HelenaVista Logo No H DGreen BG 1

The Galeodan Suites in Helena’s Garden

San Cristóbal Wildlife

More than anything, the Galápagos Islands are famous for their wildlife: as a living laboratory of evolution, illustrating as nowhere else on Earth, the ongoing process of Natural Selection first discovered by Charles Darwin as a result of his visit in 1835.

Within minutes of your arrival in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, you will meet its most ubiquitous inhabitant: the Sea Lion. Then, in no time, you will see Pelicans, Boobies, Lava Lizards and maybe even a couple of Marine Iguanas to greet you on the pier. Overhead you will notice flocks of Frigate Birds wheeling in the sky above you or teeming around a fishing boat returning to port with its catch.

Thanks to a lack of natural predators, the animals are mostly indifferent to the presence of humans. Within a couple of days, you will encounter most of the species which have made the Galápagos Islands famous. And many  of them are so curious or bold that it is sometimes easy to forget some absolutely essential rules

Collage - Wildlife
  • Don’t touch the animals:
  • Don’t feed feed the animals:
  • Don’t crowd the animals:

 

Human scent can be fatal to some animals, particularly nursing young who face rejection by the mother. Even at some distance our lotions and perfumes can damage their skin or eyes. Feeding is particularly bad for their health and encourages aberrant behaviour. Finally, if you invade their space, they will become increasingly wary of humans and, in some cases, may bite.

Be sure to study and obey the Galápagos National Park’s Rules for Visitors
GNP Logo

The following is by no means an exhaustive record of San Cristóbal wildlife - Just the ones you are most likely to encounter within a short time of your arrival on the island:

On the Shoreline...

Sea Lions

There are two species of sea lion in Galápagos

  • Galápagos Sea Lion and;
  • Galápagos Fur Seal (actually a type of sea lion)

Galápagos Sea Lions (Lobo Marino or just Lobo) are everywhere: on the beaches, out at sea, on the street, on your beach towel!

Despite the name, Fur Seals have external ears and can fold their rear limbs under their bodies: both features not found in true “seals”. Fur Seals favour more isolated locations and cooler water. 

Lobito

Lobo - Mother & PupLobo at Sea

The Sea Lion is such a prominent feature of San Cristóbal that it has become an icon, particularly for tourism - Promoted as  “La Cara de San Cristóbal” - “The Face of San Cristóbal”. How much you agree with this accolade depends on whether you are a resident, a tourist, or a fisherman (to whom they provide serious competition)..

Boys with Lobo

Sea Lion Etiquette

Juvenile sea lions, which are still being fed by their mothers, are naturally inquisitive and playful and are drawn to their human counterparts. The biggest risk here is to the sea lion - Although it is very tempting, humans must take care not to touch them or they face rejection by the mother as a result of human scent transmitted to the fur.

As the pups mature, their behaviour towards humans becomes increasingly unpredictable and you should give them a bit more space, particularly on land. In the water, they may still approach and check you out and there is no need to be concerned as long as you let them set the bounds. If you start chasing them, that’s another matter - They may bite.

You probably want to steer clear of the the big machos (males). They are territorial and aggressive if approached. Mothers are protective of their pups and also need more space.

Lobo Getting Booked

 

 

 

Marine Iguanas

Marine Iguana

Marine Iguanas (Iguana Marina) feed underwater, on algae, and must return to land regularly to warm up again in the sun. 

Although vulnerable to predation by feral cats, rats and dogs, Marine Iguanas have fared better in the populated islands than their land-living cousins. They can still be seen in Puerto Baquerizo itself, albeit in small numbers. The recently constructed Malecon (boardwalk) provides better isolation than before and their numbers are steadily increasing. Outside the port, they are easily found on the rocky shoreline, particularly in nearby Punta Carola.

Marine IguanaMarine Iguana

 

Crabs

Sally Lightfoot Crab

There are several species of crab (cangrejo) in San Cristóbal

In town, you will see numerous Sally Lighfoot Crabs on the rocks, just above water. They start life black and bloom into full colour as they mature.

Ghost Crabs and Hermit Crabs are common to many of the sandy beaches on San Cristóbal, particularly: Cerro Brujo and Playa Ochoa.

 

 

 

 

Button

On Land...

Tortoises

Tortoise

In common with other islands, San Cristóbal has its own unique species of tortoise (tortuga). The only surviving local population can be observed in wild, at Galapagera Natural, or at the Galapagera Cerro Colorado, where they are protected and bred.

At the Interpretation Centre, a short walk from Helena’s Garden, you can also meet Pépé - Surely the worlds’ fattest tortoise. Pépé was raised as a pet, outliving several generations of his owners before the Park moved him to a special pen at the Interpretation Centre.

 

 

Lava Lizards

Lava Lizard

Each island has its own variants of Lava Lizards (lagartija). They eat mostly insects and some plants. You can usually get quite close and it often seems you might step on one until it takes last moment evasive action. You can often see males defending their territory by doing push-ups.

 

 

Snakes & Bugs

Snake & Bug

Galápagos does have snakes, but no poisonous varieties. And, of course spiders, beetles, ants etc. Because they are carried so easily by travellers, Insects are amongst the most frequent of invasive species.

 

 

 

Button

In the Air....

Boobies, Pelicans & More...

Blue-footed BoobyRed-footed Booby

Every type of Booby can be found on San Cristóbal.

  • Masked Booby (piquero enmasquerado)
  • Blue-footed Booby (piquero pata azul)
  • Red-footed Booby (piquero pata roja)

Masked Boobies are ubiquitous in the port and most parts of the Island.

Blue-footed Boobies favour more isolated surroundings but can still be found close to town, in places like Isla Lobos and Punta Carola.

Red-footed Boobies are generally confined to Punta Pitt at the north east tip of San Cristóbal. Punta Pitt (at the north east tip of the island) is the only place in Galápagos where you can see all 3 species of booby, as well as frigate birds, nesting in the same area.

Masked Booby

Brown Pelicans (pelicano) will be amongst the first and most abundant birds you will encounter on arrival at San Cristóbal.

Frigate Birds (fragata), the males featuring a prominent and inflatable neck-pouch, are seen in considerable numbers wheeling in the thermals onshore and offshore, diving to plunder food from other birds or skimming over the water with beak open to scoop up small fish on the wing.

The Tropic Bird (pajaro tropical) is native as opposed to endemic  but is nonetheless a pleasing sight at sea and occasionally from shore.

While Finches are the most cited example of bird adaptation, it was the variation of beaks in the Mockingbird (sinsonte) that first excited Darwin’s curiosity.

Pelikan
Frigate Bird

Egret on Cow

Great Blue HeronGalapagos Night HeronGalápagos HeronYellow WarblerGalapagos Storm Petrel2012-09-02 093830 DPKOwl2013-12-29 132931 (1)Galapagos Shearwater

 

 

 

 

 

Button

In the Water....

Turtles abound in the port and beaches all around San Cristóbal so you are quite likely to meet one, maybe several, when swimming or snorkelling.

Several species of whale frequent the waters around San Cristóbal, including Minke, Humpback and Orca. You may also encounter Whale Sharks on a diving, snorkelling or fishing excursion.

Porpoises are frequent companions to trips between the islands and when out fishing. 

Humpback Whale Sea Turtle Bottle Nose Dolphin Collage - Fish

Bottle Nose Dolphin

Reef Fish: If you go snorkelling or diving, you will see everything from the weird and wonderful Batfish, , Moray Eels, shoals of Surgeonfish, Damsels, Grunts and Groupers, to Stingrays, Manta Rays, and Sharks: Galápagos Shark, Whitetip Reef Shark and, of course, the iconic Hammerhead.

Collage - GameFish

Game Fish: Galápagos, particularly San Cristóbal, has long been one of the world’s top destinations for fishing. For several years, it was illegal for tourists to fish here, but in 2006, the Galápagos National Park issued regulations and a limited number of licences to local fishermen to practice Vivencial Fishing. The distinctions between Vivencial Fishing and Sport Fishing, which is still illegal, are discussed in some detail on Galeodan’s main website: www.Galeodan.com.

San Cristóbal is particularly renowned for its marlin (striped, blue and black) but it is also a great destination for tuna, wahoo, dorado, jacks, groupers etc. You can easily catch over a dozen species in a day.

 

 

 

Button
PAV Link (LG-NB) GNP Rules1 Link - Our Green Space Link-B2B
Galapagos National Park Website
Facebook Link 1

Copyright © 2013 - 2016 Jardin de Helena. All Rights Reserved

Contact Us:

Email:
Tel:
Cell:

U.S. #:

Info@HelenaVista.com
+593 5 252 1613 or 0816
+593 99 654 9948 (Sean)
+593 99 643 4823 (Maria Elena)
+1 (646) 257 5948 (NY)