Santa Fe Island Travel

Santa Fe Island is a delight to discover, a place where giant cacti, large Land Iguanas and a noisy group of Sea Lions await you.

Located in between Santa Cruz and San Cristobal, Santa Fe is a relatively flat island due to the fact it was created by a geological uplift in the earth’s crust rather than a volcanic eruption, like many of its neighbours. A colony of Sea Lions reside on the picturesque sands of Barrington Bay, while working your way inland, endemic Land Iguanas and Lava Lizards can be found, making the most of the Opuntia Cacti that populate the island. Santa Fe is a wildlife haven that will not disappoint.

Nestled at the heart of the Galapagos Islands, Santa Fe is one of the older landmasses in the archipelago at just under four million years old. Perhaps one of the most unique features of this islet is the forest of giant cacti. Known to grow over 10 metres tall at times, these huge plants are not easy to miss and manage to dwarf their surroundings with ease.

Creatures of all shapes and sizes live in the peaceful sanctuary provided by Santa Fe. While the Santa Fe Land Iguana enjoys nourishment in and around the giant cacti, the tiny Rice Rat –almost extinct elsewhere – has found the island to be a safe place thanks to the lack of predators here. This carefully balanced ecosystem has allowed these native creatures of Santa Fe to continue to thrive. The island itself has two trails that can be explored by visitors: one close to the beach, the other taking you slightly more inland. With Galapagos Hawks often seen hovering above the vegetation and Darwin’s beloved Finches nipping in and out of the Palo Santos trees, Santa Fe is a great location if you wish to birdwatch.

What’s more, the waters around Santa Fe are often full of fascinating marine life. So, as you journey to and from the island, if you happen to be in the area at the right time of year you might spot Dolphins and Humpback Whales.

Highlights of Santa Fe Island:

Get up close to the Opuntia Cacti

Commonly referred to as the Prickly Pear Cactus, vast numbers of this huge plant soar up into the air on the island. Although smaller than some of the other cacti found on nearby islands, it is the sheer amount of them on Santa Fe that sets this collection apart. Providing a vital food source to many of the wildlife on the island makes these plants an important part of life here.

Spot Land Iguanas

The Land Iguana has now become extinct across some of the Galapagos Islands, but Santa Fe is not one of them. These endemic reptiles can grow up to one metre in length, and they go crazy for the fruits and leaves from the local Prickly Pear Cacti. Follow one of the island’s trails and you will no doubt find them having a bite to eat beneath one of the giant plants.

Go snorkelling

Santa Fe’s land may be rich in fauna, but below the waves of Barrington Bay there’s a whole other ecosystem waiting to be discovered. Sally Lightfoot Crabs, Sea Turtles and Sharks are common in these waters plus, if you are lucky, a local Sea Lion may also decide to join you.

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