Isla Santa Cruz Travel Guide

  • The trail to Tortuga Bay
    The trail to Tortuga Bay
    by MalenaN
  • Galapagos Flycatcher
    Galapagos Flycatcher
    by MalenaN
  • Sally Lightfoot Crabs
    Sally Lightfoot Crabs
    by MalenaN

Isla Santa Cruz Things to Do

  • Lava Tunnel near Rancho Primicias

    Not far from Rancho Primicias there is a large lava tunnel, so before cycling back to Puerto Ayora I made a stop and walked to the end of the tunnel. Outside a few workers were constructing a staircase and inside the tunnel I met two other persons, otherwise it was empty. There is electrical light along the tunnel and afterwards I must say that it...

    more
  • Santa Cruz Highlands, Hacienda Mariposa

    The vegetation in the highlands is very different to the coast. It is wetter, with green pastures and forests. There are many places of interest to visit in the Santa Cruz Highlands, like the Lava Tunnels, Los Gemelos, Cerro Crocker and El Chato Tortoise Reserve. The only place In Santa Cruz Highlands that I visited in 2011 was Hacienda Mariposa, a...

    more
  • Puerto Ayora

    With around 15 000 inhabitants Puerto Ayora is the largest town in the Galapagos Islands, and it is also the tourism centre. There are many hotels in all categories here, but they are more expensive compared to the mainland. Especially along Avenida Charles Darwin you will find hotels, as well as restaurants and souvenir shops. There are also some...

    more
  • Charles Darwin Research Station

    Charles Darwin Research Station is situated in the outskirts of Puerto Ayora, at the east end of Avenida Charles Darwin. It was established in 1964 and it is the headquarters of the Charles Darwin Foundation. Here more than 100 scientists, students and volunteers are working with research and conservation projects to protect the Galapagos ecosystem...

    more
  • Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill)

    After breakfast on the 6th day of the cruise with Cachalote (2011) we visited Cerro Dragon on Isla Santa Cruz. The sun was shining and it was a lovely day. As we approached the landing point with the panga we saw some Blue-footed Boobies standing on the rocks. It was a dry landing, and then we walked the short path to the beach, a lovely white...

    more
  • Black Turtle Cove (Caleta Tortuga Negra)

    Before going to the airport on the last day of the cruise with Cachalote (2011) we visited Black Turtle Cove very early in the morning, even before breakfast. The sun was just rising and the light was beautiful . It was a very calm and peaceful morning.Black Turtle Cove is a shallow inlet surrounded by mangrove vegetation, situated on the north...

    more
  • Tortuga Bay (Turtle Bay)

    At Tortuga Bay there is a beautiful long white sandy beach (Playa Brava). There are strong currents in the sea so this beach is not for swimming, but some people are surfing, kayaking and sunbathing. If you want to swim there is a smaller protected beach (Playa Mansa) in the end of Tortuga Bay. At Tortuga Bay you will probably see Marine Iguanas...

    more
  • Wildlife at Tortuga Bay

    You don’t need to go on an expensive cruise or daytrip to see wildlife in the Galapagos Islands. A nice and easy thing to do is to walk the trail to Tortuga Bay and walk along the beach till the end of the path. You will for sure see lots of birds and marine iguanas. I have talked to people who, when they went to Tortuga Bay, only walked the trail...

    more
  • Las Grietas, Puerto Ayora

    Las Grietas is a long fissure in the lava rock. Here freshwater filtered down from the highlands meet salty water entering from the sea, making the water in the ravine brackish. It is a very nice place for swimming and snorkelling. The water is very clear, but can be a bit cold. Some people dive or make somersaults from the high cliffs. When you...

    more
  • Galapagos Giant Tortoise

    The Galapagos Giant TortoiseThe Galapagos Giant Tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus) is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. There are eleven different subspecies, but there have been at least 14. Some tortoises can be very big, up to 150cm in length and with a weigh of 250kg, but it is not until they are around 40 years that they are fully grown. I...

    more
  • El Mirador de los Túneles

    When I was on my way back to Puerto Ayora after one of the daytrips on bicycle I noticed a signboard along the road, not far from the town. It was a signboard for El Mirador de los Tuúneles and the trail was not very long, so I decided to have a look. There are many lava tunnels on Isla Santa Cruz. This is not one of the larger ones which you can...

    more
  • Darwin Finches

    There are 13 species of Darwin Finches in Galapagos Islands, and they are all endemic. The Finches are famous because the role they played in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution . When Charles Darwin visited Galapagos Islands in 1835 during his voyage with the Beagle he didn’t pay much attention to the finches, but more to the Mockingbirds which...

    more
  • Smooth-billed Ani

    The Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) is an introduced bird to the Galapagos Islands. It occurs in the highlands of Floreana, Isla Santa Cruz, Santiago and Isla Isabela and it can often be seen in open and semi-open landscapes.The Smooth-billed Ani belongs to the cuckoo family. It is around 35cm long and it has a black plumage and a big black...

    more
  • Whimbrel

    The Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) is common in Galapagos Islands, but it is a migrant bird that prefers breading in the colder northern climates of North America, Europe and Asia. In the Galapagos it can often be found along sandy beaches, by lagoons and tidal pools.The Whimbrel is a large wader with a long curved bill. The females have a longer...

    more
  • Galapagos Sea Lion

    The Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus wollebaeki) is an endemic subspecies. It is common, and there is a population of about 50 000 Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands. They can be seen in many places near the shores, on beaches, on the rocks or even in the towns (for example on a porch in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and at the Fish Market in...

    more
  • Galapagos Barn Owl

    The Barn Owl on Galapagos Islands is an endemic subspecies, Tyto alba punctatissima. It is quite uncommon and there are around 9000 Barn Owls on the islands. They occur both in the lowlands and in the highlands and can be found on Isla Santa Cruz, Isla San Cristóbal, Isla Isabela and Isla Fernandina.The Barn Owls have a characteristic hart-shaped...

    more
  • Black-necked Stilt

    The Black-neck Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) is a graceful wader which can be seen in shallow pools of saline water or freshwater. It can be found on several of the Galapagos islands, in the lowlands near the coasts. The Black-necked stilt is also found in many other parts of America, from California and Florida in the north to Peru in the south.The...

    more
  • White-cheeked Pintail

    On Galapagos Islands you will find an endemic subspecies of the White-cheeked Pintail, also called Galapagos Pintail (Ana bahamensis galapagensis). It is quite common and it can be found both in highland pools and lowland lagoons and mangrove swamps. The White-cheeked Pintail is a medium sized duck that becomes around 46 cm long. It has mainly got...

    more
  • Sally Lightfoot Crab

    The beautiful Sally Lightfoot crabs (Grapsus grapsus) can be seen all over the shores of the Galapagos Islands. With its bright orange colour it stands out from the black lava rocks where you often see them. The young ones are dark in colour though, and this make them well camouflaged on the rocks. The adult crabs can be as big as 20cm. Sally...

    more
  • Diving Experience in Galapagos, Puerto...

    I found interesting information on the site galapagospacificdiving.com, I contacted the agency and the experience was very pleasant, punctual departures, excellent weather accompanied us and we could see many animals, especially the work of the dive master was great, it was noted much responsibility in handling and safety equipment, I think we got...

    more
  • Charles Darwin Research Centre

    The Charles Darwin Research Centre was set up in 1960 in order to promote research, conservation, and education in the archipelago. A visit here is included in just about every cruise, and it was the first place we visited on Santa Cruz, having transferred directly to the centre’s own jetty in the pangas straight after breakfast.Fabian gave us a...

    more
  • Puerto Ayora

    Puerto Ayora is situated on Academy Bay, on the south coast of Santa Cruz, and is the most populous town in the Galápagos Islands, with over 12,000 inhabitants. When we walked into town from the Charles Darwin Research Centre it was the first time for five days that we had walked on pavements, or been among more than twenty other people! But you...

    more
  • Tortoises in the Santa Cruz Highlands

    On the afternoon of our day on Santa Cruz we took the pangas across the small bay to the harbour pier and from there boarded a small bus, driven by one of the Angelito’s owners, for our journey into the highlands. It was great to have this unexpected opportunity to pass on our appreciation of the boat and crew to one of the owners. Until recently...

    more
  • Exploring a lava tunnel

    A short drive from the Giant Tortoise reserve is one of a number of lava tunnels that can be found here in the highlands of Santa Cruz. These tunnels or tubes are formed when the exterior portion of a pahoehoe lava flow cools and hardens while the hotter interior lava continues to flow. Eventually the lava flow diminishes and there is not enough...

    more

Isla Santa Cruz Transportation

  • Cycling

    When I visited Galapagos Islands in June/July 2013 I rented a bike three days. It was $10 for half a day and $15 for a full day. One day I cycled to Media Luna and walked to Puntudo, another day I cycled to Los Gemelos (over 20km from Puerto Ayora) and Rancho Primicias, and another day I cycled to El Garrapatero.In Puerto Ayora there are bicycle...

    more
  • Speedboat between Puerto Ayora and San...

    On my previous visit to Galapagos Islands I had heard it was good to purchase the tickets for the speedboats one day ahead of departure. Therefore I had planned to stay in Puerto Ayora one night after the cruise before going to San Cristóbal. I changed my plans and hoped there would be a ticket available on the same day I had arrived back to Isla...

    more
  • Daytrip to Floreana

    When I was in Puerto Ayora in 2013 I decided to take a day tour to Floreana. I had visited Florean two years previous, but then the visitor sites Cormorant Point and Post Office Bay while on a cruise. The day trips are not allowed to go there but go to Puerto Velasco Ibarra and the highlands, and some time for snorkeling is also included. In Puerto...

    more

Isla Santa Cruz Warnings and Dangers

  • Yellow Paper Wasp

    The Yellow Paper Wasp is an introduced wasp to Galapagos Islands. It was first recorded in 1988 and has since then become widespread, especially in coastal areas.They are a real nuisance, they compete for food with the finches and they can sting humans. I have heard that there can be swarms of wasps at some places occasionally, and visitors can be...

    more
  • DONT SWIM HERE..LOTS OF SHARKS AND RAYS

    I noticed that when I was standing by the waters edge how clear the water was. Also I noticed the huge amount of rays right by the waters edge...hundreds of them and not only that so many sharks zipping in and out close by the waters edge,..I wasn't sure if their were schools of small fish in the shallows that was promoting this exhibition , BUT, I...

    more
  • Isla Santa Cruz Hotels

    0 Hotels in Isla Santa Cruz

Isla Santa Cruz Sports & Outdoors

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    The trail to Tortuga Bay 4 more images

    by MalenaN Written Mar 30, 2014

    When I was in Puerto Ayora in 2013 I went jogging along the trail to Tortuga Bay twice, or three times. I went jogging early in the morning before breakfast and at that time there were many other people out jogging along that trail as well. The trail is paved and it is 2.5 km long. Reaching the beach at Tortuga Bay you can either continue for a longer jog along the beach or turn around, as I did, and follow the same trail back.

    In the beginning of the trail you must register (it opens at 6am) and you must also sign out when you return. I didn’t have the copy of my passport number with me when jogging, but it was already I the book since I had visited for a walk the afternoon before.

    When I visited Puerto Ayora in 2013 I noticed that the vegetation along the trail was drier then when I had visited two years earlier, even if it was the same time of the year, June/July. There had probably been less rain that year.

    Coming back to Puerto Ayora after a cruise and a visit to Isla San Cristobal I had planned to do some more jogging here, but unfortunately I had got a fever by then.

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Isla Santa Cruz Favorites

  • Great Egret

    The Great Egret (Ardea alba) can be found in many places around the world. In Galapagos Islands it is a resident and it can be seen on all major islands especially in coastal regions near lagoons. But sometimes it can also be seen in open areas in the highlands.The Great Egret is a large bird with an all white plumage. The neck is long, the bill is...

    more
  • Lava Lizards

    Lava Lizards are endemic to the Galapagos Islands and there are seven different species. The Galapagos Lava Lizard (Microlophus Albemarlensis) can be seen on several islands, and then there are the Española Lava Lizard, Floreana Lava Lizard, Marchena Lava Lizard, Pinta Lava Lizard, Pinzón Lava Lizard and the San Cristóbal Lava Lizard. There is...

    more
  • Galapagos Flycatcher

    The Galapagos Flycatcher (Myiarchus magnirostris) is also called Large-billed Flycatcher. It can be seen on most islands, but not on the northern islands of Genovesa, Darwin and Wolf. The Galapagos Flycatcher is a common bird in the dry forests and shrub lands of the lowlands. It often comes close to humans. It is a cute little bird, about 16cm...

    more

Instant Answers: Isla Santa Cruz

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

87 travelers online now

Comments

 
Explore Deeper into Isla Santa Cruz
Ruddy Turnstone
Favorites
Lava Gull
Favorites
Mocking Birds
Favorites
Yellow Warbler
Favorites
Ghost Crab
Favorites
Galapagos Dove
Favorites
Speedboat between Puerto Ayora and Puerto Villamil
Transportation
From Baltra Airport to Puerto Ayora
Transportation
Black Turtle Cove
Things to Do
Land Iguanas
Things to Do
Marine Iguanas
Things to Do
Cattle Egret
Things to Do
Blue-footed Booby
Things to Do
Sanderling
Things to Do
Semipalmated Plover
Things to Do
Galapagos Flightless Grasshopper
Things to Do
Short-eared Owl
Things to Do
Brown Pelican
Things to Do
ALWAYS CARRY SUNSCREEN AND INSECT REPELLANT
Things to Do
Great Blue Heron
Things to Do
Los Gemelos/ The twins
Things to Do
Lava tunnels/ Los Tuneles
Things to Do
Galapagos National Park/Charles Darwin Center
Things to Do
Tortuga Bay
Things to Do
Rancho Primisias
Things to Do
Map of Isla Santa Cruz

View all Isla Santa Cruz hotels