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Plaza Sur

Plaza Sur Overview
Islets
Nestled off the east coast of Santa Cruz, South Plaza Island is a tiny but breathtaking paradise in the Galapagos. Spanning a mere 0.13 square kilometers and peaking at just 23 meters, this island is a powerhouse of natural wonders. It boasts an astonishing array of biodiversity and spectacular geological features that belie its size. This remarkable island was formed through a dramatic process of lava streaming up from the ocean floor, marking it as a unique phenomenon in natural history. South Plaza's origin story, coupled with its rich ecological tapestry, makes it a jewel in the crown of the Galapagos, captivating nature enthusiasts and scientists alike.

South Plaza's landscape is a vibrant canvas of colors. The ground cover morphs through a spectrum from lush green in the wet season to fiery reds, oranges, and purples during drier times. Towering over this vivid ground are the iconic prickly pear cacti, essential not just for their beauty but as a lifeline for the island's wildlife.
 

Wildlife Haven: A Close Look at South Plaza's Fauna


Land of the Iguanas: South Plaza Island is renowned for its thriving population of land iguanas, numbering over 300. These reptiles are a fascinating sight, feeding on the diverse flora of the island for their survival. The island's ecosystem supports these iguanas, allowing them to flourish in significant numbers.
 
The Unique Hybrid Iguanas: A remarkable feature of South Plaza is the presence of hybrid iguanas. These creatures are a natural consequence of overlapping habitats of land and marine iguanas, offering a unique glimpse into the adaptability and intermingling of species.
 
Sea Lion Sanctuary: The island also serves as a sanctuary for a vast colony of sea lions. Home to over a thousand individuals, this colony is a testament to the island's rich marine life and provides an extraordinary opportunity for observation and study.

A Bird Watcher's Paradise: For bird enthusiasts, South Plaza is nothing short of a paradise. The island hosts a variety of bird species, including the elegant, red-billed tropicbirds and the iconic blue-footed boobies. These birds thrive along the cliffs and in the skies, adding to the island's vibrant biodiversity.
 

A Trail of Discovery

For visitors, a journey through South Plaza is an exploration of its natural splendor. The trail, spanning 1.2 kilometers, offers an intimate encounter with the island's diverse habitats. From the bustling sea lion colonies at the shoreline to the serene cactus forests, each step on this moderate hike reveals a new facet of the island's ecological tapestry. The trail culminates in a breathtaking cliffside vista, a spot where the island's avian life can be observed in all its glory.
 
A Snorkeler's Paradise: Beyond its land-based wonders, South Plaza also offers underwater escapades. In the channel between the North and South Islands lies a vibrant snorkeling site. Here, amidst coral reefs, snorkelers can find themselves amidst reef sharks, playful sea lions, colorful fish, and perhaps even a gliding manta ray.
 
Championing Conservation: The tale of South Plaza is also one of resilience and conservation. Efforts to eradicate introduced predators like mice have been crucial in preserving the island's delicate ecosystem, particularly the cactus forests which are vital for the land iguanas. These ongoing efforts remind us of the fragile balance that governs such unique ecosystems.
 
A Mosaic of Life and Color: South Plaza may be small, but its ecological and scenic significance is immense. It stands as a testament to the unique beauty of the Galapagos Islands, offering a microcosm of the archipelago's diverse life forms and landscapes. For those seeking to witness the interplay of vibrant vegetation, diverse wildlife, and dramatic landscapes, South Plaza Island is a must-visit destination.

Fast Facts about Plaza Sur

Main Features: Land & Hybrid Iguanas, Largest Sea Lion Colony
Interaction In Site: Hiking
Type of Landing: Dry Landing: Off a Dinghy ride in Bridge/rocks
Fitness: Medium

Animals


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*Visit point inclusion is subject to cruise programs and logistics. These are regulated by the galapagos national park.