Marchena is the Galapagos' seventh biggest island and the biggest island with no visitor sites. It covers an area of 50 square miles (130 square kilometers) and rises to 1,125 feet (343 meters) above sea level.
The island consists of a single volcano which remains active and has had a lot of volcanic activity, though there is only one known eruption, which occurred in 1992. Marchena has a caldera, like many of the islands, but Marchena's caldera has been almost completely filled with young lavas, some of which have spilled over and down the sides. The oldest lavas are 500,000 years old.
Most visitors only see Marchena if they sail around the northern part of Isabela on the way to Tower Island, its nearest neighbor about 45 miles due west. The island's name comes from a Spanish monk, Frey Antonio de Marchena. The English knew it as Bindloe, after John Bindloe; a ship's captain.
Marchena is rather desolate and has no fresh water and hence has never been settled, and its flora and fauna have not been disturbed by feral animals or introduced plants. Except for diving in the waters around it, it is off-limits to tourists and is therefore seldom visited. Tortoises have apparently never inhabited Marchena.
|Area :||216 square miles (559 square kilometers)|
|Maximum Altitude :||328 feet (100 meters)|
|Geographic Features :||Calderas with hot lava, coral beaches, natural step formations.|
|Getting There :||Tour|
|Getting Around :||No visitors allowed on the island.|
|Major Sites :||None - the island is off-limits.|
|Flora :||Croton bushes, Lava Cactus, Palo Santo, Muyuyo forest, Salt brush.|
|Fauna :||Boobies, Frigates, Storm Petrels, Tropic Birds, Sea Lions, Hammerhead Sharks, Short-eared Owls.|
|Activities :||Snorkeling, scuba diving, tours around the island (land is off limits).|