Travel Guide to San Cristobal Island, Ecuador

Easternmost and geologically the oldest, San Cristobal Island is the best travel destination to encounter wildlife biodiversity. It is an energetic island with a serene and calm environment. San Cristobal Island is a part of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador and is reckoned for its natural beauty. Incredible wildlife, adorable nature, dazzling sunsets, and a serene atmosphere add to the allure of San Cristobal Island. Amongst the other islands in Ecuador, San Cristobal Island receives global visitors for all seasons around the year.

History of San Cristobal Island

Historically speaking, San Cristobal Island is the result of the fusion of 3-4 volcanoes. However, none of the volcanoes is now in an active state. It glorifies its significance as one of the oldest permanent island settlements. Darwin was the first one ashore the San Cristobal Island in the year 1835.

Interestingly, this island is home to only one freshwater lake namely El Junco. It is this freshwater lake that plays a significant role in the first settlement on San Cristobal Island. The prisoners of mainland Ecuador were brought up in the penal colony built on San Cristobal Island in the year 1880. As time passed, the penal colony transformed into an Ecuador military base. Today, it also functions as an export centre for sugar, fish, coffee, lime, cassava, and cattle.

What is San Cristobal Island known for?
Blue-footed boobies (Sula nebouxii) hunting in a swarm, San Cristobal island in Galapagos Islands
A rare shot of blue-footed boobies (Sula nebouxii) hunting in a swarm, Galapagos Islands

San Cristobal Island is reckoned for its natural beauty and the wildlife biodiversity. This Island is the only destination in the world which harbours three different species of booby birds and the frigatebird. So if you wish to gaze at the beauty of booby and frigatebirds, then get going to San Cristobal Island where these birds are prone to nest.

How to go to San Cristobal Islands?

Travelling to San Cristobal Islands independently is safe. This is one of the perfect islands in Ecuador if you are planning to visit an island individually. If you have ample time, then explore its beauty at your leisure with the help of a local guide, if required.

Magnificent frigatebird, San cristobal island, Galapagos ,Ecuador
Magnificent frigatebird, Galapagos Islands

If we talk from the point of view of mainland Ecuador, getting to San Cristobal Island is very convenient. The new airport on the island greets flights both from Quito and Guayaquil. The cost of flights may vary as per the place of boarding and the ticket booking time. However, it may not cost you more than $400-600 on a return ticket. Remember to book a return ticket unless you have an alternative way to return. Once you book your return ticket, date change is not a big concern. You may change the date of your onward journey as and when you wish to do so.

Additionally, before marching ahead to the Galapagos island, you will need to buy a Visa. You can collect your Galapagos Visa from the airport at a marginal cost of $10. Indian passport holders can get a Visa on Arrival in Ecuador for up to 90 days. Check your Ecuador visa requirements for different countries here.

Upon arrival at the Galapagos, you will need to bear the park entry fee which costs about $100 per head. Getting to your final destination of San Cristobal Island is comparatively more comfortable with ample taxis waiting to board their passengers.

Where to stay at San Cristobal Island?

The San Cristobal Islands has plenty of accommodation options. Accommodation can be found at ease at its mainland Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The accommodation charges vary as per the rooms you choose. At the minimal rate of about $40, you might get a double bed with en-suite and AC facility for a night’s stay. Almost all of the residential hotels and motels are privately owned.

Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido--Sleeping Lion) off of San Cristobal Island
Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido–Sleeping Lion), San Cristobal Island
Things to do at San Cristobal Island

If you have hired an island travel guide, his travel itinerary will first highlight the San Cristobal Islands delicacies and cuisines worth sampling. Later, you may plan your visit to the Frigatebird hill which is a common name for the panoramic view of Shipwreck Bay and Leon Dormido. You may excite yourself with the gaze of sea lions, lagoons, giant tortoises, bays and kicker rocks. Island-hopping is the favourite activity of global tourists visiting San Cristobal Island.

Read more: The other Islands in Ecuador

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