AM: Espumilla Beach (Santiago)
Espumilla Beach is a visitor’s site at the northern end of James Bay, on the western coast of Santiago. This beach has revived as an important breeding site for turtles, as it is no longer suering from digging wild pigs. The turtles return year after year to burry their eggs into the cinnamon coloured sand dunes. About two months later (roughly from February to August) the eggs hatch at once. Most vulnerable hatchlings never will reach sea, and form a banquet for predators such as herons, frigatebirds, mockingbirds and ghost crabs. The beach ridge hides a mangle with two picturesque lagoons on the backside. The colony of American amingos and aquatic birds used to be its main attraction, but after the climate phenomenon of El Niño, strong sedimentation altered the brackish water environment, and it no longer contains their food
PM: Puerto Egas ( Santiago )
Dominated by the 395 m / 1300 ft high Pan de Azúcar (Sugarloaf), Puerto Egas is the southernmost pearl in the necklace of visitors sites along James Bay. It is named after Héctor Egas, who made a second attempt to mine salt commercially out o an inland crater lake in the 1960s. Santiago and its surrounding islets stand out by their spectacular and unique volcanic and coastal landscapes, and Puerto Egas is no exception. The masterly sculptured coastline of black basalts, polished multi-coloured ash-layers, collapsed lava tunnels, natural arches, caves and blowholes such as ‘Darwin’s toilet’ and tidal pools form again very photogenic scenery. If you are rather a wildlife lover, you will also fully enjoy this unique place that probably will become your favourite on this island. You will nd lots of representative members of the Galapagospopulation. Right below a spectacular rock arch in a grotto at the end of the beach a colony of Galapagos fur seals has occupied the shade, sheltering from the equatorial sun. Unlike the more common Galapagos sea lion this smaller species of seal is no beach lover at all, due to their adorable, but insulating coats. This outstanding refuge is the very best place throughout the archipelago to see these endemic, shy and once heavily hunted marine mammals. Puerto Egas also teems with extremely varied intertidal life, especially on low tide.