"Islas Plazas - Plaza Sur (South Plaza)" Islas Plazas by MalenaN

Islas Plazas Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 178 photos

Islas Plazas are two small islands just off the east coast of Isla Santa Cruz. They were formed by uplift and tilt to the north. Only South Plaza can be visited and it is one of the smallest visited islands in the Galapagos (it is only 13 hectares). Because there are many interesting things to see here and as it is close to Isla Santa Cruz it is not only visited by the cruise boats, but also by daytrips from Puerto Ayora, making it a busy visitor site.

I have been to South Plaza twice. The first time I visited was on the second day of the cruise with M/S Cachalote. During the night we had navigated from Puerto Ayora to Islas Plazas and had anchored in the channel between the two islands. After breakfast we took the panga to South Plaza where there is a dry landing on a small jetty. In a small puddle on the jetty we saw a Galapagos Foureye Blenny and on the rocks there were some sea lions and colourful Sally Lightfoot Crabs.

One of the highlights on South Plaza is to see the many Land Iguanas, which we saw several of during our walk around the trail. I have a video of one Land Iguana eating on a cactus pad when it gets chased away by another iguana, and it just happened right in front of us. On South Plaza there are even hybrids, the offsprings of male Marine Iguanas and female Land Iguanas. The trail leads up to a 25m high cliff on the south side of the island. Here there are nice views towards Isla Santa Cruz and the red-billed Tropicbirds and Frigatebirds were flying back and forth. We also saw Swallow-tailed gulls.

There is a large sea lion colony, and a sea lion bachelor colony, on South Plaza, but we didn’t go there. I don’t know if it was because we had already spent two hours on the island and had to go, or if the Cachalote itinerary doesn’t include that as we were going to Isla Santa Fe in the afternoon where there is another sea lion colony.

On South Plaza you will see lots of Opuntia Cactus, a large cactus that on Galapagos Islands grow tall as trees. On the ground it was full of the endemic succulent Sesuvium, also called Galapagos Carpet Weed. During the rainy season the Sesuvium is green and during the dry season it becomes red. When I visited (end of June) it had started to become red, the higher up along the trail the more red it was. It made the landscape very colourful. The second time I visited it was August and the Sesuvium was even more red than on my previous visit.

  • Last visit to Islas Plazas: Jun 2011
  • Intro Updated Dec 28, 2014
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Reviews (17)

Comments (8)

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Dec 14, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    A great page, I love reading your pages on the Galapagos Islands :)

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Dec 14, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Thank you Regina! I'm so happy that I have had the opportunity to visit several times.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2014 at 3:02 AM

    Lots of nice photos! I like the close ups of the Land Iguana. He looks so fat and healthy that he couldn't run1

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Feb 26, 2014 at 3:34 AM

      It was a very nice island to visit, and I liked the colour of the sesuvium.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    Wonderful photos of the swallow-tailed gull, esp the little baby gull. The iguanas are cool too.

    • MalenaN's Profile Photo
      Jun 13, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      Thank you for visiting Lori! The iguanas are so cute and funny!

  • Aunt_Bertha's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    I think it would be worth visiting South Plaza just for the adorable land and sea iguanas. Yet, there is so much more...

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 29, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Just a few days ago I learned about Frigatebirds from one of your other pages, and now I learn there are two kinds, the Magnificent Frigatebird and the Great Frigatebird. (But the “great” kind is only “minor” in Latin.) Anyway, you took some fine photos of them, and also of the iguanas, gulls and sea lions. I love your video of the land iguanas.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Apr 19, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Malena, great page with absolutely outstanding nature photos. The Marine Iguanas are indeed amazing.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Loved your video of one Land Iguana eating on a cactus pad! Great VT-job, Malena!

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Apr 12, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    The iguanas are awesome! The swallow tail gull, sea lions and the landscapes are fantastic! Awesome page!

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