Eden Island, Galapagos

Eden Island along the northwest coast of Santa Cruz Island is tiny, uninhabited, beautiful and restricted from landing. Tour boats float along the shoreline to marvel at the plants, birds, reptiles and sea life living here in harmony.

Share this

1 Introduction to Eden Island near Santa Cruz in Galápagos, EC

Eden Island is a sliver of volcanic rock located along the northwest shore of the large Santa Cruz Island. Isla El Edén measures less than 2,000 square feet in diameter. Despite its small size of .01 square miles, it exhibits three distinct landscapes. One is flat, arid and barren (seen on the left). In the middle is a 233 foot cliff. Later in this guide you will visually tour its lush, tranquil yet rugged coast. Sally Lightfoot crabs appear to love riding this horse-shaped sea stack. The huge colony of crabs includes all sizes, from small black hatchlings to bright red and orange adults measuring three to five inches.

Isla El Edén, Ecuador

2 Harmonious Neighborhood at Eden Island near Santa Cruz in Galápagos, EC

Three diverse sea creatures – all endemic to the Galápagos – form a harmonious neighborhood at the base of this cliff on Eden Island. The marine iguana is the only species in the world that lives on land yet feeds in the ocean. These cold-blooded reptiles regularly bask in the sun to regulate their body temperature. Sea lions haul-out to rest after extensive hunts below the water. And the Sally Lightfoot crabs eats algae cast ashore by turbulent waves. What a symbiotic relationship.

Isla El Edén, Ecuador

3 Blue-footed Booby at Eden Island near Santa Cruz in Galápagos, EC

Blue-footed boobies live on seven of the major islands in the Galápagos. They also reside on isolated islets such as Eden Island. This endemic bird – Sula nebouxii excise – is showcasing its favorite habitat: sparsely-vegetated lava rock along a rugged coastline. Other marine birds to watch for on the shores of Eden Island are Nazca boobies, lava gulls, herons, brown pelicans and frigatebirds.

Isla El Edén, Ecuador

4 Diving Blue-footed Booby at Eden Island near Santa Cruz in Galápagos, EC

Blue-footed boobies are awkward and clumsy on land. They are designed to be master aviators. Their five-foot wingspan allows them to soar over water in search of small fish such as sardines and anchovies. When a school is spotted, the booby becomes a rocket. It can plunge from over 100 feet and hit the water going 60 mph. Cranial air sacs cushion the impact. This amazing bird can swim to depths of 75 feet to catch and eat their prey. Within seconds, the booby bursts above the water in flight. Then it returns to the nest and feeds its young through regurgitation.

Isla El Edén, Ecuador

5 Boating around Eden Island near Santa Cruz in Galápagos, EC

There is no authorized landing at Eden Island. Instead, tourists board a small charter boat or cruise ship passengers ride on an inflatable raft. A certified guide will explain all of the highlights as you tour the coast. This view is the start of the flat shoreline defined by lava boulders, land and sea vegetation plus serene coves. Notice the tuff cone in the background. The volcano is dormant. If the timing of its eruption is similar to the last one on neighboring Santa Cruz, then Eden Island may have been formed about 1.5 million years ago.

Isla El Edén, Ecuador

6 Vegetation at Eden Island near Santa Cruz in Galápagos, EC

Clinging on top of brown, beige and black lava rocks on Eden Island are white palo santo trees mixed with tall prickly pear cactus and patches of saltbrush. The shoreline is protected by mangroves. The reddish sinewy roots emerging from the water are red mangrove, the most common type in the Galápagos. They grow best in low tidal areas. You might also see an occasional white mangrove.

Isla El Edén, Ecuador

7 Land Iguana at Eden Island near Santa Cruz in Galápagos, EC

Another resident of Eden Island you may encounter is the Galápagos land iguana. This unattractive lizard is endemic to seven central islands of the Galápagos. There are three unique species. This one is probably conolophus subcristatus. Yet each reptile’s colorization matches its environment. Notice how his scaly skin blends into the surrounding lava rock. These animals can grow to five feet long and weigh up to 25 pounds.

Isla El Edén, Ecuador

8 Thick Mangrove at Eden Island near Santa Cruz in Galápagos, EC

Some of the mangroves at Eden Island are very thick, especially along protected inlets. These salt impermeable trees thrive along lava rock and may be thousands of years old. They create inland wetlands, perfect for marine habitat, while deadening waves and filtering out impurities. They also help breed and retain plankton. This is an attractive food for turtles, sharks and rays. So keep peering into the shallow, aquamarine water as you float along. Below your boat is an amazing world of Galápagos sea life.

Isla El Edén, Ecuador