Unpopulated and unspoilt is how we tend to describe Santiago Island. Steeped in wildlife and incredibly varied landscapes, and overflowing with history, there’s a lot to love about this Galapagos gem. While abandoned salt mining machinery on the shores of James Bay shed light on its surprising colonial and 17th century pirate origins, its surreal volcanic formations, ashen lava fields and magical mangrove forests and coves, which teem with Sally Lightfoot crabs, lava herons, and, of course, sleepy Galapagos fur seals, draw attention to its wonderfully abstract geology and stoic inhabitants. If you
time it right you may just be able to watch baby green sea turtles hatch and make their mad dash to the sea. The island is perfect for a day trip, and Santiago Island’s rock pools, lava bubbles, and surrounding petrified trees are sure to leave you just as they did all those that came before years ago – agog.

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