Bartolomé Overview
Bartolomé Island is a small, barren volcanic islet situated to the east of Santiago Island in the Galapagos Archipelago. It covers an area of 1.2 square kilometers and reaches a maximum altitude of 114 meters. The island is named after Sir Bartholomew James Sulivan, a friend and colleague of Charles Darwin who served as a lieutenant aboard the HMS Beagle. Sulivan played a pivotal role in the Beagle's surveying expeditions, contributing significantly to the scientific understanding of the Galapagos Islands during the 19th century.
The island's most iconic feature, Pinnacle Rock, is a testament to its volcanic origin. Thin layers of basalt made up the towering structure that made up this striking formation as a result of the explosive interaction between magma and seawater. Pinnacle Rock has not only become a symbol of Bartolomé but also gained fame through its appearance in the 2003 movie "Master and Commander."

Ecological Diversity and Wildlife

Bartolomé Island offers a unique ecological landscape, characterized by its diverse wildlife and marine habitats. The Galapagos Penguins, a major attraction on the island, have established a small but significant breeding colony. These penguins, the second-smallest species globally, faced a dramatic population decline during the 1982 El Niño but have shown resilience and gradual recovery, thanks to ongoing conservation efforts.
The surrounding waters of Bartolomé are rich in marine life, attracting snorkelers and divers from around the world. Home to Green Sea Turtles, sea lions, various shark species, rays, and colorful fish, the underwater world here is vibrant and diverse. The cold, nutrient-rich currents contribute to this richness, supporting a wide array of sea birds and marine animals, including the fascinating Red-lipped Batfish found in deeper sandy areas.

Visitor Experience

Bartolomé provides an immersive experience for visitors, blending natural beauty with adventure. The island's landscape, which is characterized by volcanic formations and sparse vegetation, provides a distinctive setting for a variety of activities. The main attractions include trekking to the island's summit, where a wooden staircase helps protect the terrain from erosion while providing access to breathtaking panoramic views.
The golden beaches of Bartolomé are ideal for snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing. The north beach, in particular, is a popular spot for encountering wildlife, including playful sea lions and speedy penguins. A short trail through the mangroves leads to the southern beach, a nesting site for sea turtles and a habitat for reef sharks and rays.

Conservation and Accessibility 

Conservation efforts on Bartolomé Island prioritize protecting its unique ecosystems and minimizing human impact. The island's management includes measures to prevent erosion and maintain the natural habitat for its diverse species. Visitors are encouraged to follow local guidelines to support these conservation efforts.
Bartolomé is accessible via a two-hour boat ride from the Itabaca Channel, making it an accessible day trip from Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. This proximity, combined with the island's ecological and geological significance, makes it a highly recommended destination for those exploring the Galapagos.
In conclusion, Bartolomé Island is not just a travel destination but a window into the rich biodiversity and geological history of the Galapagos Archipelago. Its unique landscapes, diverse wildlife, and commitment to conservation offer a compelling experience for eco-tourists and nature enthusiasts.

Fast Facts about Bartolomé

Main Features: Panoramic View, Pinnacle Rock, Tropical Penguin, Good Snorkeling
Interaction In Site: Dinghy Ride, Snorkeling, Hiking
Type of Landing: Wet &/or Dry Landing: Off a Dinghy ride in Beach shore or Bridge/rocks
Fitness: Medium/High


View other Islands and Wildlife similar to the Bartolomé

*Visit point inclusion is subject to cruise programs and logistics. These are regulated by the galapagos national park.