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Hidden Treasures of Golden Hour at Elizabeth Bay in Galapagos

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We’re sharing our best photos of a recent vacation visit to Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands, home to sea turtles, mangrove trees, penguins and more. It was golden hour when we were there, and the serenity of the cove we explored was the perfect note on which to end our day of adventures.

where is Elizabeth Bay located?

Elizabeth Bay lies on the west coast of Isabela Island in the Galapagos Islands. It sits at the narrowest east-west extension, where lava flows from the Alcedo and Sierra Negra volcanos connected.

Elizabeth Bay Galapagos Islands
Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

In the easternmost area of Elizabeth Bay, there’s a cove that can be entered only through a narrow channel. There, mangroves are abundant. There are red, white and black varieties of mangrove, some growing as tall as trees.

Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

It’s one of the few places on Earth with this collection of natural elements: a large Mangrove forest abutted by an extensive black lava field.

Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

Different animals prefer different parts of this beautiful and serene location. At the entrance to Elizabeth Bay, its easy to spot Blue-Footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos Penguins.

The mangrove cove is favored by green sea turtles, tree sea lions, and Great Blue Herons. The shallow water and extensive root system of the mangroves provide shelter and a safe resting place for smaller fish to hide from larger predators.

Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

The hushed serenity of Elizabeth Bay means that even Zodiacs have to change their standard operations. On this tour, the Zodiac sailors used paddles instead of the motor to minimize noise and disruption and maximize the chances of seeing some of the most prevalent species in the area. Humans and animals all seemed to benefit from this unusual quietude.

A yellow warbler in Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

photos and highlights from Elizabeth Bay

1. Galapagos Penguins

Photos from Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands.. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
Galapagos penguin in Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
©Dandelion Chandelier.

2. Sally Lightfoot Crabs

visit to Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands, home to sea turtles and mangrove trees
A Sally Lightfoot crab in Elizabeth Bay. ©Dandelion Chandelier.
©Dandelion Chandelier.

3. the mangrove cove

visit to Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands, home to sea turtles and mangrove trees
Mangrove trees in Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
visit to Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands, home to sea turtles, mangrove trees, penguins and more
Mangrove tree trunks in Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
Mangrove tree roots on Elizabeth Island in the Galapagos archipelago. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
Mangrove tree roots on Elizabeth Island in the Galapagos archipelago. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

4. flightless cormorants

Flightless cormorants don’t stand out visually in the distinctive manner of other Galapagos birds. But we love their serene, elegant grace.

Flightless Cormorant on Elizabeth Island in the Galapagos archipelago. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

After they dive and hunt for fish, they stand on the shoreline and spread their wings to dry.

Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

Their gorgeous earth toned plumage and piercing blue eyes make them the underrated stars of the mangrove cove.

Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

5. green sea turtles

The Galapagos are famous for many unusual and unique species, and one the most beloved is the green sea turtle. The best way to spot one is going snorkeling. But one of the many pleasures of Elizabeth Bay is that you can see them easily in the clear waters.

visit to Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands, home to sea turtles, mangrove trees, penguins and more
Green sea turtle in the Galapagos Islands. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
The waters of the cove at Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

Every now and then, you can even spot a head above the surface, as the turtles come up for air.

Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
Green sea turtle among the mangroves in Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

6. a magnificent Elizabeth Bay Sunset

We were fortunate enough to visit Elizabeth Bay at golden hour, when the light was liquid and golden and everything appeared to be even more ethereal.

photos of a recent vacation visit to Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands, home to sea turtles, mangrove trees, penguins
Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
photos of a recent vacation visit to Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands, home to sea turtles, mangrove trees, penguins
Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
photos of a recent vacation visit to Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands, home to sea turtles, mangrove trees, penguins
Is it just us, or does this rock outcropping look exactly like Martha’s Vineyard? Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.
visit to Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands, home to sea turtles, mangrove trees, penguins and more
The Silversea Origin at sunset in the Galapagos Islands. Photo ©Dandelion Chandelier.

Just as the sun was setting, it was time to head back to our ship for another night – the end of a perfect Galapagos day.

Elizabeth Bay Galapagos Islands

Those are some of our best photos of a recent vacation visit to Elizabeth Bay in the Galapagos Islands, home to green sea turtles, three varieties of mangrove trees, Galapagos penguins and more. It’s a sanctuary for the wildlife that live there – and also for those fortunate enough to visit even for just an afternoon.

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