Santa Cruz Island

This beautiful island is home to many different species. Almost all species that can be found in the Galapagos can be observed on Santa Cruz. You can find many finches playing around you while waking on the trails or even visit the giant tortoises in their natural habitat

Our Best Santa Cruz Island Tours

Our top 5 things to do in Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island is the most visited in the archipelago and the most populated because it has a lot to offer: landscapes, beaches and incredible activities. In addition to that, due to its central location, it allows you to explore the rest of the islands in a better way. Here are some of the places and activities to do there.

Cerro Mesa Ecological Reserve

It’s the first reserve in the Galapagos Islands, a sanctuary for several species of native birds such as the Galapagos tortoises. The local family that owns the land works hard to restore the endemic forest that where almost lost to agriculture. There you can make excursions, trekking, photography and enjoy natural viewpoints until you arrive and relax on the Garrapatero beach.

Garrapatero Beach

This beach gets its name from the bird (Garrapatero), an introduced specie into the islands. This place is a paradise away from civilization, perfect to spend a calm day in contact with nature. Its crystal clear water, subtle waves and white sand allow tourists to relax and enjoy this beach a lot.

Charles Darwin Research Station

It’s a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. It’s an operations center for many scientists who come to the islands to deal with special research programs, but it also carries out educational tasks in support of the Galapagos National Park service. During the tour of the Charles Darwin Research Station you can visit: the Visitor Center, the Exhibition Center, the Breeding Center, and The Turtle and Land Iguana Pens.

Tortuga Bay

It’s a beautiful white sand beach, named like this (Tortuga Bay) because this bay is a nesting place for the tortoises of the Galapagos Islands. In addition, there you can see some species such as sea lions, finches, marine iguanas, tintoreras, among other species.

The Twins

They are two large depressions of volcanic material, on the Puerto Ayora-Canal de Itabaca highway. They are called that way because they are formations that are located one in front of the other, separated only by the road. Geologically speaking, they are recognized as crater holes. It’s the only place on the island where are the scalesia tree forest. Mosses, ferns and orchids also abound in this place, as well as certain species of Galapagos finches and the witch bird, the most prominent bird in the upper parts of the islands.

Best food in Santa Cruz Island

The gastronomy of the Galapagos Islands, in general, is made up of a wide range of recipes whose main ingredients come from the sea, although it is also common to find some of the main ingredients of Ecuadorian cuisine, such as meats, potatoes, vegetables, and grains. The delicacies that can be found on Santa Cruz Island represent a small part of the gastronomic wealth of the Galapagos.

Galapagos Lobster

Lobster is always the first choice of visitors. Its exquisite flavor does not compare with any other due to its endemic species (red and green) that inhabit the islands. Lobsters can be consumed in various ways such as: lobster with special sauce, lobster au gratin, baked lobster, lobster with garlic cream, rice with lobster and clams, among others.


It is traditionally prepared with fish marinated in lemon juice and then mixed with red onion, tomato, peppers, and cilantro. Although this delicious dish can also be prepared with other seafood such as shrimp, crab, among others.

Seafood rice

It’s a delicious dish that fuses various seafood, among which may be: clams, shells, mussels, octopus, squid, fish, among others, with diced onion, chopped bell pepper and rice.

Cod with potatoes

Cod with potatoes is a deliciously simple recipe, in which once again fish (cod) is the star ingredient.

Galapagos Coffee

Volcanic coffee is grown in the Galapagos Highlands. Hand-picked by the local community and sun-dried on the islands. The miracle of the enchanted islands makes it possible to grow coffee at only 300 meters above sea level. Thanks to the cold and warm currents encountered in the islands help form a foggy allowing a cloud-forest like weather, perfect for the coffee growth.

What to pack for Santa Cruz Island

Hiking shoes

Whether you’re trekking or just walking, you’ll need a good and comfortable pair of shoes in Galapagos.

Wind and waterproof coat

The Galapagos Islands can have very diverse weather. Due to the warm and cold currents meeting onsite different micro-climates are formed. It can be very sunny on the seashore but raining in the highlands.

Reusable water bottle

Galapagos is definitely an outdoor adventure and a reusable water bottle will help you stay hydrated without contributing to the plastic waste in the pristine islands.

Adaptor plug

The voltage in the Galapagos Islands is 120V and the power plugs and sockets are of type A and B. The standard frequency is 60 Hz.


You are not allowed to play music out loud everywhere. Make sure to bring your headphones if you want to enjoy some of your music.


Sun exposure can be high during the day so it’s very important to have sunscreen to protect your skin. Also, keep lipstick in mind to avoid dry lips, and an anti-mosquito lotion to avoid mosquito bites.


It’s very important to have cash if you want to buy handicrafts or other things.

Other things to know before you go

Depending on your nationality, you’ll need a valid passport and may also need visas to enter Ecuador. Please check this well in advance of your trip departure date.

Also, COVID restrictions for the Galapagos Islands are changing according to specific situations. Please check with us before traveling.

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