Santa Fe will be a highlight of your Galapagos safari


Sea Lions on Santa Fe

Stepping over sea lions isn’t exactly your everyday outing. In Santa Fe, the landing will most likely begin on a beach so full of sea lions you’ll feel like you’re intruding… until you suddenly notice that they don’t care… So why would you…? After a while spent filling your memory cards with every possible angle of these fascinating animals against the backdrop of the turquoise bay, your Galapagos safari will take you a short walk along the shore to the main trail inland.


The Santa Fe Land Iguana

The highlight of Santa Fe, apart from the very pretty beach and the large sea lion colony, is an endemic species of iguana, not only endemic of Galapagos, but of the island itself. It’s a whitish, very large and unique land iguana found only in Santa Fe and dubbed, accordingly, the Santa Fe Land Iguana… Its population on the island reaches 7,000 individuals. As you walk along the dusty trail, you’ll begin to spot them on every side.

The land iguana’s skin color actually seems to blend in perfectly with the entire island’s general off-white hue, dominated by Palo Santo trees. If the land iguanas are feeling up to it, they may even offer visitors quite the show, as two males confront each other wrestling aggressively in the bushes, sometimes unrelentingly for hours… you can find a pair going at it and watch them for a while, then continue along and return to the same spot to still find them trying to settle their dispute an hour later. They might not be a couple of male lions on the African savannah, but this a true safari experience, Galapagos-style.


Santa Fe’s Opuntia forest

The land iguanas feed off of what are officially the largest Opuntia cacti in the entire archipelago. Here on Santa Fe, Opuntia trees (also known as prickly-pear cacti) can be over five-meters tall! The species is endemic to the archipelago and is always impressive to stand in front of. You’ll notice the half-eaten circular cactus leaves on the trail. These are the left-overs of the voracious cactus-eaters, the land iguanas. You may also find land iguanas just lounging beneath the cactus tree, munching away.

You can also take one of the trails towards a truly awe-inspiring forest of cactus. The site itself is spectacular. And if you’re lucky, you may be met by one or more Galapagos hawks — a true Galapagos safari highlight, indeed — perching atop the trees themselves, digging their powerful claws into the cactus’s “Mickey Mouse ear” leaves.

There is another trail that takes you to a scenic lookout, offering an magical view of the island and surrounding horizon.


Plan your Galapagos Vacation!

See our Safari Holidays for our suggested Galapagos itineraries and recommended activities.

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