Santa Cruz Island and Puerto Ayora

Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos and the lovely town of Puerto Ayora are the economic and tourist centers.


Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz

santa cruz island in galapagos

The main city is Puerto Ayora (the name of this city comes from a former Ecuadorian president).

Puerto Ayora has a privileged location, along the shores of Academy Bay. During most of the year, it receives a refreshing breeze which gives the city a wonderful weather.

The months of the hot season make

Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz Island a tropical paradise.

The turquoise waters of the bay are a fine location for pelicans, marine iguanas, herons, sea lions, and many numbers of blue-footed boobies.

These beautiful boobies will always delight you with their amazing fishing strategies, and plunge diving behavior.

The Galapagos Island's main airport is located on Baltra Island and it can be reached from Puerto Ayora when you take a combination of land/marine transportation.

See Galapagos Flights Information with Vital Travel Facts

Once away from the populated area, the paved road takes you through the different vegetation zones of Santa Cruz Island, then you climb up to 500 meters of elevation (1,500 feet) at Los Gemelos, and start heading down towards the coast again.

This trip takes altogether about 27 minutes. The meeting point once at the other end is called the Itabaca Channel (Canal de Itabaca), where a ferry takes visitors to Baltra Island.

Once at the other side, a bus will take you to the airport.

Although logistically this procedure may seem complex, in reality it is the simplest thing, and the highlight will be seeing the changes in vegetation and the always breathtaking azure waters of Itabaca Channel.

This beautiful city of Puerto Ayora has the greatest variety of services, commerce, and tourist options throughout the Archipelago.

If purchase any land-based tour option like an extension at Finch Bay Eco Hotel will find amusing and rewarding to sit by the main park, and see how Ecuadorians live in this ever-motivating paradise.

Santa Cruz Island holds a very important communications infrastructure, including several cyber-cafes all with Internet access.

Pacific National Bank (Banco del Pacifico) is located by the main road, and is ready to assist travelers in national and international transactions.

Mostly through its affiliation to the international ATM's network.

Hotels in town can offer various types of lodging options, while restaurants and pubs can add to the Island experience.

Puerto Ayora is also the home base for the Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park Service.

If you enjoy beach landscapes without skyscrapers, a walk to the Galapagos Beach of Tortuga bay will be a great highlight of the trip.

Who would think that there are still beaches with white sand, but without high-rise buildings, or hotels everywhere with human masses of visitors?

Well, one of these beaches is the famous Tortuga Bay in Santa Cruz Island.

Right in front of Puerto Ayora you find the only neighborhood that is physically isolated from the city.

See a Gallery of Beautiful Pictures of Galapagos Islands

Punta Estrada is the place to meet for an in depth contact with untouched nature, peacefulness, and spectacular landscapes. Right at this location you can find Finch Bay Eco Hotel, next to the most extensive beach.

You can also walk to Las Grietas for more contact with nature. Transporting yourself to and from Punta Estrada is easy: if you are staying at Finch Bay Hotel in Santa Cruz Island you can return anytime you want to during the designated schedule.

Otherwise, the aqua taxis service will take you to "the other side" for a minimal fee.

Puerto Ayora is a town that shouldn't be missed in any Galapagos travel visit. From an expedition point of view, there's nothing more exciting than being able to see all of the Islands that compose this Archipelago in a once-in a lifetime visit.

Visit Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz Island... the other Galapagos!

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!


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If you have questions about Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page and if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Tour Packages to visit this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

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