Santa Cruz Island, located at the center of the Galapagos archipelago, is the most popular among tourists because of its proximity to the airport on Baltra.

I stayed there for my time in the Galapagos and did day tours to the others islands. It was the best option as I had only 5 days there but if you are thinking of spending more time I’d definitely recommend staying on the other islands as well, all of them have something special to offer.

7 Great Things to do in Santa Cruz, Galapagos

We decided to book Hotel Ninfa to have a bit of rest as this was our final stop after 5 weeks travelling through South America. The hotel was great and in walking distance of all restaurants, shops and activities in Puerto Ayora.

Hotel Ninfa

There a lot of things to do in Santa Cruz, but I put together 7 things to do that I loved!

1⃣ Explore Puerto Ayora

Puerto Ayora is the port town to Santa Cruz and much like the rest of the Galapagos has animals everywhere. Sea lions, sea birds, iguanas, all just around you! It’s so cool! You can just walk around, enjoy the crowds and eat delicious seafood.

Eating delicious seafood ????

2⃣ Visit the Fish Market

This is something that it’s fantastic to do, not because of the fish but because of the animals around the fish!

3⃣ Spend some time in Charles Darwin Research Station

In a walking distance of about 15 minutes from Puerto Ayora we found the Charles Darwin Research Station that provides insight into the evolution of flora and fauna. They also explain some of the  conservation programs and education within the Galapagos.

4⃣ Visit the Tortoise Breeding Center

In here the tortoises are raised in safety until they are big enough to be released into the wild.

5⃣ Spend an afternoon in El Chato reserve

Giant tortoises walk free in here and it’s amazing to see them right up close to you.

 6⃣ Lava Tunnels

These tunnels were formed when surface lava cooled and solidified, while the underground hot lava continued to flow resulting in the end in a cave.

Entrance to the caves
Some very low parts!!

7⃣ Tortuga Bay

The trail to Tortuga Bay was not easy! 2.5 Km to go, 2.5 Km to come back and on the way there 1 hour walking under high temperature, made me very grumpy ????!! But once there I had no words, the beach it’s so beautiful and there was no one else there which made it very special ????!

Have you visited the Galapagos? Tell me all about it in the comments below.

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Tags : charles darwin centerEcuadorGalapagospuerto ayorasanta cruz islandSea lionssouth americaturtles


  1. We have 4 days on Santa Cruz island in February, we think,we will do most of your suggestions above as we are booked in Ayora but which island would you visit for a day,which is economic and most wild like,eco to offer …not just beaches,any travel agent to recommend also did you take a bus or hire a Cab to get to Toruga bay and laval….thanks

    1. Hi,
      We had about 5 days and it was enough. To visit for a day I went to Isabella and San Cristobal. I would say definitely don’t miss Isabella were lots of sea lions and giant iguanas wonder around the bay. The prices are about the same, I went by boat but the trip is quite rough, if you can get a small plane in between islands just for a day trip. The travel agents in Santa Cruz have all the same offers so it’s up to you. We took a cab in Santa Cruz to see the giant turtles and to Tortuga Bay it’s only a walking path but it’s a nice one. Hope this helps! Amalia

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