Santa Cruz Island is the Galapagos Islands archipelago's 2nd largest - after Isabela Island. The largest settlement is the Galapagos islands' capital Puerto Ayora (population around 12,000). On the island there are also several small villages, whose inhabitants are engaged in cattle raising and agriculture. Santa Cruz Island has a large dormant volcano (last eruptions around 1,5 million years ago).
Popular Santa Cruz Island shore excursion destinations are:
- Charles Darwin Research Station
- lava tunnel (length over 2000 m / 6600 ft)
- Los Gemelos holes (translated "The Twins")
- Galapagos National Park Service (headquarters)
- Giant Tortoise Preserves
- Playa las Bachas (beach)
- Black Turtle Cove - mangrove estuary on the northern coast
- Itabaca Channel - separates Santa Cruz and Baltra. It is crossed by water taxis with ferry passengers from Baltra Island.
- Tortuga Bay - has a 1,6 ml (2,5 km) long walking path (open between 6 am - 6pm), which is a 20-min walk from the Puerto Ayora's water taxi dock. Tortuga Bay has a huge beach with volcanic rocks. It is preserved for the wildlife - marine iguanas, galapagos crabs and tortoises, birds (incl brown pelicans). The bay has a separate cove where swimming is allowed.
- Cerro Dragon
- El Eden
- Stand of Scalesia - daisy trees
Santa Cruz Island cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Santa Cruz Island dock (anchor) at Puerto Ayora - port town on the southern coast.
The following map of Galapagos Islands cruise itineraries shows the two main routes and all island stops (ports / landing sites) in the archipelago.
Santa Cruz Island tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Puerto Ayora town tour
- cruise ship embarkation with a welcome aboard cocktail
- Giant Tortoise Reserve tour
- guided walks. snorkeling, sea kayaking, daily lecture on the ship
- visiting Charles Darwin Research Station
- El Eden (near Puerto Ayora)
- Los Gemelos
- Las Bachas / Playa las Bachas (beach / northern coast)
- Cerro Dragon (northwestern coast)
- Usually follows a cruise itinerary sailing portion in the Galapagos National Park, visiting La Galapaguera (giant tortoises),, with one professionally guided tour each day.
The small cruise ship Galapagos Majestic (IMO 9695999) ran aground at Santiago island's northern coast, Galapagos Archipelago, at around 9:30 UTC on...June 8, 2019
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