Bartolome Island (Spanish: Isla Bartolomé) is a volcanic islet just off the east coast of Santiago Island. It is one of the “younger” islands in the Galápagos archipelago. It is named after Lieutenant David Bartholomew of the British Navy. With a total land area of just 1.2 km², this island offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the archipelago. The island consists of an extinct volcano and a variety of red, orange, green, and glistening black volcanic formations. A volcano that is more than a 100 m high marks the island. It is not so famous for its wildlife but for its lava landscape that seems almost unreal and which makes it possible to retrace the evolution of the islands.
Most ships anchor at the spectacular and famous Pinnacle Rock. If you take a panga (small boat) ride from there along the cliffs, you can usually see the tiny and friendly Galápagos penguin. This is the only kind of penguin that exists north of the equator. Directly next to the Pinnacle Rock there are the twin bays, the main characteristic of the island.
The underwater world there is really impressive. You can snorkel with the penguins, marine turtles and other tropical fish. The bay is also an excellent place to go swimming. The twin bays are connected by a thin isthmus. On the other side, you have the unique possibility to observe female marine turtles (depending on the season) that are waiting in the water of the bay for the night. Then they come to the dunes on the beach to lay their eggs. Please do not scare the exhausted animals by getting too close.
The highlight of all visits to the islands it certainly the hike to the top of the summit of the volcano. In about 40 minutes, the trail takes you over wooden steps and boardwalks up to the top. The landscape consists of plants that have adjusted to the dryness, like cacti, and it seems like almost from out of space.
When you reach the top, the spectacular view will take your breath. This is the most photographed motive on the Galápagos and should not be missing in any photo album. You can see the twin bays, the Pinnacle Rock, the moonlike landscape as well as an underwater crater. Besides, you can see Santiago Island that is close by and its famous Sullivan Bay is fascinating.
Because of the glaring sun in the afternoon, it is recommended to walk up in the morning. You will be rewarded by an extraordinary view!