The Galapagos Islands are legendary for their population of curious, approachable wildlife, and South Plaza island — one of the smallest in the chain — is a great place to see many of the Galapagos' endemic creatures. There are a number of species of flora and fauna here, including birds, sea lions and a large colony of Galapagos land iguanas. Eco travel enthusiasts can see the large yellow land iguanas nestled among a forest of prickly-pear cacti on South Plaza, whether they choose to stroll around the island with International Expeditions’ seasoned naturalists or stay aboard the Evolution and observe from a distance.

South Plaza Island, just off the East coast of Santa Cruz, has an area of less than a tenth of a mile. This makes it easy for you to glimpse everything the tiny islet has to offer. While you're here, be prepared to photograph the island’s large population of sea lions, Nazca boobies, red-billed tropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls.

South Plaza was formed by lava rising from the depths of the ocean, but it is not barren or desolate by any means. Sesuvium is rampant here and the flowering shoreline plant is greenish-yellow during the rainy season, but turns a brilliant shade of red when the dry season hits around the end of June.

Prickly pear cacti, or Opuntia, cover the island as well, and land iguanas flock to these plants. Of course, iguanas prefer drier areas, which is why they stick by the cacti. They can also grow to be more than three feet in length, and when the sun is shining, you'll be able to see them sunning themselves or relaxing in the shade of the cacti.

South Plaza is a new addition to International Expeditions’ 2012 Galapagos Islands cruises aboard the Evolution. With so many different wild animals roaming the land and splashing along the shore, and an array of plants bringing this tiny island to life with color, South Plaza is one stop you won't want to skip.

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