Prince Philip's Steps, also known as El Barranco in Spanish, is a renowned visit point on Genovesa Island in the Galapagos. This site owes its name to Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, following his visits to the Galapagos Islands. It features natural rock formations that create a pathway leading to stunning views of the island's lava plains.
The area is a haven for birdwatchers, with an abundant presence of various bird species. Visitors can observe blue-footed, red-footed, and Nazca boobies, alongside Galapagos owls and pigeons. Additionally, the region is home to Darwin's finches, Galapagos fur seals, marine iguanas, doves, swallow-tailed gulls, petrels, land iguanas, mockingbirds, shearwaters, hawks, and red-billed tropicbirds, offering a comprehensive glimpse into the diverse wildlife of the Galapagos.
Flora and Hiking Experience
Palo santo vegetation surrounds the trail at Prince Philip's Steps, giving the hike a distinctive botanical element. The moderate 0.9-mile (2 km) hiking trail, which requires a dry and somewhat challenging landing, rewards hikers with spectacular panoramic views and unparalleled birdwatching opportunities.
Activities and Nearby Attractions
Visitors can indulge in various activities, such as kayaking, hiking, Zodiac rides, and snorkeling. Each activity offers a distinct way to experience the natural beauty of the island. Additionally, the nearby Darwin Bay is a notable attraction, famous for its bird-filled mangroves, sea lion-populated tidal pools, and impressive cliff-top views.
In essence, Prince Philip's Steps (El Barranco) is an exceptional destination within the Galapagos Islands, offering visitors a rich blend of wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and a range of adventurous activities. It stands as a must-visit for nature lovers and adventurers, promising a memorable experience in one of the world's most unique ecosystems.