Best Islands In Galapagos For Wildlife – Santa Cruz is located in the Central Islands of the Galapagos. It is the most populated island with about 15,000 inhabitants. There are small settlements all over the island, but most live in Puerto Ayora, the capital. The island is the second largest in the archipelago, covering an area of 986 km² (381 sq mi). Its highest point is 864 meters above sea level. Santa Cruz Island is a destination that most visitors to the Galapagos will pass through at least at some point, as planes land on Baltra Island and transport visitors, usually by bridge, to Santa Cruz Island. From there, they board a boat for a Galapagos Islands cruise in Puerto Ayora, or the Galapagos option starts there. Santa Cruz Island is important not only because it is the most populated island, but also because it is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where scientific research and conservation work is carried out.
Santa Cruz has a north-south road that is 42 km (25 mi) long. Santa Cruz has had a small population since the late 19th century
Best Islands In Galapagos For Wildlife
Century. Baltra was home to an American military base, and as evidence of World War II, a large old and rusty military barge lies off the coast of Las Bachas. Today, no such military force exists. The island is a large dormant volcano and last erupted more than a million years ago. So what’s going on in Santa Cruz Island these days? Read on to learn more about Santa Cruz Island.
Galapagos Islands Wildlife With Kids
Santa Cruz is a good place to observe many, but not all, of the different species that live in the Galapagos Islands. One of Santa Cruz’s biggest wildlife attractions is the giant tortoises that inhabit the island’s highlands. You can take a trip to one of the farms in the mountains where turtles live. These huge creatures roam the grass and near pools and often cross the road in front of you. There are good photo opportunities here. Other wildlife in Santa Cruz includes marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and white tip reef sharks, all of which can be seen in Tortuga Bay. For a particularly colorful meal, head to Playa Garrapatero in the north of the island. Here, behind a mangrove-covered sandy beach, is a freshwater lagoon where flamingos can be seen. You may also be lucky enough to spot herons and other birds. At least you can see slothful sea lions and frigatebirds as you stand on the dock waiting to board your boat.
There are many things to do on Santa Cruz Island. The activities range from education to recreation, active and more. The most educational thing to do in Santa Cruz is to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, a short walk from Puerto Ayora. Here you can learn about the conservation of the islands and there is also a turtle breeding program. You can also take a trip to Los Gemelos (The Twins) where you can visit and take pictures of two large lava craters. There is also a long lava tunnel that adventurers can walk through.
Tortuga Bay is a great place to relax. It is not far from the town of Puerto Ayora. The beach itself is simply stunning – a long stretch of white sand and crystal clear water. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon. For the more active, these waters also offer opportunities for swimming and kayaking. A visit to the fish market is also a sight to behold. You will also see sea lions and pelicans and try to steal fish from the stalls! If you have time, try to visit Black Turtle Cove as well. It can only be reached by boat, so it is a good place to observe marine life. In particular, you can see various rays, as well as white and black reef sharks, as well as sea turtles.
A stay on Santa Cruz Island can be a good Galapagos option because Galapagos Island cruises do not stop long on this island. Santa Cruz hotels are mostly located in Puerto Ayora and range from basic to luxurious. High-end resorts include Angermeyer Waterfront Inn, Hotel Silberstein, Finch Hotel, Galapagos Safari Camp and Red Mangrove Ecoluxury Hotel, among others. Some of the better hotels have pools where you can relax after bird or wildlife watching. Some expensive options can also be found in the highlands. Affordable housing is often a few blocks from the water. Regardless of your price range, you’ll find that Santa Cruz hotels offer something to suit your needs.
Galapagos Best Cruises
Santa Cruz has a number of restaurants, most of which are located in Puerto Ayora. These restaurants offer a variety of cuisines, including Ecuadorian and international cuisine. Vegan meals and vegan ice cream are also available. The most typical options are fish restaurants and pizzerias. La Garrapata is a popular tropical seafood restaurant, but they also serve non-seafood dishes such as chicken curry. Meanwhile, the I’ll Giardino restaurant offers seafood and Italian delicacies, including pasta and risotto. If you’re looking for street food, Los Kioskos offers good cheap and local seafood, and it’s cooked right in front of you. If you are looking for a break from seafood, Pizza Eat can be a good option and you can choose between regular pizza or calzones and other delicious dishes.
Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders is a leading travel company based in Ecuador and run by local guides and travel professionals, we are happy to provide expert and free no obligation travel planning advice. One destination, 13 islands, one unforgettable experience: an island-by-island guide to the Galapagos takes you on a whirlwind tour of spectacular sights and wildlife.
A trip to the Galapagos Islands is unlike any other adventure you will ever experience, and this magnificent destination is unlike any other you will ever visit. The world’s most famous wildlife destination – and definitely one of South America’s most beautiful – the Galapagos are captivating, inspiring and highly addictive. Visit once and the dream of visiting will stay with you forever.
A nature map of the Galapagos Islands can be found on page 44 of the Chimu Adventures Latin America brochure, photo: Chimu Adventures
Galapagos Islands Travel Guide In 2022: What To Know Before You Go
In total, the Galapagos cruises have 13 main islands and each one offers incredible attractions, many of which cannot be found anywhere else. We present nine of the most prominent islands in this guide. Each route usually includes stops at small uninhabited islands along the way, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities for hiking, swimming and wildlife viewing. You can find Galapagos wildlife on different islands, this map is from our Latin America brochure. Click here to order or download our Latin America brochure.
Below, we begin our virtual journey clockwise from Santa Cruz, the springboard for Galapagos cruises.
The gateway to the archipelago and the second largest island, Santa Cruz is the unofficial capital of the Galapagos and home to most of its inhabitants. It is home to around 12,000 people and has a healthy population of some of the island’s most famous wildlife species. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, dive in the amazing Las Grietas Tavern, hike the central highlands, admire the massive volcanic craters and twin peaks of Los Gemellos, all while watching giant tortoises do their thing in their natural habitat. Head to Tortuga Bay to see fierce-looking marine iguanas and colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs, and bring a snorkel mask to Garrapatero Beach, where you can freely play in crystal clear waters filled with waves of colorful fish. Santa Cruz is where you will meet your small cruise ship and also the island with the largest concentration of hotels if you choose a land adventure instead. Downtown Puerto Ayora has tons of restaurants, ATMs, and plenty of shops, so adding a few days here before joining the cruise is not only beneficial, it’s convenient.
San Cristóbal, the greenest of all the islands and Charles Darwin’s first landfall, is home to the official capital of the Galapagos (Puerto Baquerizo Moreno) and has an airport, naval base and government house. Considering the population of San Cristobal (about 6000)