San Cristobal (Galapagos)

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search

San Cristóbal is one of the Galápagos Islands, part of Ecuador.


  • Puerto Baquerizo Moreno - The main town on the islands with tourist facilities.
  • El Progreso - One of the first towns in Galapagos that was founded in the 1880s as a sugar mill factory. This town is an access point and site on highlands tour to help understand the nerafrious past. It has the second largest population on the islands.
  • Cerro Verde - Close to Puerto Chino and the Galapaguera, this tiny hamlet is a major area used to produce vegetables. A restaurant is present, but probably only opens when you reserve ahead.


Get in[edit]

Avianca [1] flies to San Cristobal 6 days per week from Guayaquil, TAME [2] 3 days and LAN [3] 4 days. The flights usually originate in Quito and make a short stop (passengers stay on board the plane) in Guayaquil before continuing (see Galapagos Islands Get In for more info). The airport is just over 1km from the center of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, a 15minute walk or $1 taxi ride.

There are 2 daily boats from Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz leaving around 7 AM and 2 PM. The two hour boat ride can be rough and noisy and costs $30 one-way, plus $0.50 to get a taxi boat to/from Puerto Ayora pier to the actual ferry boat. Unlike on Isabela there is no landing fee or "pier tax" and the boat will dock directly at the pier in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno unlike at Isabela or Santa Cruz.

EMETEBE Airlines [4] has flights to Baltra-airport and Isabela Island. Bookings can be made on EMETEBE Airline's website [5] and should be made in advance to avoid the last minute crowd.

Get around[edit]

Traveling from one island to another is best done by air. An inter island air service called EMETEBE Airlines [6] operates 9 seater aircrafts to transport passengers and their luggage from San Cristobal Airport to Isabela, Santa Cruz and Baltra islands. Passengers tend to prefer this option since it is much faster than the boat (30 minute flight approximately), no sea sickness is involved and because of the spectacular views of Galapagos from the skies. Bookings can be done directly through EMETEBE's website [7] or a travel agent.

There is one major road leading from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in the west to the beach of Puerto Chino on the west coast. On the way you'll pass the villages El Progreso and Cerro Verde. There are collectivos going to the villages or you can take a taxi. Hitchhiking is also a good alternative.

See[edit][add listing]

The following sites can be visited from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno without a guide:

  • Interpretation Center - Here you can learn more about the history of the Galápagos and the conservation of this unique piece of nature. The center is at the western edge of town, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, near the university. Admission is free. Behind the interpretation center is Pepe, a tortuga gigantus that was found in the islands in the 70s and was originally housed with the local church. There is also trails leading to Cerror Tijeratas and aditional trail to hidden beaches.
  • Playa Mann - nice beach right in town. Sealions can be seen and snorkelled with here, and there are some other fish and maybe even a ray or turtle further out if you're lucky. West-facing, so a perfect place to catch sunset. Ladies selling delicious street-food in the afternoon and evenings for reasonable prices.
  • Cerro Tijeretas - (Frigatebird hill). If you follow the trails further up you come to a set of viewpoint overlooking the a bay. Nesting frigate birds can be seen here. It is possible to snorkel in the bay below with sealions, rays and turtles. The bay is overlooked by a large statue of Charles Darwin.
  • La Loberia - This is a rocky beach, a good place to see marine iguanas, blue footed boobies, yellow canaries, and a large sea lion colony. You can also do some snorkeling by yourself. Sometimes it is also possible to surf. It is about 1 km east of the airport along a dirt path.
  • Puerto Chino - A small quiet beach on the east side of the island. It's connected to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno by the only road crossing the island. Camping is possible with the permission of the national park. The permits cost $10 per person and need to be obtained at least 24hours in advance from the Park HQ near Playa Mann (March 2016). There is a public bus from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to Puerto Chino only on Sundays.
  • El Junco - A freshwater lake at an altitude 600m. Demonstrates plants intrinsic of the micronia zone and a location frequented by the frigate birds to clean their wings. It is on the way to Puerto Chino and is typically visited on highlands tours. Alternatively a taxi can be taken - about $20 return including an hour at the lake. There is a 10-15minute walk from the car park to the crater rim on a good path, then rougher paths down to the lake and around the rim. Allow at least an hour to enjoy the lake and the frigate birds. Despite what you might read elsewhere no guide is required (March 2016). It is also possible to cycle here, although it is a long distance uphill.

The following visitor sites are only accessible by boat and/or with a guide:

  • Kicker Rock - Kicker rock (León Dormido) - a natural cathedral rising out the water. It's a good place for scuba diving or snorkeling. Scuba divers can see rays, hammerheads, schools of Galapagos sharks, turtles, depending on the visibility and luck. A tour here will include a stop at one of three beaches after snorkelling/diving - Cerro Brujo, Puerto Grande or Manglecito.
  • Isla Lobos - Nesting bird colonies and a sea lion colony can be seen on this island.
  • Galapaguera Natural - Giant tortoises can be seen in the wild. It's located at the northern end of the island and only accessible by boat and a short hike.
  • Cerro Brujo - (Wizard Hill) An old craterous collapsed outcrop that demonstrated the differences in volcanic rocks with a white-sand beach. It lies just north of Kicker Rock. Home to sea lions, blue footed boobies, marine iguanas, brown pelicans, frigate birdgs, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea turtles, and rays.
  • Punta Pitt - Wet landing site on the northeast end of the island that features 3 species of booby (Blue Footed, Red Footed, and Nazca). Boobies can be seen doing their mating dance if you're lucky. The site also features lava formations, and at times, Frigate Birds. This is a great destination for scuba divers, growing in popularity. Said to be equal or better than Kicker's Rock itself.
  • Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado - A part of land reserved for the repopulation of the giant tortoises. The tortoises were moved from the northern part of the island. There is also a small tortoise breeding center and a interpretation center. It is on the road between El Junco and Puerto Chino. There are some short trails through the reserve. Admission is free but a guide is required.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Mountainbiking from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to Puerto Chino is ambitious even for die-hard mountain bikers, but if you hitchhike the uphill parts it'll make a nice daytrip and you can see some of the sites on the way. Bike rental is expensive, but after bargaining and perhaps booking another tour with an agency should be no more than $15/day.

Snorkeling and diving[edit]

There are many diving operators to be found in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Their prices do vary and you can negotiate a better price after asking around. 2-tank dives at Kicker Rock cost between $140-160 (March 2016). The boats to Kicker Rock and Punta Pitt also take snorkellers for a reduced price.

  • Chalo Tours - A professional local agency, that will advise you well on where to dive. Daily trips to Kicker Rock and Punta Pitt. With all the permits from the Galapagos National Park. [8] . Telephone (+593)(5)2520953. Ask for Chalo.


Camping is permitted in three locations on San Cristobal - Puerto Grande and Manglecito beaches on the west coast are only reachable by boat and a guide is required to camp with you (!) - Puerto Chino is the only place on the island where camping is possible without a guide. Permits ($10 per person) need to be obtained from the Park HQ near Playa Mann at least 24hours in advance (it says 48hours online but a friendly park ranger can be persuaded to issue a permit at 24hours notice).

Get out[edit]

From San Cristobal, 2 daily ferries only run to Santa Cruz. If you visit the island via tour you might stop off at the closest islands to San Cristobal:

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!