Of the five islands that make up the remote northern group, only Genovesa is open to visitors. The tiny islands of Darwin and Wolf, at the far northwestern reaches of the archipelago, and Marchena, some 90km north of Santa Cruz, are occasionally visited by scuba divers, but only for offshore exploration, while Pinta is out of bounds to all but authorized scientists. Genovesa, lying approximately 95km northeast of Santa Cruz, reached after a night of sailing, is usually only visited by faster boats or as part of longer itineraries. It’s well worth the extra effort, as it’s one of the best bird islands in the Galápagos and home to the world’s largest colony of red-footed boobies.

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