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Santa Fe + South Plazas Island Day Tour
This full day tour combines two beautiful islands: 1) San Fe island, here you will have the opportunity to find two endemic species: the Santa Fe Opuntia and the pale iguana, a sea lion colony, Galapagos hawks, Galapagos mockingbirds, and other species. The snorkel take place on turquoise waters with good chances of swimming with sea lions, observing rays, white tip sharks and sea turtles. 2) South Plaza where you will enjoy again the playful sea lions, the Galapagos land iguanas (yellow variety), swallow tailed gulls, shear waters and other seabirds.
Two sites for a reasonable price
Take the most advantage of your time
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.
In South Plaza you will have a dry landing on a semi-natural pier, then you will hike for about one hour and 30 minutes. Since the beginning you will orange-red light food crab and playful sea lions. Then you will start seeing the land iguanas, males and females. The path will take to the cliff where you will see different species of seabirds (share waters, frigate-birds, boobies and sometimes even tropicbirds) and a beautiful landscape. The contrast of the colors of the vegetation and rocks of this island make it very especial.
Puffinus subalaris is an endemic species for the Galapagos islands, since here is the only site where this seabird nest. It is a small bird with dark upper feathers and white underneath. They are gregarius, it means the live and fly in groups, usually you will see them sitting on the water or flying actively as an elusive extrategy near the cliffs, where they nest, especially in South Plaza. This behavior helps to distract their main predators (frigate birds or short-ear owl) to prevent of finding its nests.
The ancestor of the Galapagos iguanas arrived to the old Galapagos island about 8 to 10 million years ago. Some of them reach to islands without vegetation with the appropriate condition for the evolution of the marine iguana, since the only resource available were the algae. There are at least eleven subspecies of the marine iguana. Others arrived to island with vegetation, among these we have three species: the yellow iguana with 5 subpopulations, the pink iguana with a single population on Wolf Volcano in Isabela island and the pale iguana of Santa Fe island. Genetic studies had found that the pink iguana is closer related to the marine iguanas than to the others land iguanas.
There were several evidences (bones and nests) that Santa Fe was home for a unique species of giant tortoises. Apparently got extinct at the end of XVIII century. In 2018 the National Park took a decision to re-establish this ecosystem keystone species. proThe genetic analysis shown that the closer related species was Española tortoise. So once that the repatriation program was over, the baby tortoises from Española were sent to Santa Fe island. The tortoises had survey and checked carefully and they seem ok on this new environment. In the future, probably people can see some of this tortoises walkin near to the tourist site.
A lichen is a symbiotic association between a fungus and an algae. In Galapagos the scientist had describe at least 800 species of lichens. They grow in different subtracts like on tree barks, on rocks, or even on tortoises shells. A lichen that is particularly abundant on the top of the tree in the arid area of Santa Fe is Ochillia racemosa or “dyer moss” this was one of the main reasons for Ecuadorian government to claim the Galapagos as part of Ecuador territory in 1832, since this species was used to dyer cloth, the business didn't last long time, but the Galapagos remain as part of Ecuador.
CR8Q+C2 El cascajo, Ecuador
This day trip stars early 6 am. and ends around 6 pm. You should take with you extra dry cloth, a jacket and your bathing suit. God walking shoes, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen and a water bottle. It is important for you to know that during the cold season you might need to wear a 2.5 mm. wetsuit to enjoy the snorkel. For the hikes don’t hesitate to ask a walking stick or a floatation device for snorkel if you need it.
Santa Fe trails is 1.1 km or 0.7 miles, the walk takes 1 hour and a half.
The snorkel takes normally 45 minutes to one hour
South Plaza loop path will be about 2 km or 1,2 mile.
- Meeting Point - Puerto Ayora Pier
- Departure Time
- 7:30 am
- Return Time
- 5:00 pm
- Not Included