The Beginning of Time

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After a few days in the Galapagos you become amazed that islands can look so different. The geography changes drastically with the animals so on one island you may see tons of birds but on another they are rare.

And while our guide Juan explained that the islands are constantly changing with older islands eroding and new ones forming I had no idea we would see the beginning of an island.


sullivan bay

Sullivan Bay is evidence of this formation. The last major eruption was in the early 1900s and today you can walk over black lava flow complete with bubbles.

Small plants like cactus and carpet weed are beginning to form as birds have left seeds from flying over top.

In the right light you can see the red tones of oxidation which is the beginning of basalt turning into soil particles.


Sullivan Bay

lorna lead me crazy cave

Galapagos lava

Most of the island is pahoehoe, a Hawaiian term for braided lava but there is also aa (jagged and painful to fall on).

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The type of formation depends on the temperature of the molten lava and the gas content. Pahoehoe is formed from lava with a high temperature and gas content flowing quickly.


galapagos lava

The sun bakes the lava to such a hot temperature you won’t see any animals other than insects, lizards or snakes.

We arrive just before sunset and it’s still incredibly hot. But Juan tells us it’s perfect for a volcanic massage. You simply lay on the warm ropey lava and relax.

Now this is something I can do.


Disclosure: I was a guest of Exodus Travels through a project with the Navigate Media Group but they did not request I write a favourable review or act like a crazy cave woman with Lorna.

Join the Conversation

  1. That looks so warm and inviting!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You would have loved it, so amazing to see the beginning of life on an island.

  2. Reminds me a lot of the Kona side of the Big Island, Hawaii. Fresh lava flows hardened into new foundations for the island.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have been to Maui twice but never the Big Island. Soon!

  3. That looks so perfect.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It really was.

  4. The Galapagos Islands are a place that I never really considered. I mean, yeah, I would never turn my nose up at a trip, but seeing all your awesome photos makes me think long and hard about moving it up a bit higher on my priority list. Plus, I’d really like a lava massage.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The last time I was in South America I spent 3 months in Ecuador and never seriously considered it as I am not really an animal person but it was so incredible. I’m not the type to gush over a place but if I did this would be it.

  5. Seems like an interesting experience. Especially the lava massage!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      All of Galapagos has been amazing, I cannot recommend it enough.

  6. I would love to see lava like that some day! And hopefully a fully active volcano from a safe distance too! 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I was in Guatemala a week before Pacaya erupted, while I was there it has flowing hot lava that we roasted marshmallows on!

  7. Bruised Passports says:

    That picture of the braided lava is stunning, to say the least

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I had never seen anything like it before, really amazing to see an island in the early stages.

  8. Mike | Earthdrifter says:

    I had a hot stone volcanic massage in Baños but I never knew about that natural ropey lava volcanic massage. It looks so therapeutic. I’d love to get over there and try that out.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I love hot stone massage, Baños is definitely a treat.

  9. Volcanic massage sounds so organic. Better that it’s free tehehe! I do love the texture of the lava flows.

    This is truly like a glimpse of the beginning of the world!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have never seen lava cool into ropes like it did there, it was really amazing to see.

  10. Nicole @ Green Global Travel says:

    Wow. What a strange looking environment. Looks like another planet! How cool (or is that hot :P)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is super hot during the day, we went at dusk and it was still so humid.

  11. Charli | Wanderlusters says:

    Now that’s an adventure activity that sounds pretty appealing to me! The patterns in the lava flow are mesmerising. I’m a little green with envy at your amazing experiences. I hope one day I’ll find myself on those diverse shores. I’m hoping to explore under the waterline too!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I went snorkeling here as well, saw a shark!

  12. TammyOnTheMove says:

    When I went there, I had hours of fun taking silly pictures of me lifting up the incredibly light rocks. It is a great place!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I never thought to do that!

  13. James @ Africa Tours says:

    After seen all pictures i realised that you have reached at a different planet of Lava.

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