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


6 hour



Full Day


Naturalist guide




Group Size


Key Features

  • Santa Fe Iguana

  • Santa Fe Prickly Pear actus

  • Galapagos Hawk

  • Galapagos Sea Lions

From $ 250 / per person


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

santa fe island land iguana
Santa Fe Iguana

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.

Santa Fe Prickly Pear actus

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.

Santa Fe Rice Rat

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.

Galapagos Hawk

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.

Galapagos Sea Lion

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.

Santa Fe Full Day Tour

  • Amazing Landscapes
  • Unique Fauna
  • Opuntia Forest
View Itinerary Close Itinerary

Santa Fe


Santa Fe


The tour operator will pick you up in the hotel or you may be asked to meet the group in the Main duck in Puerto Ayora. You will be taken to the boat by a dingy or a “panga”. The navigation to Santa Fe takes approximately 2 hours, and to reach Santa Fe Bay 15 to 20 minutes. The order of the activities (hike and snorkel) will depend on the boat itinerary that is authorized by the GNPS. After the first activity you will have a snack and after the second activity you will have a lunch on board. For the hike you will have a wet landing on the sandy beach, you will need to take your shoes to wear them before the hike, they provide towels to dry your feet. Before or after the disembark you will have a dingy ride on the bay. The snorkel will be take of the dingy, not from the beach.

Travel Tip

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.


Tour details.

Meeting Point
Departure Time
  • 8:00 am
Return Time
  • 4:00 pm
  • Bilingual guide

  • Transportation

  • Lunch

  • Snack

  • Snorkel Equipment

  • Towells

Not Included
  • Extra drinks

  • Tips

  • Wetsuit

SKU: GPS-STAFE Destination: Activities: , ,


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