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Genovesa Island

Genovesa is located in the northeastern extreme of the archipelago, and since it lies within the Northern Hemisphere, a visit to Genovesa warrants crossing the equatorial line with all of the associated ceremonious fanfare. It is a large island, covering 14km2, with two visitor sites, both of which are amazing sites for bird enthusiasts. The island of Genovesa attracts enormous colonies of land and sea birds, most notably the red-footed booby, which is found on only two islands in the entire archipelago.

During the dinghy ride from the cruise ship along the island's cliff facade to the first visitor site, Prince Philip's Steps , passengers can witness red-billed tropicbirds, frigatebirds, swallow-tailed gulls, and boobies flying, fishing, and nesting in cracks in the cliff. Visitors land at the base of Prince Philip's Steps-a steep, rocky staircase up the 25-meter high cliff face-and continue their avian exploration along a 1-km trail through the island's Palo Santo forest, where red-footed boobies can often be seen nesting. Further along the trail, there is an expanse of lava where short-eared owls, Galápagos swallows, Galápagos doves, and storm petrels are visible.

The second visitor site, Darwin Bay , has a white-sand beach aligned with mangrove patches and the resident coastal land birds, Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. Further along the trail are beautiful turquoise tide pools with the occasional misfit sea lion.

Because of the steep underwater terrain of Genovesa, snorkeling and scuba-diving can be exciting and unique from other sites in the archipelago. Snorklers that like to dive and can hold their breath for extended periods of time may see interesting bottom-dwellers, tropical fish found only in the northern archipelago, or even a hammerhead shark.

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