San Cristobal Essential Journey
Hotels: Casa Opuntia / Golden Bay
Activities: Walking, snorkeling, birdwatching, wildlife observation, community interaction, coffee and local fruit tasting.
The fifth largest and easternmost island in the Galapagos, San Cristobal is the result of three or possibly four extinct fused volcanoes.
This is the island where Darwin first set foot and home to the oldest human settlement in the archipelago.
El Junco, a small freshwater lake near the top of the island, made this first settlement possible.
The northeast part of the island offers amazing snorkel sites where sea lions, tropical fish, Galapagos sharks, eagle rays, sea turtles and abundant marine life is often spotted.
Click here to learn about the most compelling reasons to choose a Galapagos land-based tour.
- Visit “El Junco”, one of the only freshwater lakes in Galapagos.
- Walk among giant tortoises in their natural habitat.
- Visit exotic organic fruit trails alongside the local farmers.
- Enjoy a delicious coffee tasting from an award-winning grain.
- Walk trails of panoramic views and observe a large marine bird sanctuary.
- Snorkel with sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas and tropical fish.
DAY 1: Learn about natural and human history and snorkel with sea turtles and sea lions.
Start your adventure at the beautiful beach of “Lobería”, home to a healthy colony of sea lions. Practice your snorkeling skills and delight in the proximity of sea turtles swimming next to you. If you feel energetic enough don´t miss the hike to the “Las Negritas” cliff for some unique marine bird and iguana spotting along the trail.
In the afternoon we visit the interpretation center and learn about the unique natural and human history of the Galapagos.
On our way back we stop for a refreshing snorkel and swim at Punta Carola or Playa Mann, where we swim with sea turtles and sea lions and take in the spectacular Galapagos sunset. (L)
DAY 2: Community and Wildlife – Visit one of the only freshwater lakes in Galapagos, a local farm with exotic fruit crops, taste award-winning coffee.
Today we visit “El Junco”, the only permanent freshwater lakes in the Galapagos. This crater lake is home to frigate birds, common gallinules, white-cheeked pintail ducks and more. With some luck we’ll witness the unique ritual of frigate birds washing the salt from their feathers in the lake’s fresh water.
After a short drive we stop at a wonderful breeding center where tortoises roam free. We walk for an hour among these wild giant tortoises and learn about conservation efforts to preserve these endangered, endemic species.
We continue to Hacienda Tranquila where we stop for lunch. This is a fantastic opportunity to share in the local lifestyle of the Galapagos Highlands. We´ll walk through native fruit trails and taste oranges, passion fruit, guavas, Pomarrosa (rose apple), ovos and other exotic varieties. We can help feed the farm animals and learn about coffee harvesting methods.
We spend the afternoon there and catch a beautiful sunset behind Kicker Rock from the viewpoint. Giant swing optional! (B, L)
OPTIONAL DAY/NIGHT EXTENSION:
DAY 3: Walk to observe a marine bird sanctuary and snorkel with sea lions and tropical fish.
After breakfast we take a speed boat to Isla Lobos, here we walk around the islet to a marine bird sanctuary, spotting the famous frigates with their colorful red pouch, blue footed boobies, great blue herons, lava gulls, lava herons, whimbrels and ruddy turnstones.
We go back to our boat and put our gear to snorkel with sea lions, marine iguanas, tropical fish, sea turtles, octopus and more. We continue on to Playa Ochoa for a relaxed afternoon swimming and enjoying the beach. (B, L)