San Cristobal Island in Galapagos

San Cristobal Island is the easternmost Island in Galapagos. There's a lot to explore and discover in this paradise.


The Island has all the basic facilities like telephone, internet, water, a hospital, hotels, etc. The name of the Island comes from the Saint of seafarers Saint Christopher.

But some others say that the Island is named in honor of Christopher Columbus. In English the name is Chatham and comes from an English nobleman Count Chatham.

This is one of the oldest Islands in Galapagos it has an area of 558 km2 (the fifth largest island in Galapagos) and San Joaquin hill is the highest elevation at 730 mts above the sea level. The northern part of the Island has some volcanic peaks revealing its volcanic origin.

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The South of the Island is filled with abundant and unique Galapagos Vegetation which includes: miconia bushes, plants such as Scalesia Gordilloi and Calandrina Galapagos. There are also Endemic tree ferns.

The main town is Port Baquerizo Moreno which is located South-West of the Island and it is also the capital city of the Galapagos Islands.

San Cristobal is the second most populated Island of the Archipelago. The famous naturalist Charles Darwin who is the author of the Origin of Species landed at San Cristobal in 1835.

In 1935 a statue of Darwin was situated right on the place where he disembarked for the first time in the Galapagos Islands more than 170 years before.

One of the two main airports is located at San Cristobal island. Many visitors arrive and begin their tours here.

Flights to Galapagos depart from mainland Ecuador from the cities of Quito or Guayaquil. San Cristobal or Chatham Island has a wide variety of hotels, restaurants and transportation.

The Galapagos National Park has offices that offer good information to visitors so it is easy to explore if you are on your own. The Island also has an Ecuadorian Navy base.

The Island has the biggest sweet water lake in Galapagos. This lake namedEl Junco is almost circular in shape. It is 300 mts wide and 6 mts deep. This site offers one of the best Galapagos Landscapes and it is located to the South in the highlands of San Cristobal Island.

This lake gives a good opportunity for birdwatching observing birds like: Swallow-tailed Seagulls Chatham mockingbirds, frigate birds, blue and red footed boobies.

Near the lake you can visit the Galapaguera which is a sanctuary for Galapagos Giant Tortoises It is a long hike so bring enough water, food and good shoes.

El Progreso is a small town close to Puerto Baquerizo. This small town was home to a prison that was established in 1888. The prisoners were treated brutally and were forced to develop a sugar cane and coffee plantation.

Interesting Sites to Visit in San Cristobal

Punta Pitt: is a site located North-east of the Island. If you like hiking then this is the place. It is a good place to observe frigate birds, hawks, swallow-tailed gulls.

It is also the only site in Galapagos where you can see red footed, blue footed and masked boobies nesting in the same place. This spot has a beautiful beach perfect for swimming.

La Loberia: Is a beach located just around 10 minutes away from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. During the trip you'll observe rare and exotic Galapagos Plants that for sure you have never seen before.

In this beach you will find a large colony of playful Galapagos Sea Lions resting all across the beach.

Lobos Island: It's a peaceful small Island separated by a channel from San Cristobal Island. It is a great place for snorkeling.

Sea lions, marine iguanas and blue footed boobies can be seen here. It takes around one hour by boat from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to get here.

Frigate Bird Hill: It is a hike of about 1 km from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Once at the top of the hill you can enjoy an incredible view of white beaches.

Great and Magnificent Frigate birds can be seen here.

Kicker Rock: It is located out of San Cristobal Island. A site in the middle of the sea composed by 2 vertical cone shaped lava rocks with a height of 145 mts from the Ocean.

These rocks form a channel that is navigable only by small boats. Good for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Frigate birds and boobies are flying all over the rocks. The sea is crystal clear allowing you to see many colorful tropical fish up to 15 mts depth.

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Puerto Ochoa: It is a stunning and very peaceful white sand beach located North-west of San Cristobal Island. This is a good place for swimming and snorkeling.

Other Beaches: Cabo de Horno beach which is an excellent spot for expert surfers and Puerto Grande, a nice sandy beach good for bird watching specially seabirds.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!

There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.

Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier.

But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.

Small, well-priced, and reliable!


Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


If you have questions about San Cristobal Island or if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Island Cruises to explore this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

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