A Travel guide to Santa Fe Island, Ecuador

Santa Fe Island, a part of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador,  is home to one of the most beautiful coves in all the Galapagos. Apart from this, Santa Fe Island is home to several sea lions and their pups; the mating, nesting and birthing rituals of these beautiful creatures take place on the amazing beaches of this island.

The vegetation of Santa Fe Island is characterized by the presence of a thick forest of the largest species of the giant Opuntia cactus. The island is also good for snorkelling and other water activities.

Rocky Shoreline with giant Opuntia cactus, Santa Fe Island
Rocky Shoreline with giant Opuntia cactus, Santa Fe Island

This Island is otherwise called as Barrington Island after the arrival of British Admiral Samuel Barrington. The island also consists of volcanic rock, dated about 4 million years ago. This makes Sante Fe Island one of the oldest islands, geologically speaking.

Animal Species in Santa Fe Island

Today, the Island is home to 2 endemic species. They are the Santa Fe Land Iguana (Conolophus pallidus) and the Santa Fe Rice Rat (Oryzomys bauri). This site has one of the longest-running research projects on marine iguanas which was started in the late 1970s.

And as mentioned earlier, the island is also home to sea lions.

Iguanas on Santa Fe Island, Galapagos. Ecuador
Iguanas on Santa Fe Island, Galapagos. Ecuador
Diving sites in Santa Fe Island

There are three dive sites on the east and north sides of Santa Fe Island. Sea lions are the prime attractions at all the three sites. Though fish are minimal, you can occasionally come across sea turtles, a variety of rays, and Galapagos sharks at the east coast.

California Sea Lions, Great Frigate Birds, Land Iguanas, and Marine Iguanas are regularly seen here; Galapagos Snake animals are occasionally or seasonally seen as well. Galapagos hawks are easily seen here with an ascending trail leads toward the cliffs.

A pair of Galapagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki) are sunbathing in the first sunlight at the beach of Sante Fe island, Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Galapagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki) are sunbathing at the beach of Sante Fe Island, Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Santa Fe Island snorkelling trip

The Santa Fe Island snorkelling trip will be one of the highlights of your Galapagos islands experience. There is a lot to see, and viewing some sea lions during snorkelling is almost guaranteed. A hidden beach is situated just south-west of Playa El Garrapatero and it can be accessed only by a boat. It is the best place in the Galapagos to see marine iguanas. Be careful about biting flies, which can be found in this region.

Choose the offseason, crowd-free time and plan your Ecuador tourism accordingly to have a wonderful smart experience.

Read more: Other islands of the Galapagos

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