Pinzón Island is a 7 square miles island in central Galapagos. It was named after the brothers Pinzon, who were captains of the boats Pinta and Nina, on Christopher Columbus' expedition to the new world. The main visitor point on Pinzón Island is the marine site No Name Rock, perfect for snorkeling and diving, where you can spot hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, Galapagos sharks, rays and even dolphins. One of the island's highlights on your tour here is snorkeling with penguins. The waters near Pinzón Island are calm and crystalline, suitable for both beginners or experienced divers, and they have a lot to offer, no matter the time of year you decide to visit. However, conditions may differ depending on the season. From December to May the weather and the sea water are warmer, making the experience more pleasant. From June to November the water is cooler because of the Humboldt Current, but also richer in nutrients, attracting a more diverse marine wildlife.
Penguin Bay is a naturally protected cove on the eastern part of the island, with calm and clear waters, rich in marine life, including reef fish, reef sharks and sea turtles.
On the island there are sea lions, lava lizards, marine iguanas, giant tortoises and Galapagos snakes. As for birds, you can see Galapagos hawks, Darwin’s finches and Galapagos doves. The island has a rocky landscape, with thorny vegetation and not many trees. However, it is not arid, as the island's height (maximum altitude 1 502 feet) frequently determines the formation of thick mists.
There's a Pinzón tortoise project still underway, that was started in 1965, aiming to increase the tortoise population on the island, who was then at about 100 individuals. Because of the black rats introduced on the island around the 1800s, there were no longer any tortoise eggs or hatchlings on Pinzón in the 20th century, only adult tortoises. The rats were successfully eradicated in 2012 and, with the help of the rearing program as well, the tortoise population slowly began to be rebuilt, having nearly tripled.
On Pinzón Island two airplanes from the US base on Baltra Island crashed during World War II, and their remains are still visible on the island.
Despite having a central position, Pinzón Island is pretty isolated and not visited very frequently, so make sure to check your itinerary of your Galapagos islands cruise to check that it is included.
Pinzón Fast Facts:
- One of Pinzón Island's main attraction is snorkeling with penguins.
- The Pinzón tortoise project was started in 1965 and still underway for increasing the native tortoise population.
- The remains of two planes crashed on Pinzón Island during World War II are still visible.
Blue-Footed Booby, Galapagos Frigatebirds, Galapagos Green Turtle, Galapagos Petrel, Galapagos Sea Lion, Galapagos Shearwater, Galapagos Sting Rays, Nazca Booby