Hotels: Comfort / Angermeyer Waterfront Inn
Activities: Hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, birdwatching, wildlife observation, community interaction and foodie experience.
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos. Its name means “Holy Cross” in Spanish. It has a long history of human settlement, especially in the 20th century between WWI and WWII when Europeans moved to the area. It has a rich agriculture, with crops such as coffee, sugarcane, bananas, oranges, avocados and lemons.
It´s considered the main stop for all tourism in Galapagos. Home of the Charles Darwin Research Station with its interpretative trail and tortoise breeding center. It also has one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in Galapagos: Tortuga Bay.
Click here to learn about the most compelling reasons to choose a Galapagos land-based tour.
DAY 1: Hike one of the most striking white sand beaches in the Galapagos and interact with local artisans and shop owners.
Get ready for a 2 hour hike to Tortuga Bay. This incredible white sand beach hosts an amazing colony of marine iguanas, a forests of opuntia cacti and sea turtles swimming in the calm area of the bay.
The afternoon finds us kayaking along the bay of Punta Estrada, discovering wildlife in the mangroves and skirting walls of lava rocks full with hundreds of blue footed boobies, lava herons, masked boobies, brown nodies and yellow crowned night herons perch.
At sunset visit the local Puerto Ayora workshops and learn about tempered chocolate, glass art, recycled art and much more. This is an excellent opportunity to purchase souvenirs that make a difference in the local community. (B, L)
DAY 2: Hike among giant tortoises, enjoy lunch at a local farm in the highlands and spend your afternoon swimming at the beach.
We visit “El Chato” Natural Reserve, where we hike in search of the iconic Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat. Spot them taking mud baths at the ponds or trying to cross the forest walking slowly under the vegetation. This is a healthy native forest area that hosts the unique orchid of the islands among other native vegetation.
We continue on to a highland farm for a locally prepared lunch with the people of Galapagos. After lunch we drive down to “Garrapatero” beach to swim, enjoy amazing landscapes and bird watching at the ponds next to the sandy area. (B, L)
OPTIONAL DAY/NIGHT EXTENSION:
DAY 3: Join us on a full day tour of neighboring islands Seymour, Bartolome, Plazas or Santa Fe.
Enjoy a boat ride to one of the incredible islands that surround Santa Cruz, depending on the day we´ll take you to Bartolome, Seymour, Plazas or Santa Fe islands. Each of them with unique wildlife, amazing snorkeling sites, great hiking trails and unforgettable views, while learning from your naturalist National Park guide. (B, L)