Galapagos Marine Iguanas and White Tip Sharks at Playa de Los Perros

Galapagos Marine Iguanas and White Tip Sharks at Playa de Los Perros

On the way to Playa de Los Perros to see the Galapagos marine iguana, we passed by the Canal de las Tintoreras (literally translated as canal of sharks) to view some white tip sharks.

This is a photo of Canal de las Tintoreras. Shark Canal in Playa de Los Perros on Santa Cruz Island.
This is a photo of white tipped sharks in Canal de las Tintoreras. Shark Canal in Playa de Los Perros on Santa Cruz Island.

Galapagos Marine Iguanas:

The marine iguanas are a unique species only found in the Galapagos Islands. They are the only ones that live and feed in the sea and can dive over 30 ft (9 m) into the water. At Playa de Los Perros, we saw them napping on the lava rocks. They are generally black and dark grey in color to soak up the sun, but change depending on the season. Because we happened to see them during breeding season, the males had patches of coppery greens and reds. The more dominate males are more popular with the ladies, and males sometimes fight over territory.

They are known to be gentle herbivores that eat only algae and seaweed, but we were both too intimidated to get really close to them.  I feel like any animal who feels threatened might attack… though I couldn’t find any cases of humans being attacked by them. They pretty much just stand their ground.

This is a photo of Galapagos marine iguanas at Playa de Los Perros on Santa Cruz Island
This is a photo of Galapagos marine iguanas at Playa de Los Perros on Santa Cruz Island.
This is a photo of Galapagos marine iguanas at Playa de Los Perros on Santa Cruz Island.
This is a photo of a marine iguana.

We were lucky enough to see two males fight! Don’t worry. The fights are usually harmless. They butt heads until one concedes. The one we saw lasted only a few minutes, but you can see a more intense one here.

This is a photo of male Galapagos marine iguanas at Playa de Los Perros.
This is a photo of male Galapagos marine iguanas fighting at Playa de Los Perros.
This is a photo of Galapagos male marine iguanas fighting at Playa de Los Perros.
This is a photo of Galapagos male marine iguanas fighting at Playa de Los Perros.
This is a photo of male Galapagos marine iguanas at Playa de Los Perros Santa Cruz Island.
This is a photo of sleeping Galapagos marine iguanas at Playa de Los Perros Santa Cruz Island.
This is a photo of male Galapagos marine iguanas at Playa de Los Perros Santa Cruz Island.
This is a photo of Galapagos marine iguanas at Playa de Los Perros on Santa Cruz Island.
This is a photo of Galapagos marine iguanas at Playa de Los Perros on Santa Cruz Island.
All photos above were taken with a Canon 5D Mark III35mm/1.4L and 70-200mm/2.8L lens.

TIPS for your Playa de Los Perros excursion:

  • Hours of Operation: 6AM – 6PM
  • Trail length: 0.8 miles (1300 m)
  • Time required: up to 1 hr at a leisurely pace
  • Don’t be alarmed if they spit a white substance at you. They are just spitting out the salt from ingested seawater.
  • Bring sunscreen, hat, and sturdy shoes if you prefer. They said the hike was moderate – strenuous, but we aren’t advanced hikers and found it fairly easy to walk in flip flops. The trail is mostly flat and sandy (see below), but if you want to walk onto the lava rocks to get closer to the iguanas, I can see sturdier shoes being preferred.

This is the hike to Playa de Los Perros on Santa Cruz Island.

Do these guys freak you out? Would you ever consider having a pet iguana? 

You can see a video montage of our Galapagos trip, or check out my other Galapagos posts by clicking on the banner below:

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. These photos are stunning! What interesting creatures. And it’s killing me to see that you used the 35 1.4 in some of these, I was just drooling over that one this am and then one of my photographer friends offered it to me for $800 . . . now I just need to come up with $800 before she moves on!

    1. Thank you so much!! I do love that lens! Unless, I’m on trips like this having to take animal photos from far away, I pretty much just use the 35/1.4 and the 50/1.2 for 99% of my photos. I most definitely recommend it to anyone who asks. Have you had much time playing around with it? It took me a while to get used to bc I don’t tend to shoot as wide, but now I love it!

      1. I currently have a 28 1.8 that I’m hoping to upgrade for the 35. I’ve also got the 50 1.4 that use a ton that I’d like to upgrade to the 1.2 after this . . . One thing at a time. :)

        1. Yeah it can be a slow process. When I was shooting weddings all the time, I could buy whatever I want, but now that I quit last year, we have to slowly upgrade our stuff. There is ALWAYS something to buy or upgrade!!! :P I’m trying to upgrade my 24-105 to 24-70.. but now I wonder if I should get the 24. Decisions decisions. Do you shoot canon?

  2. Man they’re kinda ugly but cute. I know doesn’t make sense. I remember my science teacher in high school had one and I thought they were so cool although I was scared of it. Love jacob pretending to be an iguana :p

    1. They still scare me! haha I told Jacob to do it closer, but he was also afraid to. :)

  3. Those iguanas are GORGEOUS! I actually had a pet iguana when I was really little. (I can’t believe my mom went for that… I think it was an iguana from her school that needed a home, haha.) Adding this to my wanderlust list. :)

    1. They’re supposed to be docile and friendly! I have a friend who used to have a pet iguana, but i was always too afraid to touch it. But now that I’m working on facing my fears, maybe I should learn to pet one. :P These guys actually can get quite large and intimidating. haha I think all animal lovers should go here! :)

  4. oh. my. gosh. these are incredible pictures – and the colors on those iguanas!! so beautiful!
    thank you for sharing!

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