Travel guide to Santa Cruz Island in Ecuador

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Swimming in Las Grietas on Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos, Ecuador
Swimming in Las Grietas on Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos, Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Santa Cruz Island is one of the most beautiful islands in Ecuador’s Galápagos National park. It has full reserves of natural resources. Whereas the island is best known for its astonishing sandy shorelines like El Garrapatero. The town of Puerto Ayora is the archipelago’s tourism centre. Santa Cruz is the largest as well as the most developed islands of Ecuador. Hence, Santa Cruz is the most vigorously populated island in the Galapagos.

How to reach the Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island is amongst the most easily accessible islands in the Galapagos. Santa Cruz is well connected by the Baltra Airport, where flights from mainland Ecuador arrive every day.

The terminal is situated on Baltra that lies over a little channel from Santa Cruz. Upon arrival in Baltra, all voyagers will be escorted by bus to a ferry which will take you to Santa Cruz Island.

The ferry will incur a small charge. It will hardly take around three minutes to reach the island by ferry but the entire process from the airport to the island would take around an hour or so.

Once you reach the shores of Santa Cruz Island, you can hire taxis to take you anywhere on the island. The capital of Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora is around a 45-minute drive from the ferry point.

Small Cruise Ship Under Fog, Santa Cruz Island, showing the volcanic geology common to all the islands
Small Cruise Ship Under Fog, Santa Cruz Island, showing the volcanic geology common to all the islands
Where to stay

According to the reviews of the earlier travellers of the Galapagos Islands, we have curated a list of some best places to stay:

1. Semilla Verde Boutique Hotel

This hotel is listed as one of the best places to stay due to its exceptional features like:

  • A pleasant environment which is quiet, lush and green
  • A nice walking trail to room or to explore the property
  • You may also be able to see roaming tortoises here
  • Lovely and comfortable accommodation
  • Professional and skilled staff with an excellent service
  • Helpful with travel itineraries
  • Wonderful food
2. Hotel Cucuve Suites

 Another beautiful stay which is also listed as one of the exciting places to stay with features like:

  • Beautiful ambience
  • Yummy food
  • Comfortable and luxury accommodation
3. Casa Opuntia – a holiday rental house

It’s just like being at your own place and not a hotel. The features are:

  • Offers a fully functional kitchen to cook at your own ease
  • Free internet
  • Ac rooms
  • Attached bathrooms
4. Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel

 If you want to have a luxury stay on the island then try this. It is the most luxurious and well-maintained hotel in the place. Hence it offers all the things you may demand or think of. The Features are:

  • A swimming area
  • Beautiful atmosphere
  • Wonderful service and staff
  • Helps arrange travels to other places
Things to do at the Santa Cruz Island

The things to do during your travel to the island are:

  • Wildlife watching
  • Scuba Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Surfing
People walking and waiting for the boats on the pier in Puerto Ayora in Santa cruz Island
People walking and waiting for the boats on the pier in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island
Places to visit
  • Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Tortuga Bay
  • South Plaza Island
  • Black Turtle Cove
  • Las Bachas
  • Playa El Garrapatero
  • German Beach
  • Rancho Primicias – Giant Tortoise Reserve
  • Isla Guy Fawkes
  • Visitor Center of Galapagos National Park
  • Nameless Island
  • Tunnel of Love
Must see animals of the Galapagos Islands
  • Giant Tortoise Breeding Centers
  • Penguins
  • Marine iguanas
  • Albatross
Tourist with a Galapagos Giant tortoise
Tourist with a Galapagos Giant tortoise

The Galapagos Islands can be visited throughout the year. Carry weather appropriate outfits in case of rains or extremely harsh sun.

Read more: Other islands in the Galapagos

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