We embarked on a boat tour today to Los Tuneles and Finada. We were fitted for shorties (the water is 22 Celsius), boarded our small boat apply named “Diana Cristina” and embarked on the 45 minute ride.
About half way to Los Tuneles, we came across a lava vent in the middle of the ocean. Super remarkable to see this miniature island sprouting from the sea out of nowhere. Of course, plenty of blue footed boobies, frigates and other wildlife had already claimed this rock as their own.
Los Tuneles, also known as Cabo Rosa, are a collective of geological, large lava formations. Ancient eruptions sent lava underground and they formed earth tunnels. They collapsed and gave rise to these arcs over the water where you can clearly see vegetation that comes out of the rocks. These formations range from majestic bridges, stately peaks, regal caverns, and cavernous paths.
It is absolutely one of the most breathtaking places I have ever seen. It is so hard to describe and the photos just don’t do it justice (click here to see professional pictures). The waters are pristine, sparkling blues and greens. When you look under a bridge, the light shines just so that the water blends from blues to greens.
We asked how old these formations were and our guide, Alexis Flores, V from Tunel Ocean said they make an educated guess by aging the cactus. The cactus grows a few centimeters a year making them between 1k-3,000 years old. He places the formations for which the cactus grows on to be 8k-10k years old.
Our captain expertly drove us through the narrow passageways, in and around areas we would have never thought possible and this was during mid-tide. He does this in low tide too. It was inspiring, beautiful, and awesome in every sense of the word.
Blue Foot Boobies:
Lots of wildlife inhabit this area including the super cool blue footed boobies. The older the boobie becomes, the bluer his/her feet get. When the males want to mate they use their feet in an elaborate dance to attract the females. The boobies are spectacular fisherman, they can dive from extreme heights, and plummet deep into the water to feed. However, on shore, they are pretty clumsy which led the Spanish to name them “bobo” which means “clutz, clumsy, or dummy” thus their name “boobie.”
We went on a walk about across the formations to find a boobie up close and personal. They are such strange yet beautiful birds. They have very expressive eyes! We also saw their cousin the Nazca boobie which is a brilliant white bird.
Alexis had to pull us away kicking and screaming as we did not want to leave this little piece of heaven. We took a group photo and headed back to Diana Cristina.
We found a sea sanctuary minutes away from Las Tuneles. Alexis told we had the chance to see a variety of sea creatures, but we had no idea what was in store for us. We put on our shorties, jumped in the water and set off on an incredible underwater adventure. Most of the swimming was in 1 meter of water so it was not very deep. The clarity was not spectacular, but since we were in such shallow water it did not matter.
Alexis expertly showed us the amazing wildlife roaming under the sea:
A regal 3.5-4” sea horse,
Dozens of enormous pacific green turtles
Half a dozen white tip sharks
Golden puffer fish, sea star, sea snake, and schools of other fish
Spotted eagle ray and a massive marble ray.
We also saw a penguin swimming in the water for a split second. It was the most impressive display of wildlife we had ever seen – all within a 45 minute swim.
On the way back to Isabela, we dropped a line in the water and caught two yellow fin tuna. Our guides kept one and we made dinner with the other.