"Plaza Sur (South Plaza), Galapagos Islands" Top 5 Page for this destination Ecuador Things to Do Tip by MalenaN
Ecuador Things to Do: 371 reviews and 740 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 visited 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 it had started to become red, the higher up along the trail the more red it was. It made the landscape very colourful.
Directions: Galapagos Islands
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