Espanola (Hood) Island, Ecuador Cruise Port

Considered one of the oldest of the Galápagos Islands, a cruise to Isla Española (also known as Hood Island), Ecuador means stepping foot on four-million-year-old land. A flat, dry island in the extreme southwest of the archipelago, the English named it Hood Island after Samuel Hood, a British admiral who served in the American Revolutionary War and French Revolutionary Wars. Popular among tourists and birdwatchers, Isla Española has the only waved albatross colony in the Galápagos. Thanks to a restoration program for the area's giant tortoises, their population has flourished despite almost going extinct in the 1960s. Along with the tortoises and albatross, the island has a large variety of animals, both on land and in the surrounding waters. Unlike some of the other nearby islands, Española has a sandy white beach, perfect for swimming. Here are some of our favorite experiences for the cruise port of Española Island, Ecuador:
 
  • Punta Suárez is a popular spot, thanks to multiple species of birds and animals; some you won't find anywhere else, such as the Española mockingbird, waved albatross, and Española lava lizard. There are sea lions everywhere, along with colonies of the blue-footed booby. Near the cliffs you might spot the red-billed tropicbirds performing aerial shows near the blow holes formed in the rocky shore below. Darwin’s famous finches hang out here as well.
     
  • If looking for the beach, Bahía Gardner (Gardner Bay) is your place. There are more sea lions to gaze upon, along with sea turtles, land iguanas, and nosy mockingbirds – which may be more interested in you than you are in them. Snorkeling fans will love the chance to swim with the sea lions and examine the gorgeous tropical fish.
     
  • Islote Gardner is an excellent spot for diving. Located in front of Gardner Bay, there are tons of fish to discover, including large pufferfish, scorpionfish, king angelfish, and red-lipped batfish, along with plenty of eels. Watch for underwater tunnels and caves, perfect for exploring.
     
  • Bajo Gardner is another amazing diving spot rife with fish and eels, along with eagle rays, peacock founders, creolefish, large Spanish hogfish, and many more.
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