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South Plazas Island
Galapagos Islands protected area birthplace of late Lonesome George
This island is full of life. There are colonies of sea lions and land iguanas. On the steep banks it is possible to see a great number of birds such as nesting tropic birds and fork-tailed seagulls, but most of all, enjoying the beautiful view from atop the steep banks or strolling along the base of the cliff is an extremely pleasurable experience. The Opuntia cacti grow here too and the vegetation changes color according to the season of the year.
Plazas Tourist Information
- Landing: Dry Landing
- Wildlife Highlights: Boobies, frigates, land iguanas, sea lions, tropicbirds
- Activity Highlights: Walking, birdwatching, snorkeling.
- Conditions: Easy walks on uneasy terrain, short trails.
Notes: Great opportunity to spot land iguanas.
Tours and Excursions description
This is part of a pair of islands and one of the smallest ones to be visited. Located only a short distance from Santa Cruz, South Plaza has a unique sesuvium and opuntia landscape which provides some of the most interesting wildlife observation available in the Galapagos.
A large colony of noisy sea lions, numbering about 1,000 bulls, cows, and pups, has its prime habitat on these smooth rocks. The small cactus forest is populated by land iguanas, which can be seen sunning themselves or feeding on opuntia pads and fruits. Swallow-tailed gulls, which nest on the rugged southern cliffs, are usually seen, along with tropicbirds and Audubon`s shearwaters. During the rainy season, you can see the red sesuvium turn bright green and the leafless evening-blooming portulaca bursts into large yellow flowers, which are loved by the iguanas.
The shore excursion to South Plaza offers unusual vegetation accompanied by a variety of interesting animals, making this one of the most beautiful shore trips you’ll make while in the Galapagos. The island is filled with the Opuntia Cactuses and Sesuvium plants. The Sesuvium is a succulent plant that stores its water in its leaves. It forms a reddish carpet that spreads atop the rocks.
Each Cactus has its own resident land iguanas, endemic to the Galapagos, resting at the base. The branches of the tree grow so tall that the iguanas cannot feed on their paddles and flowers. So they wait at the base for pieces to fall. You’ll also have the opportunity to see the swallow-tailed gulls, also endemic to the Galapagos. The sheer cliffs of the south shore provide the perfect habitat for the yellow-tailed mullets, Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds and brown pelicans.