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Santa Fe, also called Barrington Island, is located in the central part of the Galapagos archipelago. It is one of the oldest Galapagos Islands, ages of its lavas range from 750,000 to nearly 3 million years. The lavas are similar in some respects to the Platform Series lavas of neighboring Santa Cruz. Santa Fe is also one of the few islands that are not volcanically active. Its maximum elevation is only about 200 m. There have, however, been unconfirmed reports of fumaroles on the island.
The present island represents only a part of a larger volcanic edifice, the west coast is defined by a fault along which the western have of the volcano has been down-thrown. After the volcanic activity ended (and probably only recently in a geologic sense), Santa Fe has been cut by a series of east-west faults that have produced a series of horst and grabens. There is no fresh water on the island so it has been relatively undisturbed by human activity and feral animals. Among the unique species that can be seen, there are the Santa Fe land iguana and Galapagos snake (whose bite is mildly poisonous).
- Landing: Dry Landing
- Wildlife Highlights: Frigatebirds, Galapagos hawks, land iguanas, manta rays, sea turtles, sea lions
- Activity Highlights: Hiking, birdwatching, swimming and snorkeling, scuba diving.
- Conditions: Steep and uneasy trail. Strenuous hike.
- Notes: Keep an eye out for the Santa Fe land iguana, not as colorful as the ones on Plaza Island but bigger and fun to watch.
Galapagos Islands Tours and Excursions description
Santa Fe has one of the most beautiful coves of all the visitor sites in the Galapagos. It is a turquoise lagoon protected by a peninsula that extends from the shore, by a row of rocks and a small island that is aligned with it.
The ascending trail takes to the peak of a precipice where the Santa Fe species of the land iguana can be seen; they are a more bright yellow and have uncommonly large spikes on their spine. Back at the landing beach, there is another trail in the opposite direction that runs alongside the coast and then crosses through a very picturesque forest of Prickly Cactus. These Opuntia trees are the largest of their type in the islands.
After a long hike, there is nothing better than a swim in the calm waters of the bay or snorkeling in the company of sea lions at the base of the rocks.