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Santa Cruz

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Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Central Islands


Santa Cruz is the second largest Galapagos island, and its most densely populated - thanks to the fact that volcanic activity is long extinct here. Located right in the centre of the archipelago, the name Santa Cruz means “holy cross”, and settlement of the island began in the 1920s and 1930s with the arrival of American and Europeans who were attracted by variety of the island’s geography and wildlife. As well as the main port of Puerto Ayora, the small towns of Bellavista and Santa Rosa were formed in the highlands, where more humid conditions were good for crops like avocados, bananas, coffee, and citrus. Unfortunately all this has left the landscape permanently changed by all these non-native species and by the associated human activity.

Santa Cruz is now the main tourism hub for the whole Galapagos archipelago, thanks to its proximity to the airport on Baltra, just to the north. It is the only island in Galapagos where tourists can easily experience the interior highlands of a Galapagos island. Santa Cruz has the longest paved road in the Galapagos, running north-south across the island to take people from the airport ferry which docks on the north coast to Puerto Ayora on the south coast. With quaint hotels and small seafood restaurants, Puerto Ayora is the starting point for most tours and it offers the biggest range of services to be found anywhere in the Galapagos. Facilities include a hospital, banks, a post office and a radio station. Most of your Galapatours adventures will start here! Because of its large population and it's busy nature it's often assumed by visitors to be the capital of the islands, but in fact that is located on San Cristobal.

Fast Facts about Santa Cruz

Location: Central Galapagos
Extent of Island: 986 sq Kilometers / 381 sq Miles
Highest Point: 864 Meters / 2,835 Feet
Highlights: Galapagos Center, Charles Darwin Station, Highlands

Visit Points

Black Turtle Cove

Known for its calm and clear...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Dinghy Ride

Cerro Mesa

Reachable by land from Bellavista (small...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Hiking, Bird watching

Charles Darwin Station

The Charles Darwin Station = CDS...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Walking Detour

Bachas Beach

Bachas Beach is approximately a kilometer...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Dinghy Ride, Easy snorkeling, Beachcombing

Dragon Hill

Dragon hill originates its name to...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Snorkeling, Hiking, Beachcombing


Eden Island has no landing, the...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Snorkeling, Panga Ride

Turtle Bay

Turtle bay is a white sand...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Bird Watching, Snorkel, Swimming

Twin Craters / Pit Craters

The twin craters are the result...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Hiking

El Chato Tortoise Reserve

El Chato in summary is a...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Hiking, Horseback riding, Bird watching

The Highlands

The highlands are commonly refereed to...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Hiking, Horseback riding, Bird watching

Whale Bay

Located in the west coast of...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Beachcombing, Hill Hike

Carrion Point

Located in the north eastern part...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Dinghy Ride, Snorkel

Ayora Port

Galapagos ayora port is located in...[read more]

Interaction In Site: Hiking, Explore Locals, Boarding Port for Cruises

*Visit point inclusion is subject to cruise programs and logistics. These are regulated by the galapagos national park.