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Tour To Isla De Plata

Updated on February 18, 2019
Peter Strahm profile image

I am an avid traveler. After driving from Kansas to Alaska, my brother and I decided to try to drive south to Tierra Del Fuego.

Isla De Plata

The Island

Hordes of frigate birds wheel overhead. Blue Footed Boobies dive like missiles into clear blue water. Finches twitter among the bright yellow flowers on the bushes. No, this is not the Galapagos it is the Isla de Plata. Our guide stops the tour group. “Do you know why the island is called Isla de Plata” he interrogates? “There are two reasons first look at the whitish color on the ground and shore rocks.” The group gazes dutifully at wave-pounded rocks along the shore and the bare ground between the short, green bushes. There is a distinct silvery white color splashed across dirt and rock alike. “It is not silver as the word Plata implies” states the guide “the white color is all excrements of the birds”. You will be told is that Sir Francis Drake is the second reason for the islands name. Drake was a notorious evil pirate according to Spanish history and will be described as such. Apparently, he stole too much silver for his ship to carry and dumped some of it off the coast of this island.

The Island

What You Can See, What You Won't

The tour to Isla de Plata is rightly called the poor man’s Galapagos. You can enjoy swarms of the same seabirds and songbirds. The terrain is also similar with short bushes on land and large, rocky cliff on most of the shore. The Galapagos are not always handy to fit into a trip. With the Isla de Plata tour, you can see some of the main Galapagos attractions in a one-day tour that costs depending on the season thirty-five or forty dollars. The drawback is no marine iguanas, and no giant tortoises. You do however get to watch a variety of songbirds including finches and mockingbirds. There is also the signature blue-footed booby breeding all over the island. The tour also includes an hour of snorkeling, an opportunity to see the reef life.

The Boat Ride, And The Hike.

The tour starts at nine-thirty A.M. After being stripped of you shoes you will be loaded barefoot in the tour boat off the pier at Puerto Lopez. A one-hour journey will get you to the island. You will be unloaded right onto the beach jumping into shallow water. After which you are given back the shoes. About two hours are set aside to hike on one of the several trails on the island. My group hiked straight across the island to the other side. Wildlife was amazingly diverse for such a small island. Several songbirds were spotted long-tailed mockingbirds, different species of finches and even a tiny hummingbird. You may see Giant moths flattened against tree trunks and posts. You will see a lot of the famous birds Boobies and Frigate birds. The boobies will probably have babies just sitting around on the ground.

A Young Booby

Crabs On The Beach

Lunch And Turtles

After the hike we were loaded back onboard. A simple lunch is served on board the boat. Our lunch was watermelon and two sandwiches served with soda. As we ate some vegetable scraps were thrown into the water for the sea turtles. We were privileged to see several surface and feed.

Lilies

Snorkeling

Now the part I enjoyed most began. The sun had been burning hot during the hike and we were all ready to plunge into refreshingly cool blue water. After driving some way around the island to a reef. We were given goggles and snorkels and invited to explore the ocean life. It was my very first time snorkeling and I was amazed. I literally swam through schools of tiny aquarium fish. The prettiest thing I saw where a large group of plate sized fish, bright blue with yellow tales. The Snorkeling lasts about an hour and is so refreshing after the hot sun on the hike.

Under The Cliffs Notice The White Color

Conclusion Different Seasons Different Prices

After hauling us waterlogged tourists onboard the boat crew headed us back to Puerto Lopez. The schedule is to dock at five o’clock. But we were almost an hour earlier. In the dry season May through September there is whale watching on the boat ride and more seabirds nesting on the island, although the vegetation is completely dry. With the whale watching the demand is much greater and the tours cost forty-five dollars. My experience was in the wet season. The island vegetation is very green, there are fewer seabirds nesting and no whales. The advantage is that the tour is less popular lowering the price to thirty-five dollars.

Comments

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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      This is an interesting and well-illustrated account of your trip.

    • Peter Strahm profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter strahm 

      2 years ago from Sabetha

      To keep the boat clean and organized. And because the island doesnt have a dock. You have to jump into shallow water. They put the shoes in a big bag a give them again on land.

    • profile image

      Kyle L Strahm 

      2 years ago

      What's the explanation for taking your shoes?

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