AM: Genovesa Island is famous for birdlife and neither of its two visitor sites disappoints. Genovesa is the remnant of a once-mighty volcanic crater, and the island still has a distinctive crescent shape. The body of water formed by the crescent is called Darwin Bay, in spite of the fact that Charles Darwin did not ever visit this particular island.
There are no large land animals on Genovesa: not even tortoises or land iguanas. Unlike other islands, Genovesa never had a problem with destructive introduced animals like feral cats or goats, which has allowed birdlife to thrive unmolested on the island for millennia. In the morning, you will visit the Prince Philip’s Steps site. Getting to the visitor site from the landing area is tricky and involves a bit of climbing skill, but once you’re up, Prince Philip’s Steps is a visitor favorite.
There is a magnificent view from the upraised plateau, especially on a clear day. An easy trail winds through a low, scrubby forest and ends up at a rocky ravine of sorts, where lucky visitors will spot the rarely-seen Short-eared Owl. Visitors may also see Red-footed Boobys, gulls, or other birds nesting or visiting the site.
PM: The Darwin Bay visitor site is on the interior side of the crescent-shaped island, protected from wind and currents. It is a wide, sandy beach with a short trail that leads off to one side of the beach and up into some rocky formations. There are many bird species here: visitors can expect to see Blue-footed Boobys, Frigate Birds, Lava Gulls, Herons, Swallow-tailed Gulls, and more.
It is one of the few visitor sites in the islands where you can see Red-footed Boobys. There are some tidal pools off the trail: lucky visitors may spot a ray or some fish trapped there until the tide returns. Following the visit, guests will get to snorkel in the sheltered waters of the bay. Although deep water currents can sometimes cause the water to be chilly or cloudy, the crescent shape of the island protects the bay from strong winds.
The bluffs along the side of the bay drop sharply into the water, which means that snorkelers can stay close to shore but still have deeper water off to one side. Lucky snorkelers might see sharks, rays, sea lions, sea turtles, and dazzling reef fish including parrotfish, wrasses, king angelfish, and damselfish.