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 observe all native mask pointers to maintain yourself and others secure! Additionally, adverts are how we pay our payments and hold our weblog free so that you can get pleasure from it. We additionally use affiliate hyperlinks; if you happen to make a purchase order via them, we could obtain a small fee for gratis to you.

Barking sea lions. Crystal swimming pools tucked between volcanic cliffs. Tortoise ranches. Contemporary, scorching seafood. Santa Cruz Island is among 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 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 to miss it: you’ll both fly right here or cease right here on a cruise.

Years in the past, we printed the story of our visit to Santa Cruz, Galapagos. It’s a fantastic submission and enjoyable to learn, however in typical 2016-travel-blog style, it’s not terribly helpful. So we created this submit: definitely-very-useful journey information that may provide help to plan your go to Santa Cruz, Galapagos!

Psst: Planning a visit to the Galapagos Islands? Check out these different posts that can assist 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 for visiting the Galapagos Islands. Enroll beneath to get the information shipped 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 principal city of Santa Cruz, Galapagos! Sure, the water truly appears to be like like that.

Learn 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 known as Baltra, and also you’ll be capable of flying 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 couple of 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 docksides. The value is about, however, everybody goes the identical route, so don’t be afraid to separate a taxi with one another traveler!

The less expensive choice is to take a bus, additionally situated dockside. There are restricted airline arrivals every day, so count on attending a short time for the bus to refill totally earlier than it leaves. The bus will take you to the market in the middle of the city, about half a mile from the ocean and most lodges/hostels.

When you’re coming from the opposite important 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 at the very least a day upfront as their seats are restricted – you’ll be able to book your ticket online on Book away. The experience 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 among the 3 inhabited islands within the Galapagos – however though it’s a populated island, it’s nonetheless filled with wildlife – the magic of the Galapagos!

The principal city in Santa Cruz is the coastal port city of Puerto Ayora, the place you’ll discover loads of lodges, eating places, and all the comforts you’d count on from a small island city (don’t get too fancy, although. The web could 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 colored crabs, snoozing sea lions, and cuddling marine iguanas. You’ll discover many of the very best 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 aren’t any exception: money is king. Fortunately, there are ATMs galore on Puerto Ayora and a lot of outlets, eating places, and bars to spend your money in! Fill up on money right here, as a result of the different islands like Isla Isabela having NO ATMs 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 sturdy rays as a result of proximity to the Equator. Make sure to carry reef-safe sunscreen if you’ll be within the water, to guard the coral reef and different marine wildlife that stay within the Galapagos!
  • There’s a large grocery retailer proper by the principal dock in the town, the place we picked up groceries for snacks and breakfast. You can even pop to the highest flooring for an inexpensive espresso and pastry with a sea view. However needless to say most lodges gained’t have a kitchen.
  • We advocate reserving excursions and lodging online upfront if you happen to can. You may e-book 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 probability you gained’t be capable of doing 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 sort of tense to not know what you’ll be doing till you arrive! (We discovered this from expertise.) To e-book a day journey or tour, simply discover any tour operator – their places of work are throughout the city – or go to the kiosk close to the docks. Remember that you’ll pay for your day excursions upfront with money.


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Santa Cruz, Galapagos: Issues to Do

Puerto Ayora is the important hub for the Galapagos Islands, and a superb dwelling base to do the Galapagos with no cruise. There are loads of actions you are able to do on the island itself, plus a lot of days journeys and excursions.

For the total story of our go-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 very best place on the island to buy freshly caught seafood (if you happen to be 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 every day on the Puerto Ayora fish market. She positions herself behind the counter immediately beneath the chopping board, the place she is aware she’ll get fed scraps and pores and skin from the contemporary fish fillets all day long! She’s like a pet canine that’s additionally a cute sea lion. We would like one!!

You’ll additionally discover a small crowd of hovering pelicans and herons, and typically napping sea lions as effectively. 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!

Snorkel in Las Grietas

Las Grietas is a stupendous 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 brilliant, clear blue, and the solar rays sparkle all the best way to the underside of the deep pool, making for unimaginable pictures and views. You may bounce off the dock into the water if you happen to like, and climb up the cliffs to leap from the rocks if you happen to dare! Las Grietas is the very 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 brief experience and the water taxi is beneath $1.

When you’re dropped off, you’ll stroll previous a flowery 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 sole 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’ll be able to swim, with a seaside throughout the low tide.

The boardwalk to Las Grietas in Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
The boardwalk to Las Grietas, the very best place to go snorkeling in Santa Cruz, Galapagos!

Maintain strolling down the boardwalk previous to some attention-grabbing pink-tinged salt flats. After about a quarter-hour, you’ll attain Las Grietas! Maintain strolling down the boardwalk till you get to the doorway where you sign up and wait on your flip to enter with information (it’s possible you’ll wait 15-10 minutes to go together with a much bigger group). tl;dr observe the one path till it ends. Simple sufficient, proper?

Listed below are just a few 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 via to the opposite ones. Swim all the best way to the top of the primary pool, climb (fastidiously!) over the rocks, and swim via the second pool to enter the hidden third pool. To get to it you’ll both should fastidiously climb over extra rocks (seriously, watch out. Jeremy slipped and lower his foot right here) or take a deep breath, dive down, and swim via the underwater cave. When there aren’t any individuals within the pool, there is a whole bunch of fish swimming on this part undisturbed, and it’s completely unimaginable.
  • 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 is usually a combined bag, however, if you’re eager to strive, then intention for the mangroves in your proper to see sharks at the excessive tide, or swim proper out to the furthest rocks to search 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 effectively priced the additional work to choose all of the deliciousness off the bones!

Go to the Kiosks

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

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

When you arrive, you’ll discover the road stuffed with tables, blissful vacationers, and locals mingling among the many numerous 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 sizzling all evening lengthy.

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

Strolling via the alley is a bit like carrying a bulls-eye in your brow: with each step you are 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 truthfully, you’ll be able to go incorrect: decide wherever, and order no matter what they advocate. It’ll be nice.

Our favorite half about Los Kiosks? The perfect meals in Puerto Ayora can be probably the most funds-pleasant! An entire brujo fish to share is $15 at Sol y Mar, considered one of our favorite kiosks in the seafood alley. Their grilled and fried entire fish, grilled octopus, seafood cazuela, SOPA de queso (scrumptious cheese soup) and numerous batidos (fruit milkshakes) are all glorious.

The kiosks are situated at Baltra & Charles Binford. It’s straightforward to stroll from wherever in the town. You can even all the time take an affordable pickup truck taxi every day. If you’ll want to, ask any native for assistance discovering Los kiosks – they’ll all know.

Beach path on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador.

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 posh: the principle construction is stuffed with data and some small displays, however, the principal sights are all exterior.

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

As we watched large previous tortoises munch on turtle snacks and slowly chase one another round, we discovered that for years, the tortoise breeding middle tried its finest 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.

Sadly, the lack of information on tortoise lineage results in a deadly flaw: the females being mated with Lonesome George have been hybrid species, which means that they might not efficiently mate with the previous tortoise.

He died just a few years in the past, taking his complete species with him.

Fortunately, advances in tortoise breeding have made it potential to resurrect this species from extinction: by breeding tortoises containing an excessive proportion of the genes of Lonesome George’s species, after just a few generations a totally genetically equivalent tortoise can be born!

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

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

Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Eat & Drink in Puerto Ayora

The principal stretch of Puerto Ayora is the very best place to cease for a meal, a drink, or a nightcap! Listed below are just a few of the very 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 6 pm 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 normal colada morada, a thick drink from cornflour, pineapple juice, and berries ($1).
  • The perfect espresso in Puerto Ayora could be discovered at 1835 Coffee Lab, a roastery serving domestically grown Galapagos espresso.
  • You’ll discover loads of locations to get drinks for Completely satisfied Hour alongside Charles Darwin avenue, the principal avenue in Puerto Ayora. Stroll via round sundown to make the most of the very best 2-for-1 drink affords!
  • Your finest ice cream after a protracted day on the seaside is Galapagos Deli. One scoop is biiiiig and two are an excessive amount, however, we’ve got a tip for you: You may ask for 2 flavors in a single scoop, so strive for creamy chocolate with an area fruit, similar to Mora, the domestically grown blackberry.
  • Strive for 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 very fashionable with the locals. Strive for an encebollado with chile, 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.
Swim in Tortuga Bay

Tortuga Bay is called some of the most stunning seashores in Ecuador, nevertheless, it’s due to its pristine white sand, not as a result of its 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 just a few tiny fish.

It was, nonetheless, a fantastic seaside day, which was well worth the journey even when the snorkeling wasn’t! We advocate spending a day enjoyable on the seaside, swimming, and kayaking in Tortuga Bay.

To get to Tortuga Bay, you’ll be able to take a water taxi ($10 for every approach) that goes across the perimeter of the island to and from Puerto Ayora. You may catch one on the important docks in Puerto Ayora. Examine timetables although it’s possible you’ll miss the final one and find yourself strolling.

Nonetheless, we expect the finest solution to get to Tortuga Bay from Puerto Ayora is by strolling. From the Puerto Ayora pier, cross the principal highway and attain Baltra Avenue. It’s a crimson cobblestone avenue with a motorbike lane. Stroll 2 blocks and also you’ll attain Charles Binford Road. Flip proper. Comply with Charles Binford Road out of the 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 bit kiosk the place you’ll sign up to enter the park.

From the kiosk is an easy cobblestone path – stroller pleasant, we noticed just a few households – that you just stroll down for about 45 minutes. It’s not the prettiest stroll until 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.

You’ll attain the seaside and be rewarded with an extremely stunning view. The water right here is simply too harmful to swimming, so there’s often no person right here. Flip properly and stroll down the seaside for a shocking 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. When you come through 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 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 kayakers within the heat waters of Tortuga Bay

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

Listed below are just a few suggestions for visiting Tortuga Bay:

  • Pack in every part you will have for the day as there’s nowhere to purchase something at the seaside. We advise bringing tons of sunscreen and solar safety (the solar is far stronger right here on the equator!), plenty of water (keep in mind you could have a protracted sunny hike to and from Tortuga Bay), a packed lunch and snacks, toilet paper (there isn’t a toilet, however, you will discover a spot if you happen to 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 the low tide.
  • We rented snorkel gear for $14 and schlepped it together with us on the stroll, nevertheless, it positively wasn’t priced it – this isn’t a superb snorkel spot. There are presupposed to be reef sharks, rays, and turtles within the water, nevertheless, it’s deep and murky and you may 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 have 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 may see iguanas throughout low tide on the principal stretch of the seaside in addition to sunbathing on the very finish of the seaside earlier than attending Playa Mansa. You can even discover turtles by strolling left on the finish of the seaside to the little lookout product of lava stones the place you’ll be able to see them swimming in the water.


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tortise ranch in Las Grietas ecuador
Be careful with 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 without seeing its most well-known inhabitant, proper?

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

There are two important ranches to select from, each value $5 (which features information to indicate you round), and have a restaurant and café 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 to Santa Rosa, it’s also possible to hope to discover a taxi to take you the remainder of the best way.

You can even hire a motorbike and cycle to Santa Rosa (you higher be in superb form and cycle repeatedly) or pop the bike on the bike rack on the bus to Santa Rose, then bike the remainder of the best way there.

Alternatively, you’ll be able to take a taxi ($40 spherical journey) which is able to watch for you there.

Listed below 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 approach as much as the longer, darker ones (in case you get claustrophobic!). Primicias has one, nearly a mile-long tunnel with no approach of exiting earlier or turning round.
  • Don’t put on your finest garments — you’ll be strolling via excessive grass, crawling into an empty tortoise shell, and strolling around muddy fields, so be ready!
  • Convey a sweater and/or raincoat; even when it’s sunny on the coast, it might probably 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 will provide you with rain boots.

Swings at Highland Views

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

How loopy you wish to go on the swing is as much as you: there aren’t any guidelines – and no security belts. Arise or just sit; both approach, the primary second you swing your toes ahead and overlook your entire island and see all the best ways to Santa Fe is exhilarating.

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

Oh, and don’t overlook relaxing within the hammock and petting the canines 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’s one in 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 good place to lounge. (Picture Credit score: Claire Herbaux)

Garrapatero Seashore

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

There’s not a lot to see within the water, so go away with your snorkel gear at your resort, however, the panorama is attractive. Spend all day sitting in the shade, watching the pelicans on the water and leaping within the waves. And hold a watch out for flamingos!

Plan for an all-day tour and pack a lunch to carry with you (we advocate a pulled pork sandwich from Island Deli). There’s a restroom and altering space accessible 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 for every approach) – make sure to allow them to know you’ll want a return experience. So as to add a scenic vista, negotiate your taxi to drive you again through the highlands. It prices a 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 can even hire bikes in the town ($10-15, ask for a lock) and bike there, a bit beneath 5 miles (put together for hills). You’ll cease at the very least twice to benefit from the view and snap pics, or simply as a result of there being a tortoise on the highway. For the best way again, e-book a taxi upfront ($20) as there is no such thing as a sign, and the best way again is to STEEP!
Lia and Jeremy Garcia in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

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 8 am and returned at 5 pm.

First, we spent over an hour enjoyable on the seaside. Not one of the group knew we have been going to be parked at the seaside for over an hour, so no person had introduced something to do, blankets, sun shades, and many other – we have been all ready to only hop within the ocean and snorkel. There was plenty 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.

Subsequently, we went to a rocky cliff face to snorkel. The present was extremely sturdy; that is not your common enjoyable 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 last have been capable of swimming with sea lions alongside the rocks where they lay enjoyable. 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 perfect part of this tour was that it wasn’t rushed; we weren’t always having to maintain up with a gaggle or all trailing the identical animals. Additionally, there are 3 separate places, 2 of which have distinctive snorkeling alternatives, so it wasn’t repetitive or boring in any respect.

Listed below are some suggestions for the Santa Fe tour:

  • When you do that tour, do it earlier in your journey as you’re unlikely to see a lot that’s new and thrilling if you happen to’ve already been snorkeling quite a bit.
  • You may book the Santa Fe tour online in advance, or e-book on the docks when you arrive.
  • Our tour didn’t embrace wetsuits, however, the water is frigid. Hire wetsuits at any company in the town for the day.
  • The supplied masks have been poorly made – two of the air tubes, together with mine, fell off within the ocean. We have been then requested to pay for the misplaced tubes (I politely refused). But one more reason why we advocate 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 goofy 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 a space to hike and stroll around, in addition, to going to a blue-footed boobies nest – if you happen to’re fortunate, you’ll see them doing awkward little courtship dances throughout the mating season! You’ll go to Las Bachas Seashore for snorkeling and swimming earlier than heading again to your resort.

Lunch, snorkel gear, and a wetsuit are supplied.

When you’re not visiting Isla Isabela, this is perhaps your sole probability to see blue-footed boobies – and people foolish little birds are effectively 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 similar.

You may book this tour online in advance, or when you arrive in Puerto Ayora at any native tour operator or at the kiosk by the docks.


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Suenos Silvestres hostal in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, in the Galapagos, Ecuador.

Santa Cruz, Galapagos Lodges: 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 personal rooms with personal loos, sizzling water, towels, drinkable water, and the works for around $50-70 an evening, or a bit increased if you happen to choose to incorporate breakfast.

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

  • Mid-Vary Lodge: Sueno Silvestres is situated near the Charles Darwin analysis middle and some blocks away from the seaside & important avenue of Puerto Ayora in a pleasantly quiet and personal space. Our room was massive, sizzling water was plentiful, there have been free towels and drinkable water supplied, and the proprietor Carlos was pleasant and welcoming. Breakfast is out there for an additional price.
  • Trip Rental: This spacious modern loft has ocean views EVERYWHERE – from the lounge to the personal balcony. This sunny little apartment nestled within the treetops is only a 5-minute stroll away from the principal city stretch – AND it’s beneath $100/evening!
  • Finances-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 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 resort in Punta Estrada seen from a water taxi

Most lodges in Santa Cruz are situated within a 10-minute stroll from the docks, kiosks, and grocery shops in Puerto Ayora. However, just a few lodges are situated on the Punta Estrada Waterfront close to the quiet Alemanes Seashore. It’s a brief water taxi experience again to the principal 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 every part. There’s even a non-public dock with a non-public yacht for visitors. 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 each day.
  • Hotel Angermeyer Waterfront Inn is a picturesque resort product of 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 hearth.  Sunbathe, chill, or snorkel on the personal waterfront!


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

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