Santa Fe Island

Santa Fe Island is one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos, its initial formation beginning about four million years ago. With an area of 9.3 square miles, it’s also one of the smaller islands in the archipelago.

The island is relatively flat and is characterized by its vegetation, which includes palo santo trees and a forest of the giant prickly pear cactus Opuntia echios. Santa Fe is home to the endemic Santa Fe land iguana, with an estimated population of around 6,500 to 7,000 individuals. Other notable inhabitants include Santa Fe rice rats, leaf-toed geckos and marine iguanas.

Main Visitor Sites

Barrington Bay and Trails – Santa Fe Island has only one land-based visitor site. Tours of the island begin at Barrington Bay, a wet landing site on the northeast side of the island. Here visitors can see a large number of sea lions lounging on the sand and sometimes surfing in the waves. Two trails lead up from the beach. The first is a loop through the giant Opuntia cacti, where you’ll have a good chance of spotting Santa Fe land iguanas and Galapagos hawks. The second trail runs up to the top of a steep cliff. From the top you’ll have great views across the island’s interior.

Snorkeling Sites – Santa Fe is home to three dive sites: El Fondeador, La Encañada and Costa Este. Galapagos Sea lions are the main draw at all three sites, although sea turtles, rays and Galapagos sharks are also spotted occasionally.

Read more about Santa Fe Island at Galapagos Conservancy.

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