Santa Cruz Essential Journey
Hotels: Comfort / Angermeyer Waterfront Inn
Activities: Wildlife interaction, walking, snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing on the beach.
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos. Its name means “Holy Cross” in Spanish. It has a long history of human settlement, especially in the 20th century between WWI and WWII when Europeans moved to the area. It has a rich agriculture, with crops such as coffee, sugarcane, bananas, oranges, avocados and lemons.
It´s considered the main stop for all tourism in Galapagos. Home of the Charles Darwin Research Station with its interpretative trail and tortoise breeding center. It also has one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in Galapagos: Tortuga Bay.
Click here to learn about the most compelling reasons to choose a Galapagos land-based tour.
- Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about the conservation efforts in place to preserve the Giant Tortoises of the Galapagos.
- Visit a chocolate factory and local art galleries.
- Visit the Santa Cruz highlands and enjoy lunch at a local ranch.
- Walk among giant tortoises in their natural habitat.
- Snorkel and observe wildlife at the beautiful Punta Estrada.
DAY 1: Visit Tortuga Bay and local work shops
One of the most famous beaches of Galapagos is Tortuga Bay, we walk on a beautiful trail for around and hour to get to this pristine white sand beach. The dry forest is full of iguanas, finches, mockingbirds, and endemic cacti. The beach itself is a gorgeous place for us to relax and enjoy the view. We may take a water taxi to go back to town.
In the afternoon, we’ll walk along the main street of Puerto Ayora exploring local picturesque artisan shops and discovering a chocolate factory. Some create very interesting pieces out of recycled materials! (B, L)
DAY 2: Foody experience, farming in the highlands and giant tortoises
We’ll drive a short distance to the biggest agricultural area of Galapagos: the highlands of Santa Cruz. Our first stop is a local shop where we will find all sorts of local crops and even make our own “corviche”, another delicacy of the Ecuadorian cuisine. Then we will visit a family project where tourism and agriculture join together in a unique environment. Participate in local farming and have a great lunch while learning the way of life of Galapagos highlanders.
After lunch we walk among Giant Tortoise in their natural habitat. We’ll see them take mud baths in the ponds and interact among each other. (B, L)
OPTIONAL DAY/NIGHT EXTENSION:
DAY 3: Swim and Snorkel at Punta Estrada – Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
Enjoy a delicious healthy breakfast and get ready for a great day of snorkeling and swimming in Punta Estrada. This is a perfect habitat for sea turtles and Marbled Rays, you may also spot sea cucumbers and sand dollars.
After lunch we’ll visit the famous Charles Darwin Research Station. We visit the Galapagos National Park headquarters and the place where the famous “Lonesome George” lived for more than 40 years. The interpretative trail of the CDS takes you through the life cycle and natural history of these incredible reptiles. You’ll see representatives of the 11 sub-species living in the islands. Observe the unique land iguanas living in this Research and Breeding Center and learn about conservation efforts to keep their population thriving. (B, L)