James (San Salvador Island) Santiago
Santiago is the fourth largest island in the Galápagos and one of the most volcanically active. Like San Cristóbal, Santiago is two coalesced volcanoes.Of interest in the northwest of the island is a young pahoehoe flow which can be seen at James Bay. In 1835 Darwin found pieces of a quince marmalade jar, manufactured in 1684, in the lava flow. The marmalade had been left by buccaneers and was overrun by the flow, indicating an eruption sometime between 1684 and 1835. The flow is often called "Marmalade Pot Flow".Another interesting area of the island is Sullivan Bay, in the southeast of the island. A large palagonite cone called Cerro Inn is the main attraction.Near the shore can often be seen lava lizards, marine iguanas, sally light-foot crabs, Galápagos penguins, blue-footed boobies, and lava heron. The vegetation on the interior of the island has been destroyed by the 50,000 or more feral goats. They were introduced to the island in 1813, at which time four escaped from captivity.
There are several islands and visitor sites which are commonly visited in the Santiago vicinity.
This 1.2sq.km/.7sq.mi island is one of the most popular areas in the islands. There are two main visitor sites. The first is reached by a trail which leads through a lava field to the highest point on the island at 114m/364ft. Views from the top extend to Santiago and the surrounding areas. This view is one of the most commonly photographed spots in the islands.The other visitor site on the island involves a wet landing on a beach. There is good snorkeling and swimming and an opportunity to swim with Galápagos penguins and marine turtles. A trail leads from here to another nearby beach.
Located south of Santiago, Isla Rábida covers approximately 5sq.km/3sq.mi. There is a wet landing on a beach.Pelicans nest in this area and sea lions can also be seen here. A lagoon near the beach offers an opportunity to see white-cheeked pintails. A short trail leads to a snorkeling area and offers fine views of the island.
Sombrero Chino is a tiny "hat shaped" island southeast of Santiago. There is a visitor site at a cove with a short trail leading through a sea lion colony. It is also possible to swim and snorkel in this area.