Santa Cruz

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

Caleta Tortuga Negra

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

Estacion Charles Darwin

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

Interaction In Site: Walking Detour

Playa Las Bachas

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

Interaction In Site: Dinghy Ride, Easy snorkeling, Beachcombing

Cerro Dragon

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

Interaction In Site: Snorkeling, Hiking, Beachcombing

Isla Edén

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

Interaction In Site: Snorkeling, Panga Ride

Bahía Tortuga

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

Interaction In Site: Bird Watching, Snorkel, Swimming

Los Gemelos

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

Interaction In Site: Hiking

Reserva El Chato

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

Bahía Ballena

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

Interaction In Site: Beachcombing, Hill Hike

Punta Carrión

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

Interaction In Site: Dinghy Ride, Snorkel

Puerto Ayora

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

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


Galápagos Sea Lion

The Galapagos sea lion is a...[read more]

Green Sea Turtle

A sea turtle species that inhabit...[read more]

Marine Iguana

The Galapagos Marine Iguana is the...[read more]

Lava Lizard

The Galapagos Lava lizard is a...[read more]

Brown Pelican

The Brown Pelican is a large...[read more]

Nazca Booby

One of four booby species on...[read more]

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