About the Island


The island consists of two overlapping volcanoes. The volcano in the island's southwest erupted along a linear fissure, and is much lower. The oldest lava (ropy lava) flows on the island date back to 750,000 years ago.

Santiago has a long human history as well as some outstanding opportunities for wildlife viewing. Marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, land and sea turtles, flamingos, dolphins and sharks are found here. Pigs and goats, which were introduced by humans to the islands and have caused great harm to the endemic species; those have been eradicated.

James Bay (Puerto Egas) has a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background.

Buccaneer Cove was a heaven for pirates during the 1600s and 1700s. Espumilla Beach allows swimming and snorkeling. Around, you’ll find a mangrove forest, lagoon with flamingos, nesting sea turtles and others.

In the coastal trail of the island we find the abandoned Salt Mines which were a monopoly that belonged to the government of Ecuador in 1963. The salt was extracted and sold on the mainland till the establishment of the law of free development industries in the country.


island sites

Sullivan Bay
During this visit, you will have the chance to see a lava flow which was formed about 100 year ago. The lava you will see is of the pahoehoe type (or ropy lava), which is typical of this side of the island. Other features of particular interest are the small Mollugo plants which start to grow in the lava fissures.
James Bay
On the northwester side of the island is located James Bay (Puerto Egas). It’s a black beach with eroded rock formations on the background. The trail crosses the dry interior, where the remains of a salt-mining enterprise can still be seen. Intertidal pools are the home of a variety of invertebrate organisms, including sea-urchins, octopuses and starfish. The trail then leads to the fur seal grottos, one of the only places on the islands where fur seals can be seen. Puerto Egas is a good spot for taking pictures, either at down or sunset; the light for photography is perfect.
Tip Top Fleet