Named for Columbus' patron, King Ferdinand of Spain, this young, uninhabited island off the west coast of Isabela Island is among the more remote in the group. The vast lava fields there are treacherous, and visitors must be careful where they step to avoid breaking the lava and hurting themselves. Its only site for visitors, Punta Espinoza, is a nesting area for marine iguanas, the only species of seagoing iguanas. Thousands of the dragonlike creatures bask in the sun on the black lava rocks off the northern coast. Adjacent dive sites offer the chance to observe penguins. No nonnative plants or animals have ever been introduced to this island, making it one of the most pristine in the archipelago.

The rocky shorelines are home to flightless cormorants, too, and colonies of sea lions bask in pools created when lava from Volcano La Cumbre flowed into the sea. This is the best site to see lava cacti, which grow on young lava and need little water. The volcano, which rises in the center of the island, is one of the most active in the Galapagos. It last erupted in 2009.

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