Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the Islands. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets, forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz and within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted seismically, and you can see underwater lava formations.
A wet landing on a sandy white beach brings us into contact with one of the many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right of Beach Master, while smaller males mask as females to make stealthy mating moves. Galapagos hawks are often easily approached, perched atop salt bushes, and an ascending trail leads toward the cliffs, where a dense thicket stands to the inland side. The cliff side provides an expansive view of the ocean. The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name, with tree-sized trunks!
Our goal is to spot one of the large species of land iguana native to Santa Fe. Beige to chocolate brown in color with dragon-like spines, these huge iguanas truly resemble dinosaurs. An indigenous species of rice rat also inhabits the thicket, and lucky hikers can spot harmless Galapagos snakes. After the hike, there is nothing more inviting than a swim in the calm waters of the bay followed by watching the sun set behind the island cliffs as dusk settles over the Galapagos.