Head to Puerto Egas, a black-sand beach on the west side of James Bay, northwest of Isla Santiago. It's home to some amazing volcanic tuff formations. Take a stroll along the beach with the native marine iguanas, pelicans, finches, mockingbirds, oystercatchers, Galapagos sea lions and Galapagos fur seals. You can see the amazing tidal pools, formed from ancient lava flow, providing a home for sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish. You might also end up snorkelling with a Galapagos fur seal – they're always looking for a friend!
After Puerto Egas, sail to Espumilla Beach, located on the northern coast of Santiago. Espumilla has soft sands, tranquil waters and the chance of some large waves, making it a favourite among beach lovers. Not only is this island a nesting site for marine turtles, it's also a place to see ghost crabs, blue-footed boobies (often plunging for fish), brown pelicans and Galapagos hawks up close. It is also well known for its palo santo forest and some extraordinary lava formations. Head to Buccaneer Cove and witness its spectacular geology of volcanic ash (tuff). Here you might find the remains of objects used by pirates in centuries past. This is where Darwin camped for nine days while making his study of the islands and their wildlife. If conditions are favourable, you can enjoy some more snorkelling. Estimated travel time/distance: Isla Bartolome to Puerto Egas (Isla Santiago): 4.5 hours; 35 nautical miles Puerto Egas to Espumilla Beach (Isla Santiago): 45 minutes; 5 nautical miles Espumilla Beach to Buccaneer Cove (Isla Santiago): 15 minutes; 2 nautical miles (B/L/D)