Our expedition on board National Geographic Islander II took us to captivating South Plaza and Santa Fe Islands, where we were treated to an extraordinary day of wildlife encounters, breathtaking landscapes, and a deeper understanding of the islands’ unique ecosystems.
Our day began with a Zodiac ride from our ship to South Plaza Island, a haven for observing land iguanas and seabirds in their natural habitats. The island's dramatic cliffs and vibrant vegetation provided a stunning backdrop for our explorations. As we disembarked, we were greeted by the sight of colorful land iguanas basking in the sun. Their colors ranged from golden yellows to orange. Our guests learned fascinating insights into the iguanas' behavior and their role in the island's delicate ecosystem.
Walking along the rocky trails, we encountered the island's endemic flora, including the unique Sesuvium that turns brilliant red during the dry season. The cliffs were alive with the calls of swallow-tailed gulls. Our exploration also brought us to a mesmerizing viewpoint, where we could appreciate the stunning panoramas of the turquoise waters and neighboring islands.
In the afternoon, we set our course for Santa Fe Island, known for its pristine beaches and endemic Santa Fe land iguanas. Guests had the chance to snorkel off the coast of Santa Fe, which provided an enchanting glimpse into the underwater world of the Galápagos. Swimming alongside playful sea lions and encountering a diverse array of marine life, including colorful fish, golden rays, and inquisitive sea turtles, was a highlight of the day. The crystal-clear waters allowed us to appreciate the intricate beauty of the underwater ecosystems that thrive around these islands.
For the last part of the afternoon, we landed on the white sandy shores of Santa Fe Island, where we were greeted by Galapagos sea lions. Once on the trail, guests observed Santa Fe land iguanas, larger than their South Plaza counterparts, as they gracefully moved among the cacti. By sunset, we returned to National Geographic Islander II, our home away from home.