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South Plaza and Santa Fe Islands

Sep 13, 2018 - National Geographic Islander


We are in the central part of the Galapagos, surrounded by blue ocean and visiting a couple of islands that are a treasure! They are unique in many ways, but the most obvious is the presence of two different species of iguanas! Besides iguanas, there’s an amazing landscape and colonies of sea lions all around. 

We woke up anchored close to South Plaza Island, near Santa Cruz. Our first sight was a group of young sea lions guarded by a large dominant male playing on the shore. When we landed, we found a small colony of swallow-tailed gulls and land iguanas underneath the cactus trees. The highlight of the area is made up of colorful carpet weed patches, the cactus forest, and a colony of land iguanas.

In the late morning we navigated to our next destination, Santa Fe, were we had more activities on our agenda. Some guests explored the area in kayaks, others on paddleboards. In the late afternoon we had the opportunity to discover more of the island and look for the iconic Santa Fe land iguana among the cactus trees. It was a fantastic day, we were surrounded by wildlife at all times. These islands are indeed a paradise!

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About the Author

Juan Carlos Avila

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Juan Carlos was born in Quito, Ecuador. He spent part of his elementary schooling in the province of Cotopaxi, a beautiful area in the Ecuadorian Andes ringed by volcanoes. In 1989 his family moved to the Galápagos and settled in the highlands of Santa Cruz, the second largest island in this archipelago. It was here that Juan Carlos finished high school and gained his deep love for nature.

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