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Bright red sesuvium makes for a surreal landscape

South Plaza Island - Galapagos Travel Guide

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Just next to Santa Cruz islands, the Plaza Islands are distinct for their native populations of flora and fauna, but only South Plaza Island has a landing site. As you cross the jet black lava rock, you will witness one of the largest populations of land iguanas in the Galapagos Islands and perhaps one of the most unique, where male marine iguanas have bred with female land iguanas to create the only hybrid land/marine iguanas in the archipelago. The remaining land iguanas, though smaller in size than other island populations, feature vibrant yellows and reds and enjoy the local delicacies of Opuntia cacti and the indigenous Sesuvium that highlights the landscape. Visitors will also sea several big groups of sea lions, including one significant bachelor colony.

4 Best South Plaza Island Tour Ideas for 2024-2025

Top 10 South Plaza Island Luxury Tour Ideas for 2024-2025

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Private Charter - Beyond Darwin's Footsteps Aboard Grace$1470008Nov 28, 2023Close encounters with nature highlight this 8-day private Galapagos cruise onboard the Grace. The islands are teeming with animals that are eager to …
Beyond Darwin's Footsteps$85008Nov 28, 2023This 8-day adventure aboard Grace offers close encounters with wildlife. The islands are full of creatures that love to interact with visitors. …
Private Charter - Western Islands Aboard Ocean Spray$887906Dec 2, 2023Experience Galapagos penguins, Elizabeth Bay, and more on a cruise through the Western Islands aboard Ocean Spray. Enjoy hiking, snorkeling and …
Private Charter - Islands Circumnavigation - West Aboard Ocean Spray$1186908Dec 16, 2023Circumnavigate the Western Islands of the Galapagos on this 8-day private charter cruise aboard the Ocean Spray. Explore striking volcanic landscapes …
Eastern Islands$56435Nov 30, 2023Introduce yourself to the Galapagos by taking a 5-day cruise to the Eastern Islands. This quick tour aboard the La Pinta features sea lions, …
Private Charter - Eastern Islands Aboard La Pinta$2507985Nov 30, 2023Familiarize yourself with the Galapagos Eastern Islands on a private cruise aboard La Pinta. This 5-day voyage takes you to the islands of San …
Beaches and Bays$92508Dec 3, 2023Spend 8 days cruising the Southern Islands of the Galapagos and visiting a variety of islands such as San Cristobal, Española, Floreana, and Santa …
Galapagos Luxury Catamaran Cruise$69455Dec 9, 2023This unique small ship adventure on the Cormorant II visits the Central Islands of the Galapagos. Over the course of 5 days, discover the unique …
Western Islands$59496Dec 2, 2023Experience Galapagos penguins, Elizabeth Bay and more on a cruise through the Western Islands. Enjoy hiking, snorkeling and dinghy rides on this …
Southern Islands$44006Dec 2, 2023Discover all the magic the Southern Galapagos Islands have to offer on this 6-day cruise. Sail through one of the most mind-blowing ecosystems on …

South Plaza Island Facts and Highlights

South Plaza is one of the smallest islands on the Galapagos archipelago, located off the east coast of Santa Cruz Island. Here are more facts about it:
  • South Plaza is home to a variety of unique wildlife, including the famous Galapagos land iguana and the hybrid iguana, a result of cross-breeding between land and marine iguanas.
  • Visitors to South Plaza can also see a variety of bird species, including the swallow-tailed gull, red-billed tropicbird, Nazca booby, and blue-footed booby.
  • The island's rocky terrain and steep cliffs provide a unique opportunity for hiking and exploring, with stunning views of the surrounding ocean and nearby islands.
  • South Plaza's rugged terrain is covered withGalapagos Carpetweed or Sesuvium. During the rainy season the carpet is a vibrant green, while in the dry season its change to a bright red, orange and purple tones. This eye-catching landscape is a favorite amongst photography aficionados.   
  • There are two Plazas islands in Galapagos, North and South. Both are crescent shaped land masses and formed by volcanic uplift of the ocean floor rather than volcanic eruption.
  • Of the two Plazas, only South Plaza can be visited by tourists. North Plaza is reserved for scientific and conservation purposes.
  • South Plaza is also home to a variety of cactus species, including the iconic prickly pear cactus or Opuntia cactus, the main food source for the island's land iguana population.
  • The waters surrounding the island hold a variety of underwater life, such as sea lions, reef sharks, and a variety of fish species.
  • South Plaza was hystorically used as a base for pirates and whaling expeditions that sailed the Pacific Ocean.

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