site, but visitors hoping to see a lot of wildlife will be disappointed. On the sun-baked lava, insects and lava lizards may hop around, but there's little else.

Still, the geology of the area is very interesting. You can see the path of lava flow as well as the various igneous rock structures formed from varying rates of flow, temperature of formation, and pressure. Here you can see examples of three lava types—pahoehoe (braided), aa (jagged and painful), and schrict (ropy). You can also find hornitos, little ovens, formed when bubbles escape from hot lava to form mini-volcanoes. Your guide may even point out holes where trees were vaporized by the hot lava.

The regeneration of the island is ongoing. Pioneer plants such as Brachycereus cactus and Mollugo carpetweed can be seen as well as colonizer animals like insects, lizards and snakes.

The bay is considered a good snorkeling site: fortunate visitors will get to take a dip after taking the lava hike.

Trail Difficulty: 3/5. Lava can be treacherous, and the hike can get quite hot in the sun.

Highly probable to see:

  • Galapagos Penguins
  • Sally Lightfoot Crabs
  • Sea Lions
  • Lava Lizards

Probable to see:

  • Blue-footed boobies
  • American Oystercatcher
  • Galapagos Hawk

Possible to see

  • Galapagos snake
  • sea turtle (snorkeling)







Here are other activities in and around Galápagos Island Visitor Sites that may be of interest: Punta Moreno, Bartolome Island Visitor Site: La Escalera/The Stairs, Genovesa Visitor Site: Darwin Bay, Academy Bay Boat Tour, Cerro Dragon/Dragon Hill Visitor Site, Floreana – Asilo de la Paz/asylum of Peace visitor site, Nearby Beaches, Genovesa Visitor Site: El Barranco/Prince Phillips’ Steps, Los Gemelos and La Playa de los Alemanes, Las Grietas.

View Galápagos Island Visitor Sites Map

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