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Santa Fe Island Day Tour
San Fe island is a 24 Km2 (2.4Ha) located to the South-east of Santa Cruz Island. The visit site is Santa Fe Bay, a beautiful shallow bay with two sandy beaches and one islet. There you will have the opportunity to find two endemic species: the Santa Fe prickly pear cactus and the pale iguana plus one of the biggest sea lion colony, Galapagos hawks, Galapagos mockingbirds, and other species. The snorkel take place on this turquoise waters with good chances of swimming with sea lions, observing rays, white tip sharks and sea turtles.
Santa Fe Iguana
Santa Fe Prickly Pear actus
Galapagos Sea Lions
Santa Fe is one of the oldest islands of the Archipelago (3.5 to 4 M-y.o.) with its own species of land iguana, the Santa Fe iguana, also known as the pale variety. Santa Fe Bay is at the Eastside of Santa Fe island. There you will disembark on one of the two beaches. The trail goes along the coast where the sea lions rest or play, then you will go a little uphill to look for the pale iguana and the giant cactus, the tallest (reaching 15 m or 45 ft) of the Opuntia cactus in the islands. During the walk you can see the famous Galapagos hawk. On the dingy ride you will look after sea turtles, rays and sharks.
There are three possible areas for snorkel activity in this island. The guide will decide which will be the best site to get in the water. The chances to see wildlife is similar in the three places, sea lions, tropical fishes, rays and even some sea turtles or sharks.
This iguana is one of the largest. The pale-yellow males could reach 3.5ft and the light green females are smaller about 2 ft only and with smaller dorsal spines. One of the characteristics of this species is the side bend spine crest. Like the other species of land iguanas, the males keep a territory with at least one prickly pear cactus on it, since it is the main resource of food. The land iguanas sleep inside of burrows, not in group as the marine iguanas.
Opuntia megasperma is the tallest of all the varieties, but also the one that produce the largest fruit. This prickly pear might look familiar to the sweet fruits, that you had try before. Well is not sweet at all, the best way to describe its flavor is sticky-sour with large seeds a very little water, and full of tiny spines. So, these iguanas have to roll and scratch them before eat them.
Most of the people that visit or live in the island don't have the opportunity to see this species. The reason is not the behavior like, the Galapagos rail (an elusive bird). This rat is actually very curious, but they are mostly nocturnal. The are herbivorous, feeding mostly on grass. Santa Fe island is the one of the two islands, where they had survived even with the presence of introduce rats. There were a total of seven endemic rats on the Galapagos, nowadays only four of them survived: two species in Fernandina, one in Santiago and one in Santa Fe.
This bird is the main land predator of the islands, although can act as a scavenger. The female is bigger than the males, reaching 45cm of 1.2 ft. She is the one that holds a territory and share it with two or three males, they mate with the female and contribute fletching the chicks. Once the juveniles are big enough, they need to go and find a new area. This hawk includes several preys in their menu: baby iguanas, sea lion placenta, lava lizards, to mention some.
The Galapagos sea lion is considered a sentinel species, since they can reflex how healthy is the environment, during extreme events like El Niño South Oscilation, the sea lions are one of the first species to show stress signals like miscarriages. This species had shown an incredible resilience in comparison with the Galapagos fur seal, one of the key factors apparently is diversify of nichs and preys that they can include in their diet, about 34 species. While the Galapagos fur seals are mostly nocturnal divers and feed mostly on squids and lanternfish.
Checking a local forecast helps to decide your outfit, however no matter how cloudy it could be, you need to use sunblock and taking with you a hat, sunglasses and a light jacket. Don’t forget your camera and your water bottle, you can refill it on board.
For the cold season (June to November) beside the jacket you might need a 2.5 wetsuit.
During the navigation there are good chances to observe wildlife: seabirds, sea lions, rays or even whales or dolphins.
Santa Fe trails is 1.1 km or 0.68 miles, the walk takes normally 1 hour and a half.
The snorkel takes normally 45 minutes to one hour.
- Meeting Point
- Departure Time
- 8:00 am
- Return Time
- 4:00 pm
- Not Included