Located in the center of the archipelago, Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos. The island’s capital, Puerto Ayora, is the largest populated center in the Galapagos and home to the majority of hotels, tourist centers and also the Charles Darwin Research Station. The island is a large dormant volcano with an amazingly varied climate and landscape from the coastal areas to the central highlands. From Santa Cruz you can witness the famous giant land tortoises, interesting volcanic formations and even sail to nearby islands to experience up close the rare and famed fauna of the Galapagos such as land and marine iguanas, boobies and frigate birds.

Highlights

  • Bartolome Island
  • North Seymour Island
  • South Plaza Island
  • Charles Darwin Station

 Things to do

Half day visit to Tortuga Bay with snorklin from Puerto Ayura Hotel

An easy hike from Puerto Ayora, the trail to Tortuga bay will delight with its unique and impressive cacti but the end reveal is the real winner… a beautiful long white sand beach with cyrstal clear turquoise waters! At the far end of the bay, there is a magrove lagoon full of wildlife and ideal for swimming and snorkeling. (Duration 1-2hrs, snorkeling equipment included)

Half day visit to Tortuga Bay with snorkling from high land hotel

An easy hike from Puerto Ayora, the trail to Tortuga bay will delight with its unique and impressive cacti but the end reveal is the real winner… a beautiful long white sand beach with cyrstal clear turquoise waters! At the far end of the bay, there is a magrove lagoon full of wildlife and ideal for swimming and snorkeling. (Duration 1-2hrs, snorkeling equilment included)

Half day visit to Cerro Mesa & Garrapatero beach

On the eastern side of the island and at an elevation of 490m, Cerro Mesa is the largest crater on Santa Cruz. On this private tour enjoy the spectacular views afforded by the crater and look for the unique endemic flora as well as several species of finches. Continue on to beautiful Garrapatero Beach which features a magnificent contrast of black lava, white sand and turquoise water along with a flamingo lagoon and plenty of birdlife. (Half-day, Private Activity, lunch included)

Full day visit to Giant tortoises and Charles Darwin with Safari

Experience the emblematic ‘mascot’ of the Galapagos islands on this private guided half-day tour through the verdant highlands of Santa Cruz islands. First visit interesting volcanic formations such as pit-craters and lava tunnels and learn about the island’s endemic forests and unique microclimates. Then be amazed by the giant land tortoises roam free in their natural habitat, observing these gentle creatures from a series of trails through the Primicias ranch area. (Full-day, Private Activity, lunch included at Safari Camp)

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Explore further travel tips for Isla Santa Cruz and our luxury travel destination Ecuador/Galapagos

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