South Plaza & Santa Fe Islands

Dec 20, 2018 - National Geographic Islander

Today we woke up to a sunny day in the center of the Galapagos, right in front of South Plaza. Due to the overlapping territories of the marine and land iguana in this very small island, this land is home to the only group of hybrid iguanas in the Archipelago. These hybrids are the result of mating between a male marine iguana and female land iguana.

Our visit to South Plaza was very exciting and filled with Galapagos action everywhere we looked. To start, a hybrid iguana welcomed us at the beginning of the trail. Then a group of frigate birds above us fought over the placenta of a newborn baby sea lion, who was then resting right next to its mother. We saw seabirds and more iguanas along the trail, and right before leaving the island, we were very fortunate to see a territorial fight between a male land iguana and a male marine iguana - something experienced naturalists have never seen before. South Plaza was definitely filled with surprises for us! Coming back from South Plaza, we got to jump off the ship into the beautiful Galapagos turquoise water.

After this exciting morning, National Geographic Islander repositioned at Santa Fe Island for a hike. Santa Fe holds its own unique character because it is home to the only iguana that can be found here - the Santa Fe land iguana. After our hike, we returned to the ship on Zodiacs with a beautiful sunset to end another amazing day on these enchanted Islands!

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About the Author

Gianna Haro


Most of Gianna´s memories seem to be dreams, made on flawless white sandy beaches with black lava rock contours and gorgeous turquoise ocean waters. Most of it happened while barefoot, in an enchanting place that some people regard as an ideal natural laboratory, the Galápagos Islands. For her it was home. Gianna grew up going to the beach nearly every day, snorkeling in crystal clear waters, playing with wild flowers, having sea lions steal her ice cream, observing marine iguanas, and identifying invertebrates. The latter was by no means technically accurate—she dubbed each new discovery with its own made-up scientific name. At some point during those early years, being an observer became an innate ability and she knew she wanted to be a biologist. 

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