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Española Island

Española-the southernmost island in the archipelago-is one of the favorite islands among visitors due to its abundance and diversity of wildlife. Española is also the only island to harbor the waved albatross, the largest bird in the Galápagos, a vocal variety of mockingbird, and the most colorful marine iguanas in the archipelago.

Punta Suarez on the western side of the island is the most popular visitor site. The 2-km trail begins at a white-sand beach where sea lions and marine iguanas congregate. The trail continues along the coastline, passing colonies of blue-footed and Nazca boobies nesting on the cliffs, a finch or two flitting on the ground, and red-billed tropicbirds flying offshore. Meanwhile, lava lizards and Hood mockingbirds dart around visitors' feet. Further along the trail are a marine iguana nesting site, the "airport" where waved albatrosses take off and land, and a blowhole, where waves passing through a slit in the rocky coastline force water to spout into the air.

Gardner Bay is a beautiful, white-sand beach at the east end of Española, where visitors can nap next to sea lions, swim (carefully) in the powerful surf, or snorkel around an offshore island. Visitors that walk down the beach to the rocky limits may see marine iguanas or, if arriving near the end of the year (October-December), sea turtles mating.

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