The Galapagos Islands of South Plaza and North Plaza are twin islands located within a few hundred metres from the east coast of Santa Cruz Island. North Plaza Island is only open for researchers and scientists. Both islands are formed by the uplifting of the sea floor instead of volcanic activity. That is the reason why the islands are tilted northwards and one is more inclined than the other. Despite being one of the smallest islands among the Galapagos Islands, South Plaza Island has one of the most fascinating flora and fauna flourishing on its unique landform. Visitors can visit the island from the northern coast as the south side is inaccessible due to its 25 metres steep coast. The island is around 1.5 kilometres long and 500m wide.
A Wonderland of Colours
South Plaza Island is extremely rich in unique plants and vegetation. Massive Opuntia cactuses, also known as giant prickly pears, grow abundantly on the island, and the ground is covered with colourful Galapagos carpetweed. These plants are endemic to this island and are famous for changing colours throughout different seasons. During the dry season, the Galapagos carpetweed forms a vibrant red and violet carpet over the island. This turns lush green in the rainy season and yellow during the dry season.
As you arrive at the pier, you will be greeted by a colony of sea lions. You can make your way to the cliffs where you will have the best spot to marvel at the elegant flight of the swallow-tailed gulls and other seabirds. Your hike to the bird watching cliffs will also be occasionally accompanied by smaller land iguanas. South Plaza Island is the only place on earth where you will find the Galapagos hybrid iguanas (a result of cross-breeding between a male marine iguana and female land iguana) due to overlapping territories.
Galapagos carpetweed, land iguanas, hybrid iguanas, and cacti.
Land iguanas, Galapagos hybrid iguanas, marine iguanas, sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls and many more.