Exploring the Galapagos Islands: Bartolome and Sombrero Chino

Offering a spectacular view of arguably the most famous spot in the entire Galapagos Islands, the island of Bartolome is like something out of a movie. Actually, its volcanic landscape HAS been in movies, most notably Master and Commander. But that’s a story for another day.



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Despite being tiny, Bartolome packs a punch. Made entirely of volcanic rock, it looks like something from another planet and is completely uninhabitable. After reaching it by boat, visitors hoof up the long wood pathways which lead all the way to the top. But be warned: it’s not an easy climb, especially in the scorching heat the Galapagos Islands is known for!


After passing lava cacti and volcanic tubes which run down the cliff side, you’ll finally get to the top and be treated to a spectacular view of Pinnacle Rock—the most photographed spot in the entire Galapagos. If you’re lucky you’ll get to watch the sun set, before heading back down the 374 steps to get back to the dock.



As if Bartolome isn’t cool enough, the area is also home to one of the best snorkeling areas: Sombrero Chino. ‘Chinese Hat’ is one of the best spots to see those famous sharks. In fact, this is where we noticed a large shark circling our yacht for a few hours. It was slightly unnerving to say the least!


Sombrero Chino is also home to huge turtles, massive stingrays and loads of tropical fish. The shallow, clear water also means you’re likely to spot penguins—how fun is that?! But you’ve got to keep an eye out for the little buggers, as they move shockingly fast in the water. Who knew?

RELATED: Finding the rainbow in Espanola, Galapagos Islands



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Globe Guide travelled to the Galapagos as a guest of Ecoventura. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles

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7 Responses

  1. November 11, 2014

    […] all the animals, there are also incredible landscapes which are a photographers dream. For example, Bartolome is volcanic and its craters are like something from outer space—in fact, movies have been filmed there! […]

  2. December 26, 2014

    […] Exploring the Galapagos Islands: Bartolome and Sombrero Chino […]

  3. February 10, 2015

    […] Exploring the Galapagos Islands: Bartolome and Sombrero Chino […]

  4. July 9, 2015

    […] Exploring the Galapagos Islands: Bartolome and Sombrero Chino […]

  5. November 23, 2020

    […] Exploring the Galapagos Islands: Bartolome and Sombrero Chino […]

  6. November 24, 2020

    […] Exploring the Galapagos Islands: Bartolome and Sombrero Chino […]

  7. December 4, 2020

    […] is the only penguin found north of the equator, and are typically found on Fernandina, Isabela, Bartolome and Floreana islands. Weighing an average of less than six pounds, these cute critters are usually […]

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