South Plaza and Santa Fe Islands

Jan 18, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


The sun was just coming over the yard-arm when the National Geographic Islander pulled into her anchorage north of the Plaza Islands. Two tiny islands about 300 meters off the eastern shoreline of Santa Cruz, this southern bit of land is home to a small population of Galapagos’ principal land iguana species, Conolophus subcristatus. The southern coast is a high bluff whose up-draft attracts any number of sea birds, both for lift and cliff nesting spots. But the day is all about IGUANAS!

Santa Fe is home to another, entirely distinct land iguana here in Galapagos, Conolphus pallidus. Pale in color, large in size, it is endemic to the island in the middle of the Galapagos archipelago – as is the giant prickly pear cactus, the Santa Fe rice rat, back in time a giant tortoise all to its own, a lava lizard, and perhaps even more creatures!

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About the Author

Cindy Manning

Expedition Leader

Born in Lima, Peru, of North American parents, Cindy and her family subsequently lived in several South American and European countries with a couple stops in Peoria, Illinois. Cindy received a degree in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. Afterwards, Cindy spent a year and a half teaching science in the Western Province of Kenya, East Africa. 

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