Sally Lightfoot crabs on black volcanic rock by the sea in the Galapagos Islands.

Please double verify what’s open earlier than your journey and comply with all native masks tips to maintain your self and others protected! Additionally, adverts are how we pay our payments and maintain our weblog free so that you can get pleasure from. We additionally use affiliate hyperlinks; should you make a purchase order by means of them, we could obtain a small fee without charge to you.

Barking sea lions. Crystal swimming pools tucked between volcanic cliffs. Tortoise ranches. Contemporary, scorching seafood. Santa Cruz Island is without doubt one of the Galapagos’ most populated islands, and the central city of Puerto Ayora is as near bustling as you’ll discover within the Galapagos: docks ship ferries to and from different islands, eating places and scorching kiosks tucked into hidden alleys promote grilled and fried fish, and tortoises roam the cooler inland air of the elevated Highlands.

Santa Cruz is house to lots of the Galapagos’ greatest sights, actions, and academic alternatives. It’s a must-visit whether or not you’re planning a land-based Galapagos trip or stopping by on a cruise – like, actually you’ll be able to’t miss it: you’ll both fly right here or cease right here on a cruise.

Years in the past, we revealed the story of our visit to Santa Cruz, Galapagos. It’s an amazing put up and enjoyable to learn, however in typical 2016-travel-blog vogue, it’s not terribly helpful. So we created this put up: a definitely-very-useful journey information that can show you how to plan your go to to Santa Cruz, Galapagos!

Psst: Planning a visit to the Galapagos Islands? Check out these different posts that will help you plan:


How to Visit The Galapagos Islands Without a Cruise: A Complete Guide

We’ve additionally created an in depth 15-page downloadable information to visiting the Galapagos Islands. Enroll under to get the information ship straight to your inbox! 

The bright blue water and town of Puerto Ayora Bay on Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands Ecuador
Welcome to Puerto Ayora, the primary city on Santa Cruz, Galapagos! Sure, the water truly seems like that.

Easy methods to Get to Santa Cruz, Galapagos

There are solely two methods to get to Santa Cruz, Galapagos: by air or by ferry.

Santa Cruz’s airport is known as Baltra, and also you’ll be capable of fly right here from Quito or Guayaquil.

When you arrive, everybody will board the shuttle to the docks. Santa Cruz Island is a free 5-minute ferry experience from the Baltra docks. From the docks on the Santa Cruz facet it’s a few 45 minute drive into Puerto Ayora.

To get to Puerto Ayora from the airport, you’ll be able to take a white pick-up truck taxi – you’ll discover many ready dockside. The worth is ready, however everybody goes the identical route, so don’t be afraid to separate a taxi with one other traveler!

The less expensive possibility is to take a bus, additionally positioned dockside. There are restricted airline arrivals every day, so count on to attend a short while for the bus to refill absolutely earlier than it leaves. The bus will take you to the market on the heart of city, about half a mile from the ocean and most motels/hostels.

In the event you’re coming from the opposite fundamental island within the Galapagos, San Cristobal, you’ll take one of many twice-daily ferries to Puerto Ayora. It’s greatest to buy your tickets a minimum of a day prematurely as their seats are restricted – you’ll be able to book your ticket online on Bookaway. The experience is about 2 hours. Pop a Dramamine earlier than you permit to move off seasickness!

Ideas for Visiting Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Santa Cruz Island is without doubt one of the 3 inhabited islands within the Galapagos – however despite the fact that it’s a populated island, it’s nonetheless filled with wildlife – the magic of the Galapagos!

The principle city in Santa Cruz is the coastal port city of Puerto Ayora, the place you’ll discover loads of motels, eating places, and the entire comforts you’d count on from a small island city (don’t get too fancy, although. The web might be spotty. Some nights, we couldn’t even watch Netflix! I do know, surprising). Santa Cruz can also be house to one of many two airports within the Galapagos Islands, so there’s a superb likelihood you’ll both by flying into or out of right here.

Round each nook is one other alternative to see brightly coloured crabs, snoozing sea lions, and cuddling marine iguanas. You’ll discover many of one of the best eating places, motels, and day excursions in Puerto Ayora.

  • Most locations in Ecuador don’t settle for bank cards, or cost further to take action. The Galapagos Islands are not any exception: money is king. Fortunately, there are ATMs galore on Puerto Ayora and a great deal of retailers, eating places and bars to spend your money in! Fill up on money right here, as a result of a number of the different islands like Isla Isabela have NO ATM’s in any respect.
  • Convey sunscreen with you from the mainland. It’s insanely costly right here, and also you’ll want it for the additional robust rays as a result of proximity to the Equator. Make sure that to convey reef-safe sunscreen for if you’ll be within the water, to guard the coral reef and different marine wildlife that dwell within the Galapagos!
  • There’s a enormous grocery retailer proper by the primary dock on the town, the place we picked up groceries for snacks and breakfast. You may as well pop to the highest flooring for an inexpensive espresso and pastry with a sea view. However understand that most motels gained’t have a kitchen.
  • We suggest reserving excursions and lodging on-line prematurely should you can. You’ll be able to ebook your Puerto Ayora day excursions as quickly as you arrive on the island and also you’ll avoid wasting cash this manner, however there’s additionally a superb likelihood you gained’t be capable of do each tour you’d like as there’s a restricted variety of areas obtainable and excursions are topic to strict laws. Plus, it’s simply sort of worrying to not know what you’ll be doing till you arrive! (We discovered this from expertise.) To ebook a day journey or tour, simply discover any tour operator – their places of work are throughout city – or go to the kiosk close to the docks. Bear in mind that you’ll must pay on your day excursions upfront with money.


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Santa Cruz, Galapagos: Issues to Do

Puerto Ayora is the fundamental hub for the Galapagos Islands, and a superb house base to do the Galapagos with out a cruise. There are a lot of actions you are able to do on the island itself, plus a great deal of day journeys and excursions.

For the total story of our go to to Santa Cruz Island – errors, mishaps, and all – head over to this post.

Go to the Fish Market

The Puerto Ayora fish market is a must-see and completely captures the magic of the Galapagos Islands. Sure, it’s one of the best place on the island to buy freshly caught seafood (should you’re fortunate sufficient to have a kitchen to play with, that is very thrilling!), but it surely’s additionally simply, like, a vibe. For one factor, there’s Lupe.

Lupe the Sea Lion is a daily on the Puerto Ayora fish market. She positions herself behind the counter instantly beneath the chopping board, the place she is aware of she’ll get fed scraps and pores and skin from the contemporary fish fillets all day lengthy! She’s like a pet canine that’s additionally an lovable sea lion. We wish one!! 

You’ll additionally discover a small crowd of hovering pelicans and herons, and generally napping sea lions as properly. Make sure that to cease by through the week when it’s open!

Self guided visit to Las Grietas, near Punta Estrada, in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. Read our complete guide to the Galapagos without a cruise!
Las Grietas is one of the best snorkeling close to Puerto Ayora! Beautiful Las Grietas is prettiest and most empty at noon. The pure channel is obvious and really, very deep!

Snorkel in Las Grietas

Las Grietas is a lovely clear pool between two sheer volcanic cliff faces – therefore the identify, which implies “The Crevices.” Throughout noon when the solar is excessive, the pool is a brilliant, clear blue, and the solar’s rays sparkle all the way in which to the underside of the deep pool, making for unbelievable pictures and views. You’ll be able to soar off the dock into the water should you like, and climb up the cliffs to leap from the rocks should you dare! Las Grietas is one of the best snorkeling on Santa Cruz Island by far. 

To get to Las Grietas from Puerto Ayora, take a water taxi from the docks and ask for Punta Estrada or simply say you’re going to Las Grietas – they’ll know what you imply. It’s a ridiculously quick experience and the water taxi is underneath $1.

When you’re dropped off, you’ll stroll previous a flowery lodge and a few high-end bars and eating places (that is the costly facet of Puerto Ayora). Stroll alongside the boardwalk (it’s the solely possibility so that you can stroll on, so that you gained’t get misplaced). The boardwalk will take you previous Punta Estrada, a small cove the place you’ll be able to swim, with a seaside throughout low tide.

The boardwalk to Las Grietas in Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
The boardwalk to Las Grietas, one of the best place to go snorkelling in Santa Cruz, Galapagos!

Preserve strolling down the boardwalk previous some fascinating pink-tinged salt flats. After about quarter-hour you’ll attain Las Grietas! Preserve strolling down the boardwalk till you get to the doorway the place you check in and wait on your flip to enter with a information (chances are you’ll wait 15-10 minutes to go together with a much bigger group). tl;dr comply with the one path till it ends. Simple sufficient, proper?

Listed here are a couple of suggestions for visiting Las Grietas:

  • There are literally 3 swimming pools in Las Grietas and two entrances. Your information decides which entrance you’ll go to, and that’s the place you enter, however you’ll be able to climb by means of to the opposite ones. Swim all the way in which to the top of the primary pool, climb (rigorously!) over the rocks, and swim by means of the second pool to entry the hidden third pool. To get to it you’ll both need to rigorously climb over extra rocks (seriously, watch out. Jeremy slipped and reduce his foot right here) or take a deep breath, dive down, and swim by means of the underwater cave. When there are not any individuals within the pool, there are a whole bunch of fish swimming on this part undisturbed, and it’s completely unbelievable.
  • Your go to is proscribed to 90 minutes, however when you’ve completed, you’ll be able to stroll again and cease at Playa de los Alemanes and spend the remainder of the afternoon and sundown there, so pack loads of water and snacks.
  • Snorkeling at Playa de los Alemanes could be a combined bag, however in case you are eager to strive, then purpose for the mangroves in your proper to see sharks at excessive tide, or swim proper out to the furthest rocks to seek out sea snakes at low tide.


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Best places to eat in Cartagena
Don’t let the entire fish factor intimidate you: when it’s this contemporary and scrumptious, it’s properly price the additional work to choose all of the deliciousness off the bones!

Go to the Kiosks

The Kiosks/Los Kioskos are one of the best place to eat in Puerto Ayora. The Kiosks are a seafood alley: a road lined with small, locally-owned eating places all cooking variations of extremely contemporary, regionally caught seafood bought from the fish market earlier within the day.

You’ll hear scorching from the charcoal parillas and scent smoky, grilled fish lengthy earlier than you stumble throughout this little alley.

When you arrive, you’ll discover the road full of tables, glad vacationers, and locals mingling among the many varied kiosks, all of whom are promoting a variation of the identical gadgets, loudly proffered by servers thrusting menus and entire uncooked fish underneath your nostril, all accompanied by the sizzle and tantalizing scent of charcoal-grilled fish.

That is Puerto Ayora’s culinary specialty: an enormous smokey charcoal grill, the Picallada, constructed like a chimney and stoked with blow dryers to remain scorching all night time lengthy.

The whole lot from contemporary entire fish rubbed with spices and nestled in tin foil, to octopus laid instantly on the grill for an ideal char and sear, to the effervescent seafood casserole in clay bowls, to scorching buttered ears of corn, are all smoked and roasted on that very same grill. And it’s freaking scrumptious.

Strolling by means of the alley is a bit like carrying a bulls-eye in your brow: each step you’re taking, somebody fingers you a menu or a fish or lists a number of gadgets and their costs at you, all in rapid-fire Spanish. However truthfully, you’ll be able to’t go mistaken: decide anyplace, and order no matter they suggest. It’ll be nice.

Our favourite half about Los Kioskos? The most effective meals in Puerto Ayora can also be probably the most finances pleasant! A complete brujo fish to share is $15 at Sol y Mar, one in every of our favourite kiosks in seafood alley. Their grilled and fried entire fish, grilled octopus, seafood cazuela, sopa de queso (scrumptious cheese soup) and varied batidos (fruit milkshakes) are all wonderful.

The kioscos are positioned at Baltra & Charles Binford. It’s straightforward to stroll from anyplace on the town. You may as well all the time take an affordable pickup truck taxi. If it is advisable to, ask any native for assist discovering los kioskos – they’ll all know. 

Beach path on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.
We ventured down a seaside pathway close to the Charles Darwin Analysis Station and located this secluded seaside full of surfers and sea turtles!

Go to the Charles Darwin Analysis Station

The Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz is much less of a station and extra of a fancy: the primary constructing is full of info and some small reveals, however the primary sights are all outdoors.

Turtles are bred in a piece of the middle – every huge island within the Galapagos has its personal land turtle breeding heart, we discovered.

As we watched big outdated tortoises munch on turtle snacks and slowly chase one another round, we discovered that for years, the tortoise breeding heart tried its greatest to provide offspring that may proceed the survival of a tortoise species with just one present member: Lonesome George.

Land tortoises at the Charles Darwin Breeding Center in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
I think about this land tortoise is saying, “Shut up, Muriel! You thoughts your individual beeswax!” Is it simply me or does each land tortoise seem like an 80 12 months outdated man??

Sadly, lack of knowledge of tortoise lineage result in a deadly flaw: the females being mated with Lonesome George had been hybrid species, that means that they may not efficiently mate with the outdated tortoise.

He died a couple of years in the past, taking his complete species with him.

Fortunately, advances in tortoise breeding have made it attainable to resurrect this species from extinction: by breeding tortoises containing a excessive share of the genes of Lonesome George’s species, after a couple of generations a completely genetically equivalent tortoise might be born!

That’s some Jurassic Park sh**, proper there. Science is so cool.

Together with tortoises, you’ll be able to spy land and marine iguanas basking close to the middle.

Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Puerto Ayora within the Galapagos Islands is an lovable city with loads of locations to eat, drink, store, hop on boats, and see critters.

Eat & Drink in Puerto Ayora

The principle stretch of Puerto Ayora is one of the best place to cease for a meal, a drink, or a nightcap! Listed here are a couple of of one of the best locations to eat and drink in Puerto Ayora:

  • For a small and low-cost dinner, stroll as much as the market (nook of Avenida Baltra and Islas Duncan) from 6pm onwards for empanadas. Two stalls serve savory and candy (Nutella and banana – suuuuuper heavy however so yummy) empanadas for $1.5-2.5, with salads juice or the standard colada morada, a thick drink from cornflour, pineapple juice and berries ($1).
  • The most effective espresso in Puerto Ayora might be discovered at 1835 Coffee Lab, a roastery serving regionally grown Galapagos espresso. 
  • You’ll discover loads of locations to get drinks for Completely happy Hour alongside Charles Darwin avenue, the primary road in Puerto Ayora. Stroll by means of round sundown to make the most of one of the best 2-for-1 drink affords!
  • Your greatest ice cream after an extended day on the seaside is Galapagos Deli. One scoop is biiiiig and two are an excessive amount of, however we’ve got a tip for you: You’ll be able to ask for 2 flavors in a single scoop, so strive creamy chocolate with a neighborhood fruit, comparable to Mora, the regionally grown blackberry.
  • Strive a typical native breakfast at Tropic bird Cafe: going through the ocean proper subsequent to the fish market, this $5 breakfast and lunch spot is definitely highly regarded with the locals. Strive an encebollado with chifle, fish soup with a facet of fried plantain chips to crush up within the soup.


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Tortuga Bay Beach, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
Poor Jeremy lugging round our rental snorkeling gear and our tiny, horrible day bag on the seaside by Tortuga Bay. Don’t be like us: convey your individual snorkeling gear and a good, normal-sized day bag!

Swim in Tortuga Bay

Tortuga Bay is called as probably the most lovely seashores in Ecuador, but it surely’s due to its pristine white sand, not as a result of it’s teeming with turtles. Additionally, the visibility within the water was terrible for snorkeling. We kayaked across the bay searching for rays, sharks, and turtles, and solely managed to see a couple of tiny fish.

It was, nevertheless, an amazing seaside day, which was well worth the journey even when the snorkeling wasn’t! We suggest spending a day stress-free on the seaside, swimming, and kayaking in Tortuga Bay.

To get to Tortuga Bay, you’ll be able to take a water taxi ($10 every means) that goes across the perimeter of the island to and from Puerto Ayora. You’ll be able to catch one on the fundamental docks in Puerto Ayora. Verify timetables although or chances are you’ll miss the final one and find yourself strolling.

Nevertheless, we expect the greatest option to get to Tortuga Bay from Puerto Ayora is by strolling. From the Puerto Ayora pier, cross the primary highway and attain Baltra Avenue. It’s a pink cobblestone road with a motorcycle lane. Stroll 2 blocks and also you’ll attain Charles Binford Road. Flip proper. Comply with Charles Binford Road out of city till you attain the top of the road, after about 10 minutes.

On the finish of the road is a staircase up a brief hill. On the prime of the hill is a bit kiosk the place you’ll check in to enter the park.

From the kiosk is a easy cobblestone path – stroller pleasant, we noticed a couple of households – that you just’ll stroll down for about 45 minutes. It’s not the prettiest stroll except you get pleasure from seeing the identical cactus and stubbly tree surroundings for 45 minutes.

The walking path to Tortuga Bay in Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
Cacti and brush alongside the strolling path to Tortuga Bay in Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands

You’ll attain the seaside and be rewarded with an extremely lovely view. The water right here is simply too harmful for swimming, so there’s often no one right here. Flip proper and stroll down the seaside for a surprising 15 or so minutes till you attain the top of the seaside.

To your left are some rocks the place you’ll be able to see nesting marine iguanas and watch turtles swim within the open ocean. In the event you come throughout low tide, there’s a secluded little seaside with shade from the place you’ll be able to see the mile-long Tortuga Bay in its entirety.

To the fitting you’ll discover Tortuga Bay – search for individuals swimming and sunbathing on the shore of an enormous horseshoe-shaped bay!

Swimmers and kayakers in the clear blue waters of Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Swimmers and a kayakers within the heat waters of Tortuga Bay

Stroll to the top of Tortuga Bay and comply with the trail to the fitting to get to Playa Mansa, the calm, lagoon-like a part of the seaside the place you’ll be able to lastly discover shade and – in case you are fortunate on a quiet day – spot little sharks within the shallow water.

Listed here are a couple of suggestions for visiting Tortuga Bay:

  • Pack in all the things you have to for the day as there may be nowhere to purchase something on the seaside. We advise bringing tons of sunscreen and solar safety (the solar is way stronger right here on the equator!), plenty of water (keep in mind you’ve got an extended sunny hike to and from Tortuga Bay), a packed lunch and snacks, toilet paper (there isn’t a rest room, however yow will discover a spot should you want one within the bushes), a towel, and naturally your swimsuit!
  • The water is comfy for swimming with out a wetsuit and is fairly shallow throughout low tide.
  • We rented snorkel gear for $14 and schlepped it together with us on the stroll, but it surely positively wasn’t price it – this isn’t a superb snorkel spot. There are alleged to be reef sharks, rays, and turtles within the water, but it surely’s deep and murky and you may’t see something.
  • We rented kayaks for $20 an hour from the lone vendor on the seaside. We tried to snorkel in several spots within the bay that had been too far to swim to, however that didn’t pan out. If you get pleasure from kayaking only for the sake of it, hire a kayak. In any other case, you’ll be able to skip the kayak rental. If you’re fairly assured in your swimming skills, swim out a bit farther from the seaside and you’ll begin seeing turtles within the water.
  • You’ll be able to see iguanas throughout low tide on the primary stretch of the seaside in addition to sunbathing on the very finish of the seaside earlier than attending to Playa Mansa. You may as well discover turtles by strolling left on the finish of the seaside to the little lookout fabricated from lava stones the place you’ll be able to see them swimming within the water.


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tortise ranch in Las Grietas ecuador
Be careful for tortoises, they’re all the time crossing! (Picture Credit score: Claire Herbaux)

Go to a Tortoise Ranch

You’re not going to go to Galapagos with out seeing its most well-known inhabitant, proper?

Whilst you could spot them on the facet of the highway or go to a breeding heart, you’ll be able to see them in all their glory (and gigantic measurement!) at a ranch within the Highlands, the inland a part of Santa Cruz Island that sits at about 2,000 toes of elevation greater than the coast. The air up right here is cooler, which makes it the right habitat for tortoises!

There are two fundamental ranches to select from, each price $5 (which features a information to point out you round) and have a restaurant and café do you have to desire a snack or lunch overlooking tortoise.

 To get to the tortoise ranches, take a bus from Puerto Ayora to Santa Rosa ($1-1.5) after which stroll (plan 90 minutes) following the one path within the village and switch left on the signal to the ranches. Comply with the highway and on the finish, flip left for Primicias (farther away) and proper for El Chato. When you get in Santa Rosa, it’s also possible to hope to discover a taxi to take you the remainder of the way in which. 

You may as well hire a motorcycle and cycle to Santa Rosa (you higher be in excellent form and cycle commonly) or pop the bike on the bike rack on the bus to Santa Rose, then bike the remainder of the way in which there.

Alternatively, you’ll be able to take a taxi ($40 spherical journey) which can look ahead to you there.

Listed here are some suggestions for visiting tortoise ranches:

  • El Chato has three small lava tunnels, so you can begin with a shorter one and work your means as much as the longer, darker ones (in case you get claustrophobic!). Primicias has one, virtually a mile-long tunnel with no means of exiting earlier or turning round.
  • Don’t put on your greatest garments — you’ll be strolling by means of excessive grass, crawling into an empty tortoise shell, and strolling round muddy fields, so be ready!
  • Convey a sweater and/or raincoat; even when it’s sunny on the coast, it could possibly get very moist up within the higher-elevation highlands. And produce socks! It helps keep away from ant bites within the tall grass. Plus if it’s muddy, the ranches gives you rainboots.

Swings at Highland Views

Highland Views is a farm inland – within the greater elevation, cooler a part of Santa Cruz island generally known as the Highlands – that’s open to vacationers ($5). Right here you’ll be able to stroll across the farm and take un gorgeous views that stretch all the way in which throughout the island to the ocean, befriend and feed cattle, and see an indication of how they make sugarcane juice. However the true draw are what Instagrammable goals are comprised of: swings! 

How loopy you wish to go on the swing is as much as you: there are not any guidelines – and no security belts. Rise up or just sit; both means, the primary second you swing your toes ahead and overlook all the island and see all the way in which to Santa Fe is exhilarating.

Tip: You’ll get one of the best image in case your photographer stands on the facet of the massive posts holding the swing.

Oh, and don’t overlook to relax within the hammock and pet the canine earlier than you permit!

  • To get to Highland Views, you’ll be able to take a taxi for $15. Or for the cheaper and extra adventurous route, catch a bus from the nook of Baltra Avenue and Isla Duncan to El Cascajo for $1 – there may be one within the morning and one after lunch. From Cascajo, stroll again down the hill you got here up with and also you’ll discover the trail as much as Highland Views.
Garrapatero Beach on puerto ayora in ecuador
Garrapatero Seashore is a superb place to lounge. (Picture Credit score: Claire Herbaux)

Garrapatero Seashore

Garrapatero Beach is a hidden gem within the Galapagos – a surprising quiet seaside (besides on weekends) the place you’ll be able to swim and kayak within the crystal clear water, chill out on the delicate white sand, or stroll alongside the seaside laced with volcanic lava rock.

There’s not a lot to see within the water, so depart your snorkel gear at your lodge, however the panorama is beautiful. Spend all day sitting within the shade, watching the pelicans on the water and leaping within the waves. And maintain a watch out for flamingos!

Plan for an all-day tour and pack a lunch to convey with you (we suggest a pulled pork sandwich from Island Deli). There’s a rest room and altering space obtainable right here, so you’ll be able to bathe earlier than you head again.

  • To get to Garrapatero Seashore, you’ll be able to take a taxi from Puerto Ayora (about $20 every means) – make sure you allow them to know you’ll want a return experience. So as to add a scenic vista, negotiate on your taxi to drive you again by way of the highlands. It prices a bit extra, the views are price it as you come back house. You’ll additionally get an opportunity to breathe within the cool, high-altitude, air for some time – a refreshing change after an extended day on the seaside!
  • You may as well hire bikes on the town ($10-15, ask for a lock) and bike there, a bit underneath 5 miles (put together for hills). You’ll cease a minimum of twice to benefit from the view and snap pics, or simply as a result of there’s a tortoise on the highway. For the way in which again, ebook a taxi prematurely ($20) as there isn’t any sign and the way in which again is STEEP!
Lia and Jeremy Garcia in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
We swam with sea lions!! Additionally, behold: the tannest we’ve ever been in our lives.

Santa Fe Island Day Journey 

We took the Santa Fe Island day tour from Puerto Ayora. The tour was over 8 hours lengthy: we left at 8am and returned at 5pm.

First, we spent over an hour stress-free on a seaside. Not one of the group knew we had been going to be parked at a seaside for over an hour, so no one had introduced something to do, blankets, sun shades, and so forth – we had been all ready to simply hop within the ocean and snorkel. There was plenty of grumbling and tedium. I spent an hour constructing a sand citadel. There are worse methods to waste time, however I do want we’d had some advance discover.

Subsequent we went to a rocky cliff face to snorkel. The present was extremely robust; that is not your common stress-free snorkeling and swimming was troublesome! We did see some fairly fish – the water was deeper than a lot of the different excursions we went on.

After snorkeling, we went to a different space, a brilliant blue lagoon, the place we lastly had been in a position to swim with sea lions alongside the rocks the place they lay stress-free. Then a supplied lunch, then one other non-obligatory hour for swimming, after which an odd half-hour of our boat making an attempt to catch fish for the subsequent day’s lunch; then lastly we returned.

The most effective a part of this tour was that it wasn’t rushed; we weren’t consistently having to maintain up with a gaggle or all trailing the identical animals. Additionally, there are 3 separate areas, 2 of which have distinctive snorkeling alternatives, so it wasn’t repetitive or boring in any respect.

Listed here are some suggestions for the Santa Fe tour:

  • In the event you do that tour, do it earlier in your journey as you’re unlikely to see a lot that’s new and thrilling should you’ve already been snorkeling loads.
  • You’ll be able to book the Santa Fe tour online in advance, or ebook on the docks when you arrive.
  • Our tour didn’t embrace wetsuits, however the water is frigid. Lease wetsuits at any company on the town for the day.
  • The supplied masks had been poorly made – two of the air tubes, together with mine, fell off within the ocean. We had been then requested to pay for the misplaced tubes (I politely refused). But one more reason why we suggest bringing your individual snorkeling gear as a part of our Galapagos Packing List.
A blue footed booby and his babies on the Los Tuneles tour from Isabela Island in the Galapagos!
A blue-footed booby dad and his awkward, fur-covered infants. Boobies are doofy AF and we love them.

Seymour Island Day Journey

 On this all-day tour you’re prone to see frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls as you hike across the island. Then, you’ll go swimming and snorkeling with sea lions. You would spot flamingos and sharks, too!

That is an all-day, 8 hour day journey that leaves at 8 am. As soon as picked up, you’ll drive for about an hour to Itabaca Canal earlier than boarding your boat.

You’ll head to an space to hike and stroll round, in addition to go to a blue-footed boobies nest – should you’re fortunate, you’ll see them doing awkward little courtship dances throughout mating season! You’ll go to Las Bachas Seashore for snorkelling and swimming earlier than heading again to your lodge.

Lunch, snorkel gear, and a wetsuit are supplied.

In the event you’re not visiting Isla Isabela, this is likely to be your solely likelihood to see blue-footed boobies – and people foolish little birds are properly well worth the tour. In any other case, you would possibly wish to wait till you’ll be able to take the Los Tuneles tour on Isabela Island, which is similiar.

You’ll be able to book this tour online in advance, or when you arrive in Puerto Ayora at any native tour operator or on the kiosk by the docks.


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Suenos Silvestres hostal in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, in the Galapagos, Ecuador.
We discovered an amazing room at Sueno Silvestres lodge for an affordable mid-range value proper within the coronary heart of Puerto Ayora!

Santa Cruz, Galapagos Accommodations: The place to Keep

There are many motels on Santa Cruz Island positioned in Puerto Ayora, starting from cheap to extra luxurious. Count on decently sized personal rooms with personal bogs, scorching water, towels, drinkable water, and the works for round $50-70 an evening, or a bit greater should you decide to incorporate breakfast.

Listed here are our picks near the primary stretch of Puerto Ayora:

  • Mid-Vary Resort: Sueno Silvestres is positioned near the Charles Darwin analysis heart and some blocks away from the seaside & fundamental road of Puerto Ayora in a pleasant quiet and personal space. Our room was giant, scorching water was plentiful, there have been free towels and drinkable water supplied, and the proprietor Carlos was pleasant and welcoming. Breakfast is obtainable for an additional price.
  • Trip Rental: This spacious modern loft has ocean views EVERYWHERE – from the lounge, the personal balcony. This sunny little apartment nestled within the treetops is only a 5-minute stroll away from the primary city stretch – AND it’s underneath $100/night time!
  • Funds-Pleasant Hostel: Hostal Vista al Mar has dorm rooms (together with all-female rooms) and a visitor kitchen and a backyard for $15-20/night time. That’s an incredible worth for the Galapagos!
Finch Bay hotel in Punta Estrada seen from a water taxi in Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands Ecuador
The luxurious Finch Bay lodge in Punta Estrada seen from a water taxi

Most motels in Santa Cruz are positioned inside a 10-minute stroll from the docks, kiosks, and grocery shops in Puerto Ayora. However a couple of motels are positioned on the Punta Estrada Waterfront close to the quiet Alemanes Seashore. It’s a brief water taxi experience again to the primary stretch in Puerto Ayora. (And really near Las Grietas!)

Listed here are our picks for the place to remain in Punta Estrada:

  • Finch Bay is fingers down the nicest lodge in Santa Cruz.  Assume luxurious all the things. There’s even a non-public dock with a non-public yacht for visitors. Facilities embrace free Wi-Fi, A/C, a beautiful swimming pool and restaurant, and a pier with yachts to go to the islands. Breakfast with bacon, sausages, pancakes, contemporary fruits and eggs is served day by day.
  • Hotel Angermeyer Waterfront Inn is in a picturesque lodge fabricated from lava stones and driftwood. Large home windows overlook the ocean as you dine in your included breakfast or get pleasure from a cocktail by the fireside.  Sunbathe, chill, or snorkel on the personal waterfront!


The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the San Blas Islands, Panama (Guna Yala)

Psst: Planning a visit to the Galapagos Islands? Check out these different posts that will help you plan:

We’ve additionally created an in depth 15-page downloadable information to visiting the Galapagos Islands. Enroll under to get the information ship straight to your inbox! 

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