Santa Cruz has an incredible array of ecosystems so there is a lot to see including tidal lagoons, ponds, lava flows, cactus forests, cloud forests, beaches, mangroves and cliffs and it is home to varied wildlife and endemic species. Puerto Ayora, the island's administrative centre, is a bustling and lively town.
Visitor sites on this island include: Puerto Ayora - shops, hotels, guest houses and the Charles Darwin Research Station, with giant tortoises in captivity and interesting background information on the issues affecting the Galapagos. There are also several dive centres in the town. The Highlands - gives an insight into the life of the local human residents. The road across the island to the Baltra ferry passes through various vegetation zones and giant tortoises can often be seen in the wild (best October to May). Caleta Tortuga Negra - a mangrove-lined inlet on the northern coast offers an extraordinary tranquil view of turtles, rays and small sharks. Bachas Beach - a lovely beach with thick white sand and two small lagoons. Flamingos, great blue herons and sea lions.
Our preferred accommodation
means that the hotel is one of our Dream Destinations.
Beach hotel - Across the bay from Puerto AyoraOn the island of Santa Cruz, across the bay from the main town of Puerto Ayora and overlooking a white sand beach. There is a swimming pool, hot tub and bar facing the bay, a restaurant and a lounge.
Inn/Posada - Puerto Ayora waterfrontOn the waterfront with the wild red mangrove forest as a backdrop, the hotel is in a quiet yet central location and has a very relaxed atmosphere. Rooms are simple but stylish, and there is a restaurant overlooking the ocean (sea lions may join you for breakfast!). It is just a short walk from the hotel to the Charles Darwin Research Station, the beach, or the town which offers a wide selection of restaurants and bars (formerly called Red Mangrove Inn).
Lodge/Hosteria - Highlands, 25 km from Puerto AyoraA luxury tented camp on a 55 hectare farm in the highlands of Santa Cruz (altitude 450 metres) with views over the Pacific and western and northern Galapagos islands. There is an infinity pool and a viewpoint terrace, and the main lodge has a lounge, library, bar and restaurant, serving fresh, organic, home-grown food. 10 hectares of the farm has been dedicated to reforestation, and they have reintroduced some endemic tree species.