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

Please double test what’s open earlier than your journey and comply with all native masks pointers to maintain your self and others protected! Additionally, adverts are how we pay our payments and preserve our weblog free so that you can get pleasure from. We additionally use affiliate hyperlinks; in the event you make a purchase order by way 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 dwelling to lots of the Galapagos’ finest points of interest, 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 may’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 awesome submit and enjoyable to learn, however in typical 2016-travel-blog vogue, it’s not terribly helpful. So we created this submit: a definitely-very-useful journey information that can make it easier 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. Join 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 to be like that.

Find out how 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 named Baltra, and also you’ll have the ability to 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 trip from the Baltra docks. From the docks on the Santa Cruz facet it’s a couple of 45 minute drive into Puerto Ayora.

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

The less expensive choice is to take a bus, additionally situated dockside. There are restricted airline arrivals every day, so anticipate to attend a short time for the bus to replenish 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 lodges/hostels.

In the event you’re coming from the opposite predominant island within the Galapagos, San Cristobal, you’ll take one of many twice-daily ferries to Puerto Ayora. It’s finest to buy your tickets no less than a day prematurely as their seats are restricted – you may book your ticket online on Bookaway. The trip is about 2 hours. Pop a Dramamine earlier than you permit to go off seasickness!

Ideas for Visiting Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Santa Cruz Island is without doubt one of the 3 inhabited islands within the Galapagos – however regardless 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 lodges, eating places, and the entire comforts you’d anticipate from a small island city (don’t get too fancy, although. The web may be spotty. Some nights, we couldn’t even watch Netflix! I do know, stunning). Santa Cruz can be dwelling to one of many two airports within the Galapagos Islands, so there’s a superb probability 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 the most effective eating places, lodges, and day excursions in Puerto Ayora.

  • Most locations in Ecuador don’t settle for bank cards, or cost additional 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! Refill on money right here, as a result of a number of the different islands like Isla Isabela have NO ATM’s in any respect.
  • Deliver sunscreen with you from the mainland. It’s insanely costly right here, and also you’ll want it for the additional robust rays because of the proximity to the Equator. Make certain to convey reef-safe sunscreen for while you’ll be within the water, to guard the coral reef and different marine wildlife that dwell within the Galapagos!
  • There’s a large 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 ground for an inexpensive espresso and pastry with a sea view. However remember the fact that most lodges gained’t have a kitchen.
  • We suggest reserving excursions and lodging on-line prematurely in the event you can. You possibly can ebook your Puerto Ayora day excursions as quickly as you arrive on the island and also you’ll avoid wasting cash this fashion, however there’s additionally a superb probability you gained’t have the ability to do each tour you’d like as there’s a restricted variety of areas accessible and excursions are topic to strict rules. Plus, it’s simply type of traumatic 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 workplaces are throughout city – or go to the kiosk close to the docks. Remember that you’ll have to pay in your day excursions upfront with money.


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Santa Cruz, Galapagos: Issues to Do

Puerto Ayora is the predominant hub for the Galapagos Islands, and a superb dwelling base to do the Galapagos with no cruise. There are lots 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 the most effective place on the island to buy freshly caught seafood (in the event you’re fortunate sufficient to have a kitchen to play with, that is very thrilling!), nevertheless it’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 straight 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 lovely sea lion. We would like one!! 

You’ll additionally discover a small crowd of hovering pelicans and herons, and typically napping sea lions as nicely. Make certain to cease by in the course of 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 the most effective snorkeling close to Puerto Ayora! Gorgeous 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 good looking clear pool between two sheer volcanic cliff faces – therefore the title, which implies “The Crevices.” Throughout noon when the solar is excessive, the pool is a vibrant, clear blue, and the solar’s rays sparkle all the way in which to the underside of the deep pool, making for unimaginable images and views. You possibly can leap off the dock into the water in the event you like, and climb up the cliffs to leap from the rocks in the event you dare! Las Grietas is the most effective 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 brief trip and the water taxi is beneath $1.

When you’re dropped off, you’ll stroll previous a elaborate resort 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 choice 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 may swim, with a seaside throughout low tide.

The boardwalk to Las Grietas in Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
The boardwalk to Las Grietas, the most effective place to go snorkelling in Santa Cruz, Galapagos!

Preserve strolling down the boardwalk previous some attention-grabbing 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 in your flip to enter with a information (it’s possible you’ll wait 15-10 minutes to go along with a much bigger group). tl;dr comply with the one path till it ends. Straightforward sufficient, proper?

Listed below are a number of ideas 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 may climb by way of to the opposite ones. Swim all the way in which to the top of the primary pool, climb (fastidiously!) over the rocks, and swim by way of the second pool to entry the hidden third pool. To get to it you’ll both should fastidiously climb over extra rocks (seriously, watch out. Jeremy slipped and minimize his foot right here) or take a deep breath, dive down, and swim by way of the underwater cave. When there are not any individuals within the pool, there are a whole lot of fish swimming on this part undisturbed, and it’s completely unimaginable.
  • Your go to is restricted to 90 minutes, however when you’ve completed, you may 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 is usually a blended bag, however in case you are eager to attempt, then intention 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 nicely price the additional work to select all of the deliciousness off the bones!

Go to the Kiosks

The Kiosks/Los Kioskos are the most effective 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 odor smoky, grilled fish lengthy earlier than you stumble throughout this little alley.

When you arrive, you’ll discover the road stuffed with tables, joyful vacationers, and locals mingling among the many varied kiosks, all of whom are promoting a variation of the identical objects, loudly proffered by servers thrusting menus and entire uncooked fish beneath your nostril, all accompanied by the sizzle and tantalizing odor 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 evening lengthy.

Every part from contemporary entire fish rubbed with spices and nestled in tin foil, to octopus laid straight 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 way of the alley is a little bit like sporting a bulls-eye in your brow: each step you’re taking, somebody fingers you a menu or a fish or lists a number of objects and their costs at you, all in rapid-fire Spanish. However actually, you may’t go flawed: decide anyplace, and order no matter they suggest. It’ll be nice.

Our favourite half about Los Kioskos? The perfect meals in Puerto Ayora can be essentially the most price range pleasant! An entire brujo fish to share is $15 at Sol y Mar, one in all 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 situated at Baltra & Charles Binford. It’s simple to stroll from anyplace on the town. You may as well at all times take an inexpensive pickup truck taxi. If you must, 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 stuffed with 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 stuffed with info and some small displays, however the primary points of interest are all outdoors.

Turtles are bred in a bit 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 finest to provide offspring that might 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 personal beeswax!” Is it simply me or does each land tortoise appear to be an 80 yr 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, which means that they may not efficiently mate with the outdated tortoise.

He died a number of years in the past, taking his total species with him.

Fortunately, advances in tortoise breeding have made it doable to resurrect this species from extinction: by breeding tortoises containing a excessive share of the genes of Lonesome George’s species, after a number of generations a totally genetically similar tortoise shall be born!

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

Together with tortoises, you may spy land and marine iguanas basking close to the middle.

Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Puerto Ayora within the Galapagos Islands is an lovely 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 the most effective place to cease for a meal, a drink, or a nightcap! Listed below are a number of of the most effective 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 perfect espresso in Puerto Ayora may be discovered at 1835 Coffee Lab, a roastery serving regionally grown Galapagos espresso. 
  • You’ll discover loads of locations to get drinks for Comfortable Hour alongside Charles Darwin avenue, the primary road in Puerto Ayora. Stroll by way of round sundown to reap the benefits of the most effective 2-for-1 drink provides!
  • Your finest ice cream after a protracted day on the seaside is Galapagos Deli. One scoop is biiiiig and two are an excessive amount of, however we now have a tip for you: You possibly can ask for 2 flavors in a single scoop, so attempt creamy chocolate with a neighborhood fruit, similar to Mora, the regionally grown blackberry.
  • Strive a typical native breakfast at Tropic bird Cafe: dealing with the ocean proper subsequent to the fish market, this $5 breakfast and lunch spot is definitely very fashionable 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 personal snorkeling gear and a good, normal-sized day bag!

Swim in Tortuga Bay

Tortuga Bay is called as one of the crucial lovely seashores in Ecuador, nevertheless it’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 on the lookout for rays, sharks, and turtles, and solely managed to see a number of tiny fish.

It was, nevertheless, an awesome seaside day, which was definitely 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 may take a water taxi ($10 every means) that goes across the perimeter of the island to and from Puerto Ayora. You possibly can catch one on the predominant docks in Puerto Ayora. Test timetables although or it’s possible you’ll miss the final one and find yourself strolling.

Nonetheless, we predict the finest strategy to get to Tortuga Bay from Puerto Ayora is by strolling. From the Puerto Ayora pier, cross the primary street and attain Baltra Avenue. It’s a pink cobblestone road with a motorbike lane. Stroll 2 blocks and also you’ll attain Charles Binford Avenue. Flip proper. Comply with Charles Binford Avenue 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 high of the hill is a little 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 number of households – that you simply’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 just too harmful for swimming, so there’s normally 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 may 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 may see the mile-long Tortuga Bay in its entirety.

To the proper you’ll discover Tortuga Bay – search for individuals swimming and sunbathing on the shore of a giant 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 proper to get to Playa Mansa, the calm, lagoon-like a part of the seaside the place you may lastly discover shade and – in case you are fortunate on a quiet day – spot little sharks within the shallow water.

Listed below are a number of ideas for visiting Tortuga Bay:

  • Pack in the whole lot you’ll need 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 far stronger right here on the equator!), a number of water (keep in mind you’ve gotten a protracted sunny hike to and from Tortuga Bay), a packed lunch and snacks, toilet paper (there isn’t a toilet, however you’ll find a spot in the event you want one within the bushes), a towel, and naturally your swimsuit!
  • The water is snug for swimming with no wetsuit and is fairly shallow throughout low tide.
  • We rented snorkel gear for $14 and schlepped it together with us on the stroll, nevertheless it undoubtedly wasn’t price it – this isn’t a superb snorkel spot. There are alleged to be reef sharks, rays, and turtles within the water, nevertheless it’s deep and murky and you’ll’t see something.
  • We rented kayaks for $20 an hour from the lone vendor on the seaside. We tried to snorkel in numerous 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 may skip the kayak rental. In case you are fairly assured in your swimming talents, swim out a little bit farther from the seaside and you’ll begin seeing turtles within the water.
  • You possibly can 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 may see them swimming within the water.


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tortise ranch in Las Grietas ecuador
Be careful for tortoises, they’re at all times crossing! (Photograph 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?

When you could spot them on the facet of the street or go to a breeding heart, you may see them in all their glory (and gigantic dimension!) at a ranch within the Highlands, the inland a part of Santa Cruz Island that sits at about 2,000 ft of elevation larger than the coast. The air up right here is cooler, which makes it the proper habitat for tortoises!

There are two predominant ranches to select from, each value $5 (which features a information to point out you round) and have a restaurant and café must you 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 street and on the finish, flip left for Primicias (farther away) and proper for El Chato. When you get in Santa Rosa, you too can hope to discover a taxi to take you the remainder of the way in which. 

You may as well hire a motorbike and cycle to Santa Rosa (you higher be in superb 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 may take a taxi ($40 spherical journey) which is able to watch for you there.

Listed below are some ideas 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, nearly a mile-long tunnel with no means of exiting earlier or turning round.
  • Don’t put on your finest garments — you’ll be strolling by way of excessive grass, crawling into an empty tortoise shell, and strolling round muddy fields, so be ready!
  • Deliver a sweater and/or raincoat; even when it’s sunny on the coast, it may possibly get very moist up within the higher-elevation highlands. And convey 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 larger elevation, cooler a part of Santa Cruz island often called the Highlands – that’s open to vacationers ($5). Right here you may 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 illustration of how they make sugarcane juice. However the actual draw are what Instagrammable goals are produced from: swings! 

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

Tip: You’ll get the most effective image in case your photographer stands on the facet of the large posts holding the swing.

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

  • To get to Highland Views, you may 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 Seaside is a superb place to lounge. (Photograph Credit score: Claire Herbaux)

Garrapatero Seaside

Garrapatero Beach is a hidden gem within the Galapagos – a surprising quiet seaside (besides on weekends) the place you may swim and kayak within the crystal clear water, chill out on the comfortable 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 resort, however the panorama is beautiful. Spend all day sitting within the shade, watching the pelicans on the water and leaping within the waves. And preserve an eye fixed 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 accessible right here, so you may bathe earlier than you head again.

  • To get to Garrapatero Seaside, you may take a taxi from Puerto Ayora (about $20 every means) – remember to allow them to know you’ll want a return trip. So as to add a scenic vista, negotiate in your taxi to drive you again by way of the highlands. It prices a little bit extra, the views are price it as you come back dwelling. You’ll additionally get an opportunity to breathe within the cool, high-altitude, air for some time – a refreshing change after a protracted day on the seaside!
  • You may as well hire bikes on the town ($10-15, ask for a lock) and bike there, a little bit beneath 5 miles (put together for hills). You’ll cease no less than twice to benefit from the view and snap pics, or simply as a result of there’s a tortoise on the street. For the way in which again, ebook a taxi prematurely ($20) as there is no such thing as a 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 a number of grumbling and tedium. I spent an hour constructing a sand fort. 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 tough! We did see some fairly fish – the water was deeper than many of the different excursions we went on.

After snorkeling, we went to a different space, a vibrant 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 offered lunch, then one other optionally available hour for swimming, after which an odd half-hour of our boat making an attempt to catch fish for the following day’s lunch; then lastly we returned.

The perfect a part of this tour was that it wasn’t rushed; we weren’t consistently having to maintain up with a bunch 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 below are some ideas 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 in the event you’ve already been snorkeling loads.
  • You possibly can 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 offered 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 personal 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 more likely 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 might 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 – in the event you’re fortunate, you’ll see them doing awkward little courtship dances throughout mating season! You’ll go to Las Bachas Seaside for snorkelling and swimming earlier than heading again to your resort.

Lunch, snorkel gear, and a wetsuit are offered.

In the event you’re not visiting Isla Isabela, this may be your solely probability to see blue-footed boobies – and people foolish little birds are nicely definitely worth the tour. In any other case, you may wish to wait till you may take the Los Tuneles tour on Isabela Island, which is similiar.

You possibly can 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 awesome room at Sueno Silvestres resort for an inexpensive mid-range value proper within the coronary heart of Puerto Ayora!

Santa Cruz, Galapagos Motels: The place to Keep

There are many lodges on Santa Cruz Island situated in Puerto Ayora, starting from cheap to extra luxurious. Count on decently sized non-public rooms with non-public loos, scorching water, towels, drinkable water, and the works for round $50-70 an evening, or a bit larger in the event you choose to incorporate breakfast.

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

  • Mid-Vary Lodge: Sueno Silvestres is situated near the Charles Darwin analysis heart and some blocks away from the seaside & predominant 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 offered, and the proprietor Carlos was pleasant and welcoming. Breakfast is out there for an additional charge.
  • Trip Rental: This spacious modern loft has ocean views EVERYWHERE – from the lounge, the non-public balcony. This sunny little apartment nestled within the treetops is only a 5-minute stroll away from the primary city stretch – AND it’s beneath $100/evening!
  • 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/evening. That’s a tremendous 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 resort in Punta Estrada seen from a water taxi

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

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

  • Finch Bay is fingers down the nicest resort in Santa Cruz.  Suppose luxurious the whole lot. There’s even a non-public dock with a non-public yacht for company. Facilities embrace free Wi-Fi, A/C, a stunning 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 every day.
  • Hotel Angermeyer Waterfront Inn is in a picturesque resort 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 non-public 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:

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