Today, we include two visitor sites: South Plaza and Punta Carrión. Together they are a perfect combination of stunning wildlife colonies (Plaza), and a site with excellent snorkelling (Carrión). Tuesdays, we visit Carrión then Plaza, and on Fridays we visit Plaza then Carrión. In both cases, we must complete the loop by bus (either driving up or down the 42 km to the Itabaca Channel. This will allow us to spend more time within the National Park area.
Punta Carrión, at the north-eastern tip of Santa Cruz Island, boasts shallow reefs, mangroves, and exposure to rich upwellings to the east. As a result, it’s an ideal snorkelling site with plenty of reef fish as well as occasional sea lions and sharks.
South Plaza is a small island full of fascinating wildlife, both along its shore and along its dramatic, wind-swept cliffs: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colours according to the season. The island is one of a pair of crescent-shaped islands. While the northern twin remains accessible only for scientists, South Plaza is one of the Galápagos’ most impressive visiting sites.
Only 130 meters wide (426 feet), the island was formed from uplifted seabed, giving it a tilted table top aspect. Our landing is in the channel between North and South Plaza, where the island slopes down toward the water. The approach makes for a lavishly colourful sight! The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. The rocks have grown thick with green seaweed in places, speckled with bright orange “Sally light foot” crabs. Further up the shore, a carpet of scarlet Sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop. The trail gradually follows the tilt of the island to the cliffs that overlook the ocean to the south, where swallow-tailed gulls nest. Red-billed tropic birds, masked and blue-footed boobies ride the gusty currents. The overlook is a great place for spotting large marine life, including manta rays. Surf pounds an inlet at the western corner of the island, where a colony of bachelor sea lions make their home, accounting for the surprising surface of the rocks, polished by the oils of their fur. This is a walking excursion and involves uneven rocky terrain. Dry landing. Snorkelling at Punta Carrión.
Overnight at Finch Bay Eco Hotel BLD