The Galapagos islands consist of multiple islands, but the main island, which all tourists eventually visit, is the island Santa Cruz. It is near the island Baltra’s airport (the biggest airport of the archipelago) and is one of the four islands where you can stay for the night. The place you will be staying on Santa Cruz is Puerto Ayora. This is the economical capital of the Galapagos Islands. Many cruises start in Puerto Ayora. There are multiple locations to stay the night. There are plenty of restaurants and shops, and it’s the only island with an ATM. Santa Cruz is a beautiful volcanic island with great landscapes and a great variety of vegetation. What are the best things to do at Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands?
What are the 5 best things to do when visiting Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands?
1. Tortuga Bay
It is absolutely one of the best things to do at Santa Cruz at the Galapagos Islands to visit Tortuga Bay! This is a beautiful white sand beach just outside of Puerto Ayora. It got its name from the sea turtles who lay their eggs here. It’s a hike of 2.5 kilometers and impossible to reach with a taxi or by bicycle. It’s a fun hike through a sort of mangrove and cactus forest. Usually you can’t swim at Tortuga Bay, because the currents are too strong. It is a great place for surfing though. But when you arrive at the beach and take a left turn, you will reach a beautiful cove, with an idyllic little beach. Perfect for swimming and it’s never crowded. The short walk here from Tortuga Bay is amazingly beautiful, because there are iguanas everywhere. It really is a small virtually undiscovered paradise!
2. Las Grietas
Las Grietas is amazingly beautiful, but also a hike distance away. You can take a taxi boat from the harbor in Puerto Ayora where you ask to go to Las Grietas. For just one dollar you will be dropped off a little further at the Finch Bay Hotel, it’s only a 15 minute walk from there. Again a super fun hike passing a salt lake this time and again through a cactus forest. You can swim and do snorkeling at Las Grietas in a combined fresh/salt water lake situated between rocks. So don’t forget to rent a snorkel when coming here!
3. Turtle Reserve – El Chato Tortoise Reserve
Huge turtles live in the wild in this reserve. They walk around everywhere on the ranch and it’s super cool to see! For me, these turtles were the reason to go to the Galapagos Islands. The turtles are absolutely huge and old and they can reach over 150 years of age. The employees will tell you interesting stories about the turtles. Next, you get to wander around by yourself and this is absolutely a cool experience. After an hour visiting you will have definitely fallen in love with these beautiful animals!
4. Charles Darwin research center
The Charles Darwin research center lies in Puerto Ayora. This organization keeps an eye on the preservation of the natural character of the island group. Various volunteers and biologists cooperate to preserve the Galapagos Islands and its remarkable animal species. They have a breeding program for turtles in their natural habitat, amongst others. Over 60 turtles are living here, who, at a later time, will be released again on the islands in their natural habitat. In the information center you can see with your own eyes how nature evolved on the Galapagos Islands and how it keeps evolving. In here you will learn how Charles Darwin used this information to develop his evolution theory. Super interesting to visit!
5. Red Mangrove Galapagos
The best hotel for a stay in Puerto Ayora is the Red Mangrove Hotel. This hotel is situated at a unique location, namely in the center of a mangrove forest on the edge of Puerto Ayora. Here you’ll have breakfast among dozens of iguanas while the seagulls leave the water to join you. So extraordinary and only possible on the Galapagos Islands! This, by the way, is also a top location for a cup of coffee and/or dinner.
- Not what you are looking for? Find here more great places to stay at Santa Cruz!
These are the best things to do at Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands! What do you think are the best things to do at Santa Cruz, Galapagos?
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