What can you do
in the Galapagos Islands?

What can you do in the Galapagos Islands?

hostal para familias maytenus galapagos
Autor: Maridav/Shutterstock.com

Surely you want or are wanting to go to the Colón archipelago, and you are wondering what can be done in the Galapagos Islands? There are three ways in which you can get to know the archipelago:

The first one is by means of a navigable cruise . This type of tourism offers its service on a boat, the same that offers you from breakfast to excursions accompanied by a tour guide to different places in the archipelago. There are several boats and travel agencies that offer this service.

The second is to contract predesigned tour packages through an agency travel. These packages usually include lodging, visit to tourist sites accompanied by tourist guides, food, among others. Unlike the navigable cruise, the costs are much lower and the visiting sites are mostly on the mainland.

And the third way is putting together your own itinerary visiting Tourist places. In this way you can visit both free places and places where you will need the presence of a tour guide (but at a cost). If you are an adventurous person who likes to discover places on their own without schedules and without anyone rushing you too much, this option is ideal for you. Unlike a navigable cruise and tour packages, here you can choose the tourist places you want to visit at your convenience. Still, we recommend that you book a hotel, hostel or some lodging placebefore your trip , since this will make it much easier when you want to build your own itinerary.

In this article we will tell you about some of the most emblematic places that you could visit for FREE on Santa Cruz island (Galapagos)

Why Santa Cruz Island?

It is worth mentioning that all the islands of the archipelago have their charm, but over time, Santa Cruz Island has become a strategic place for tourists when they want to know the Galapagos. This is because the island is located in the middle of the archipelago, a location that makes it attractive and strategic in relation to costs and mobilization times to other islands.

Travel route to Santa Cruz - Puerto Ayora

If you choose to travel to Santa Cruz Island, here is a small guide of the route that you would have to follow to get to Puerto Ayora, central place on the island which you can take as a starting point to find restaurants, tours, among other things:

Mapa de la isal Santa Cruz en Galapagos
Autor: Maytenus Galapagos

1. At the departure airport to the Galapagos you must go to the counter of the Galapagos Governing Council and buy the Traffic Control Card (it is compulsory for all tourists). Then you will have to pass the filter of the Biosecurity Agency for Galapagos where they will check that you do not transfer organisms they are not allowed towards the islands. After this review you can go to the counter of the airline you are traveling on.

2. As we advise you previously, we recommend that you make a prior reservation at some accommodation site, if this is your case , the Galapagos Governing Council will request your accommodation reservation (document) that you have chosen on the island.

3. When you arrive at the Santa Cruz airport located on the Baltra island, after passing the corresponding filters and doing the payment for admission to the protected areas of Galapagos, you must collect your luggage and then take a bus that will take you to the "Canal de Itabaca" in a time approx. 5 minutes (this bus has a cost) Once you have reached the "Canal de Itabaca" you will have to take a barge (it has a cost) for approx. 5 minutes to reach Santa Cruz Island.

4. When you have landed in Santa Cruz, you will have 2 options to get to Puerto Ayora. The first option will be through a bus that will take you in approx. 40 minutes to the port, and the second option will be through a taxi (double cabin van) at a cost greater than the bus.

And so you will have reached Puerto Ayora, the starting point for your visits. This route is referential and has always been managed to get from the Santa Cruz airport to Puerto Ayora. Still, we hope it gives you an idea and helps you plan your trip better.

Iconic places to visit in Galapagos

If you choose to travel to Santa Cruz Island, here is a small guide of the route that you would have to follow to get to Puerto Ayora, central place on the island which you can take as a starting point to find restaurants, tours, among other things:

Fausto Llerena Breeding Center

Centro de Crianza Fausto Llerena
Autor: toennis.1/Shutterstock.com

In this center you will be able to observe turtles coming from many islands of the archipelago. These turtles comply with the captive breeding program, to later be able to repopulate the areas affected in the past, either by the introduced species or by the presence of pirates, whalers and the first settlers of the islands. 

If you want to know more about the Fausto Llerena breeding center, visit: Fausto Llerena breeding center.

Station Beach

Autor: Maytenus Galapagos

This is a beautiful beach not so visible to the public but very visited by tourists and locals. It is located near the facilities of the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Scientific Foundation, in fact it is a good place to go after visiting the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center. 

If you want to know more about this incredible beach, visit: Station Beach.

The Cracks

las grietas
Autor: Maytenus Galapagos

This magical place is located west of Santa Cruz Island. It is an ideal place to snorkel and be able to cross underwater crevices. Likewise, the path that leads to these crevices is also ideal for observing migratory and coastal birds.

If you want to know more about the cracks, visit: The Cracks.

Nymphs Lagoon

laguna de las ninfas santa cruz galapagos
Autor: RPBaiao/Shutterstock.com

Las Ninfas is a lagoon that is near the boardwalk of Puerto Ayora. It is an ideal place to visit for a short and quiet walk. 

If you want to know more about this great lagoon, visit: Nymphs Lagoon.

The Twins

los gemelos
Autor: RPBaiao/Shutterstock.com

The Twins are two craters formed by the collapse of surface materials into underground chambers. They are located in the upper part of Santa Cruz Island, near the Santa Rosa Parish, on the lateral sides of the road that leads to Baltra Island. 

If you want to know more about the Twins, visit: The Twins.

El Garrapatero

el garrapatero
Autor: Maytenus Galapagos

This visiting site is ideal for visitors who choose a quiet day in contact with nature. It is located on the southeast coast of Santa Cruz Island.

If you want to know more about El Garrapatero beach, visit: El Garrapatero.

Tortuga Bay Beach

tortuga bay santa cruz
Autor: sunsinger/Shutterstock.com

Bahía Tortuga or Tortuga Bay as the locals call it all the time, is an incredible beach that is 2.5 km from Baltra Avenue. This beach is divided into two inlets: Playa Brava and Playa Mansa.

If you want to see more photos and learn more about one of the most famous beaches in the Galapagos, visit: Tortuga Bay Beach.


To add more things to your adventure, you can choose the following tourism options but with their respective cost (prices are referential and may be subject to change)

You can take a “</span Tour of Bahia” for an approximate cost of US $ 30 - 35 per person. In this type of tour you visit some sites in the bay of Puerto Ayora, such as: La Lobería, La Playa los Perros, El Canal del Amor or Las Grietas. You do it in the company of a tour guide for approximately 4 hours.

You can also take the ones called «Daily tour» . In this type of tour, you start your visits very early, you go to a place outside of Santa Cruz, you make the respective visit and in the afternoon you return to Puerto Ayora. Keep in mind that this type of tour is always by water, that is, you will always have to move by boat. Likewise, it is worth mentioning that these have varied costs depending on the place you want to know. Here are some of the places you could visit with this type of tour:

Uninhabited islands: Bartolomé (highly recommended), Islas Plazas, North Seymour, Santa Fe. Inhabited islands: Isabela and San Cristóbal. There is a daily tour that is only for snorkeling (it is incredible) you can visit places like Daphne Island, Pinzón Island, among others.

In Puerto Ayora there are different travel agencies with which you can personally contract these tours, The approximate cost of daily tours to the inhabited islands is between $120 to 150 per person, at islands NOT inhabited is between US $ 140 and US$ 180 per person, depending on the destination; Includes round trip transportation, naturalist guide, snorkeling equipment and food.

On the other hand and with entry price, you can also visit other places in Santa Cruz such as: Reserva El Chato to see natural land turtles and cross lava tunnels; and Cerro Mesa to dazzle you with its landscape. It's important to mention that due to their remoteness, a good way to access these sites is by taxi (taxis are double cab trucks here), the approximate cost of the tour is US $ 40 - 45.

Now that you know what can be done in the Galapagos Islands, put together your trip and venture into a unique world.

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