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

Please double examine what’s open earlier than your journey and observe all native masks pointers to maintain your self and others protected! Additionally, advertisements are how we pay our payments and preserve our weblog free so that you can get pleasure from. We additionally use affiliate hyperlinks; when you make a purchase order by means of them, we might obtain a small fee for free of charge to you.

Barking sea lions. Crystal swimming pools tucked between volcanic cliffs. Tortoise ranches. Recent, 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 possibly can’t 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 an ideal submit and enjoyable to learn, however in typical 2016-travel-blog trend, it’s not terribly helpful. So we created this submit: 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 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 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 principle city on Santa Cruz, Galapagos! Sure, the water truly appears to be like like that.

How one can 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 journey 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 possibly can take a white pick-up truck taxi – you’ll discover many ready dockside. The worth is about, however everybody goes the identical route, so don’t be afraid to separate a taxi with one other traveler!

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

For those who’re coming from the opposite major 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 possibly can book your ticket online on Bookaway. The journey 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 regardless that it’s a populated island, it’s nonetheless filled with wildlife – the magic of the Galapagos!

The primary city in Santa Cruz is the coastal port city of Puerto Ayora, the place you’ll discover loads of inns, eating places, and the entire comforts you’d anticipate 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, stunning). Santa Cruz can also be dwelling to one of many two airports within the Galapagos Islands, so there’s a great 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, inns, 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! Fill up on money right here, as a result of among the different islands like Isla Isabela have NO ATM’s in any respect.
  • Carry sunscreen with you from the mainland. It’s insanely costly right here, and also you’ll want it for the additional sturdy rays because of the proximity to the Equator. Ensure to convey reef-safe sunscreen for once 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 principle dock on the town, the place we picked up groceries for snacks and breakfast. You can even pop to the highest ground for an inexpensive espresso and pastry with a sea view. However needless to say most inns received’t have a kitchen.
  • We suggest reserving excursions and lodging on-line upfront when you can. You possibly can e book 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 great likelihood you received’t have the ability to do each tour you’d like as there’s a restricted variety of areas out there and excursions are topic to strict rules. Plus, it’s simply form of nerve-racking to not know what you’ll be doing till you arrive! (We realized this from expertise.) To e book a day journey or tour, simply discover any tour operator – their workplaces 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 major hub for the Galapagos Islands, and a great 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 one of the best place on the island to buy freshly caught seafood (when 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 an everyday on the Puerto Ayora fish market. She positions herself behind the counter instantly beneath the reducing 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 cute sea lion. We wish one!! 

You’ll additionally discover a small crowd of hovering pelicans and herons, and generally napping sea lions as properly. Ensure 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 one of the best snorkeling close to Puerto Ayora! Beautiful Las Grietas is prettiest and most empty at noon. The pure channel is evident and really, very deep!

Snorkel in Las Grietas

Las Grietas is an exquisite clear pool between two sheer volcanic cliff faces – therefore the title, which suggests “The Crevices.” Throughout noon when the solar is excessive, the pool is a brilliant, clear blue, and the solar’s rays sparkle all the best way to the underside of the deep pool, making for unbelievable photographs and views. You possibly can bounce off the dock into the water when you like, and climb up the cliffs to leap from the rocks when 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 journey and the water taxi is beneath $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 choice so that you can stroll on, so that you received’t get misplaced). The boardwalk will take you previous Punta Estrada, a small cove the place you possibly can 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 sign up and wait on your flip to enter with a information (you could 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 here are just a few 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 possibly can climb by means of to the opposite ones. Swim all the best way to the tip of the primary pool, climb (fastidiously!) over the rocks, and swim by means of the second pool to entry the hidden third pool. To get to it you’ll both must 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 means of the underwater cave. When there are not any folks within the pool, there are lots of of fish swimming on this part undisturbed, and it’s completely unbelievable.
  • Your go to is restricted to 90 minutes, however when you’ve completed, you possibly can 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 generally is a combined bag, however if you’re 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 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 properly value the additional work to select 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 avenue 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 crammed with tables, glad vacationers, and locals mingling among the many numerous kiosks, all of whom are promoting a variation of the identical gadgets, loudly proffered by servers thrusting menus and entire uncooked fish beneath 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 sizzling all night time lengthy.

Every part 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 sizzling 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 slightly like sporting a bulls-eye in your brow: each step you are taking, somebody arms you a menu or a fish or lists a number of gadgets and their costs at you, all in rapid-fire Spanish. However actually, you possibly can’t go improper: choose wherever, and order no matter they suggest. It’ll be nice.

Our favourite half about Los Kioskos? The perfect meals in Puerto Ayora can also be probably the most funds pleasant! An entire brujo fish to share is $15 at Sol y Mar, considered one of our favourite kiosks in 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 kioscos are positioned at Baltra & Charles Binford. It’s simple to stroll from wherever on the town. You can even at all times take an inexpensive pickup truck taxi. If it’s good 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 crammed 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 posh: the principle constructing is crammed with data and some small displays, however the principle points of interest are all exterior.

Turtles are bred in a bit of the middle – every large island within the Galapagos has its personal land turtle breeding middle, we realized.

As we watched big outdated tortoises munch on turtle snacks and slowly chase one another round, we realized that for years, the tortoise breeding middle tried its finest to supply 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 appear to be an 80 12 months outdated man??

Sadly, lack of information of tortoise lineage result 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 outdated tortoise.

He died just a few 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 just a few generations a completely genetically equivalent tortoise will likely be born!

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

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

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

Eat & Drink in Puerto Ayora

The primary stretch of Puerto Ayora is one of the best place to cease for a meal, a drink, or a nightcap! Listed here are just a few 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 normal colada morada, a thick drink from cornflour, pineapple juice and berries ($1).
  • The perfect 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 Pleased Hour alongside Charles Darwin avenue, the principle avenue in Puerto Ayora. Stroll by means of round sundown to reap the benefits of one of the best 2-for-1 drink gives!
  • 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’ve got a tip for you: You possibly can ask for 2 flavors in a single scoop, so attempt creamy chocolate with an area fruit, resembling Mora, the regionally grown blackberry.
  • Attempt 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 extremely popular with the locals. Attempt 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 one of the crucial stunning 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 in search of rays, sharks, and turtles, and solely managed to see just a few tiny fish.

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

To get to Tortuga Bay, you possibly can take a water taxi ($10 every manner) that goes across the perimeter of the island to and from Puerto Ayora. You possibly can catch one on the major docks in Puerto Ayora. Verify timetables although or you could miss the final one and find yourself strolling.

Nonetheless, we predict the finest option to get to Tortuga Bay from Puerto Ayora is by strolling. From the Puerto Ayora pier, cross the principle street and attain Baltra Avenue. It’s a purple 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 city till you attain the tip 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 slightly kiosk the place you’ll sign up to enter the park.

From the kiosk is a clean cobblestone path – stroller pleasant, we noticed just a few households – that you just’ll 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.
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 stunning view. The water right here is simply too harmful for swimming, so there’s normally no person right here. Flip proper and stroll down the seaside for a surprising 15 or so minutes till you attain the tip of the seaside.

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

To the precise you’ll discover Tortuga Bay – search for folks 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 tip of Tortuga Bay and observe the trail to the precise to get to Playa Mansa, the calm, lagoon-like a part of the seaside the place you possibly can lastly discover shade and – if you’re fortunate on a quiet day – spot little sharks within the shallow water.

Listed here are just a few ideas for visiting Tortuga Bay:

  • Pack in all the things you will want for the day as there’s 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!), numerous water (bear in mind you will have a protracted sunny hike to and from Tortuga Bay), a packed lunch and snacks, toilet paper (there isn’t a rest room, however you could find a spot when 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 positively wasn’t value it – this isn’t a great snorkel spot. There are presupposed 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 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, lease a kayak. In any other case, you possibly can skip the kayak rental. If you’re fairly assured in your swimming skills, swim out slightly farther from the seaside and you’ll begin seeing turtles within the water.
  • You possibly can see iguanas throughout low tide on the principle stretch of the seaside in addition to sunbathing on the very finish of the seaside earlier than attending to Playa Mansa. You can even discover turtles by strolling left on the finish of the seaside to the little lookout fabricated from lava stones the place you possibly can 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 might spot them on the facet of the street or go to a breeding middle, you possibly can 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 proper habitat for tortoises!

There are two major 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 may also hope to discover a taxi to take you the remainder of the best way. 

You can even lease a motorbike and cycle to Santa Rosa (you higher be in excellent form and cycle recurrently) 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 possibly can take a taxi ($40 spherical journey) which is able to anticipate you there.

Listed here 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 manner as much as the longer, darker ones (in case you get claustrophobic!). Primicias has one, nearly a mile-long tunnel with no manner of exiting earlier or turning round.
  • Don’t put on your finest garments — you’ll be strolling by means of excessive grass, crawling into an empty tortoise shell, and strolling round muddy fields, so be ready!
  • Carry 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 often known as the Highlands – that’s open to vacationers ($5). Right here you possibly can stroll across the farm and take un gorgeous 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 true draw are what Instagrammable desires are produced from: swings! 

How loopy you need 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 manner, the primary second you swing your toes ahead and overlook your entire island and see all the best way to Santa Fe is exhilarating.

Tip: You’ll get one of the best 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 canine earlier than you permit!

  • To get to Highland Views, you possibly can 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 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 possibly can swim and kayak within the crystal clear water, chill out on the gentle 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 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 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 toilet and altering space out there right here, so you possibly can bathe earlier than you head again.

  • To get to Garrapatero Seaside, you possibly can take a taxi from Puerto Ayora (about $20 every manner) – you should definitely allow them to know you’ll want a return journey. So as to add a scenic vista, negotiate on your taxi to drive you again through the highlands. It prices slightly extra, the views are value it as you come 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 lease bikes on the town ($10-15, ask for a lock) and bike there, slightly 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’s a tortoise on the street. For the best way again, e book a taxi upfront ($20) as there isn’t a sign and the best way 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 enjoyable on a seaside. Not one of the group knew we have been going to be parked at a seaside for over an hour, so no person had introduced something to do, blankets, sun shades, and many others – we have been all ready to only hop within the ocean and snorkel. There was numerous 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 sturdy; that is not your common enjoyable snorkeling and swimming was troublesome! 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 brilliant blue lagoon, the place we lastly have been capable of swim with sea lions alongside the rocks the place they lay enjoyable. Then a offered 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 a part of this tour was that it wasn’t rushed; we weren’t continually 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 ideas for the Santa Fe tour:

  • For those who do that tour, do it earlier in your journey as you’re unlikely to see a lot that’s new and thrilling when you’ve already been snorkeling loads.
  • You possibly can 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. Lease wetsuits at any company on the town for the day.
  • The offered 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 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 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 may 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 – when 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 lodge.

Lunch, snorkel gear, and a wetsuit are offered.

For those who’re not visiting Isla Isabela, this is perhaps your solely likelihood to see blue-footed boobies – and people foolish little birds are properly well worth the tour. In any other case, you may need to wait till you possibly can 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 ideal room at Sueno Silvestres lodge for an inexpensive mid-range worth proper within the coronary heart of Puerto Ayora!

Santa Cruz, Galapagos Motels: The place to Keep

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

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

  • Mid-Vary Lodge: Sueno Silvestres is positioned near the Charles Darwin analysis middle and some blocks away from the seaside & major avenue of Puerto Ayora in a pleasant quiet and personal space. Our room was giant, sizzling water was plentiful, there have been free towels and drinkable water offered, and the proprietor Carlos was pleasant and welcoming. Breakfast is accessible for an additional price.
  • 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 principle city stretch – AND it’s beneath $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 inns in Santa Cruz are positioned inside a 10-minute stroll from the docks, kiosks, and grocery shops in Puerto Ayora. However just a few inns are positioned on the Punta Estrada Waterfront close to the quiet Alemanes Seaside. It’s a brief water taxi journey again to the principle 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 arms 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 friends. 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 in a picturesque lodge fabricated from lava stones and driftwood. Enormous 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 can assist you plan:

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