South Plazas and Santa Fe Islands

Mar 28, 2019 - National Geographic Islander

In the morning, we visited the little island of South Plazas. Located east of Santa Cruz, this island offers a great habitat for encounters with Galapagos sea lions and sea birds. Our first walk of the day afforded sightings of Galapagos land iguanas and swallow-tailed gulls with their juveniles.

Warm and calm waters were the perfect setting for a great refreshing opportunity, and swimming off ship is always a joy! National Geographic Islander repositioned toward Santa Fe Island afterward. It was at this island where our guests enjoyed kayaking inside the protected bay. Back ashore, guests had the options of a long hike to the cliffs of Santa Fe Island and a more casual walk closer to the coast. Throughout the afternoon there was no shortage of opportunity for guests to take great pictures of Galapagos sea lions and the unique Santa Fe land iguana. What a great day!

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About the Author

Vanessa Gallo


Vanessa Gallo’s grandparents arrived in the Galápagos Islands in 1936, making her the third generation of her family to live and work in this magical archipelago. She left the islands for the capital city of Quito for high school, where she discovered that learning foreign languages was one of her main interests. Coming from a family of naturalist guides, it was not a surprise that she also became one at the age of 17. Vanessa left the islands once again for Switzerland, where she earned a diploma in tourism and strengthened her language skills and knowledge of the travel industry. She has also travelled extensively to destinations including as Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Canada, the Canary Islands, Mauritius, and many European countries.

About the Photographer

Jonathan Aguas

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jonathan was born into one of only a handful of families that reaches back five generations in Galápagos, in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. He first left the islands when he won a highly-coveted scholarship to finish his studies in the U.S.  This was the start of his life-long passion for science and languages. He earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from the University of Florida and later spent time in Europe, where he learned French. He is now fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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