Formed 2 million years ago as a result of the eruption of a submarine volcano, North Seymour is one of the uninhabited islands of the Archipelago, located north of Baltra. Because it hosts the largest colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds is considered the most beautiful island in Galapagos for birdwatching. Although it can be visited throughout the year, from July to November you have a good chance to see whales swimming along the island, sometimes even with their babies.
Top Guided Tours and Activities (our favorite choices)
With breathtaking views and turquoise water, North Seymour is one of the most beautiful island in the Archipelago and the largest nesting site for many endemic birds in Galapagos. Covered with bushy vegetation, the island is relatively arid, surrounded by cliffs that are only a few meters high. Endemic Palo Alto trees serve as home for frigate-birds, while blue-footed boobies are nesting directly on the ground. If you’re lucky, alongside you may spot land iguanas that are basking in the sun or foraging for fruits underneath Giant Prickly Pear Cacti.
Tips&Tricks: Because blue-footed boobies have the whole body covered with feathers, they can not feel the temperature of the eggs. To maintain it constant until the chicks hatch, they need to measure it all the time with their feet.
Tips&Tricks: During the courtship period, male frigate birds are known for their pouches that seem like red hearts coming out of their chest. They stay inflated for several weeks until they mate.
One Day Guided Tour on North Seymour
When planning your North Seymour itinerary, you can choose between several different types of Galapagos cruises or day trips from the inhabited islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal or Isabela. The price for a one-day tour is around USD300, but it might vary depending on the season, and usually includes a guided hike and a few snorkeling stops, as well as lunch on the boat.
Access to the island requires a dry-landing, near a rocky cliff where you have to climb a few slippery concrete stairs. Once we arrived here, we were surprised by how many birds with a wingspan of up to 2m were flying above us. North Seymour’s only visitor site is a 2 km circular trail, that follows the coastline to the inland. The island is flat (its highest point reaches 28 meters), so the trek is easy and it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. Along its rocky coast, the trail passes a picture-perfect beach, home to a large colony of curious sea lions. The pups are very friendly, so it is often easy to forget that they are wild animals.
Being home to many sea lions, reef sharks, eels, rays, or tropical fish, North Seymour is among the most popular places to snorkel in Galapagos. For us, spending an entire morning in the ocean was a great adventure, since we could swim with so many playful sea lions, watch pelicans dive for fish into the water right next to us, and even saw a shark up close for the first time.
What to pack for a tour on North Seymour Island
Because we booked a full-day guided tour that includes hiking on a trail that has almost no shade (that can be challenging on a hot day) and snorkeling, we had to be prepared for both activities. Two medium-sized waterproof backpacks were really important to keep our items safe, in case of bad weather. In them, we took our water bottles, underwater camera, binoculars (because we love bird watching), sunglasses, SPF sunscreen (necessary throughout the day, even if it’s rainy or cloudy), towels, trekking clothes, wide-brimmed hats, and our snorkeling equipment consisting of 22mm thick neoprene wetsuits, snorkeling shoes and full-face masks.