Santa Fe Island is one of the smallest and oldest islands in the Galapagos, dating back 3.9 million years. Located between Santa Cruz and San Cristobal Islands, it’s the place to discover bachelor sea lion colonies, fur seals, and a large population of land iguanas; including the endemic Santa Fe yellow iguana.
After arriving at the scenic tropical bay and disembarking on land, trails from the beach lead through massive opuntia cacti to cliffs overlooking the ocean and interior of the island. Blue-footed boobies nest along the path, as land iguanas snack on the lower branches of the cactus forest.
Snorkeling in the waters of Barrington Bay puts you front and center with the thriving eco-system beneath the sea. Sea lions and turtles, rays, fur seals, and thousands of brightly colored reef fish form a kaleidoscope of color and activity.
Along the coast, bachelor colonies of sea lions lie on the shores opposite South Plaza Island. The bull of the colony protects his harem, and banishes males who challenge him to the neighboring island’s beach.
The interior of the island is the site of a giant tortoise repopulation project. Starting in 2015, hundreds of tortoises raised in captivity have been released on the island, reviving long-lost members of the island’s creatures.
The Santa Fe land iguana can reach sizes up to three feet. A ridge of spines runs from the forehead down the back of the robust iguana. Yellow land iguanas are often spotted sunning themselves on the rocks around the island and resting in the shade of cacti along the trails.
The massive height and size of the opuntia cati on the island is attributed to an evolutionary reaction caused by iguanas feeding on the lower limbs of the plant
50 ft. beneath the calm waters off Santa Fe’s shores is an underwater cave to explore while diving
Santa Fe Island
Landing-Wet (Barrington Bay)
Activity-Steep hikes through opuntia cati to scenic cliffs overlooking the coast. Snorkeling and diving in the clear waters of Barrington Bay.
Wildlife-Santa Fe yellow iguanas, land iguanas, Galapagos hawks
Marine Life-White-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles and lions, rays, marine iguanas, and fur seals.
Snorkeling in the calm, turquoise waters of Barrington Bay
Exploring the coast and cliffs of the island along two looped trails amidst land iguanas, boobies, and Galapagos Hawks
Note: All information is intended as a general guide of what you might be able to see or do on this island. In reality, wildlife sightings are by nature unpredictable, and activities may be subject to change by your guide or the National Park Authority.
For more information about your options for land-based and cruise trips through the Galapagos Islands, contact a member of our team using our toll-free numbers or the contact form on this site.