Darwin Island is one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos archipelago, measuring 0.4 square miles, and it was named in honour of the famous Charles Darwin, its most famous visitor. Located several miles north of Wolf Island, the northernmost island in the archipelago, it was formed from an extinct and eroded volcano that still remains underwater, the island being only the top, and its maximum altitude reaches 541 ft.
There is no dry landing site, so the island cannot be visited on land, it is only accessible by liveboards on a Galapagos islands cruise. Its greatest attractions can be found underwater, where you can observe a diversity of amazing marine life, making the island one of the greatest diving sites not just in Galapagos, but the world. Among the plethora of exotic specimens, you can see here are dolphins, sea turtles, Galapagos sharks, hammerhead sharks, eagle and manta rays, reef fish, and seasonally the whale shark and even the albino whale shark. As for tropical fish, you can always observe parrotfish, surgeonfish, barberfish, trumpetfish, angelfish and the distinctive raccoon butterflyfish.
The most famous landmark of Darwin Island you'll see on your cruise is Darwin’s Arch, an impressive stone arch formation with a bridge-like aspect, 1km to the southeast of the island, that sits on a plateau below the water's surface. It marks the end of a reef and the slope is a mixture of lava and coral dropping away to the sand bottom. It offers amazing diving sites to the southeastern and northeastern sides of the arch, suitable for experienced divers, because of the strong and changing currents. Large schools of hammerhead sharks are known to gather here and come very close to divers, offering a fantastic experience for your trip. The best time for to go diving here is especially from June to November, when the Humboldt Current is the strongest, attracting an array of marine wildlife. Each dive will always differ from the other. You will find something new and interesting at any time.
Above water, a variety of sea birds can be spotted by taking a panga trip around Darwin's island, including red-footed boobies, Swallow-tailed gulls and the Darwin Mockingbird. It is the only island in Galapagos where the Sooty Tern breeds.
Darwin Fast Facts:
- Darwin Island is renowned for offering the best diving spots in Galapagos.
- Darwin's Arch is an impressive landmark on Darwin Island, then end of a reef that attracts a diversity of marine life.
- One of the most fascinating creatures to be seen at Darwin island are whale sharks, measuring up to 10–12 m in length.
Blue-Footed Booby, Galapagos Frigatebirds, Galapagos Fur Seal, Galapagos Green Turtle, Galapagos Marine Iguana, Galapagos Petrel, Galapagos Sharks, Galapagos Shearwater, Galapagos Sting Rays, Nazca Booby, Red-Footed Booby, Whale Shark, Whales & Dolphins