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Santa fe Island

Santa Fe is a small flattish island south east of Santa Cruz, on the way to San Cristobal. It has two species endemic to this island alone – the Santa Fe land iguana & the Santa Fe rice rat.

Santa Fe Island

It’s a wet landing onto the beach on the island’s only visitor site on the northeast side. It’s in a pretty bay whose white sand and turquoise waters are a great place to swim and snorkel. You might even find yourself swimming alongside young sea lions (we’d advise keeping your distance from the large males here) as there is a sizeable population here. Whilst in the water keep your eyes open for white-tipped sharks (harmless), stingrays, parrotfish and many other colourful fish.

The bay is backed by a low plateau with a forest of giant opuntia cactus. The land iguanas love feeding on the cactus pads when they fall. They scrape off the prickles before tucking into the flesh.

As well as land iguanas there are also marine iguanas here, indeed there is a project based around them here which has been running since the 1970s.

Santa Fe Island

There are two trails on the island, one which takes you up to the cactus forest, and a longer one further inland where you’re more likely to spot land iguanas. You can also watch out for Galapagos doves, magnificent frigatebirds, pelicans and you might even spot a Galapagos hawk from the higher point.