Best sites to visit as day tours from Puerto Ayora, Galapagos

Eco Friendly tours Ecuador
Baños Town Travel Guide and Tips
January 16, 2019
Galapagos Islands Albatross
The Majestic Galapagos Albatross
January 23, 2019
 

A question we regularly get asked at Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders, is “What are the best day tours from Puerto Ayora?” This is something that people considering a land-based option in the Galapagos Islands, rather than a Galapagos Islands cruise are particularly interested in. The answer is that there are a great many options for those wanting day trips from Puerto Ayora. There are nearby beaches on Santa Cruz Island itself, or there are islands to be visited further afield, but that are still within reasonable travel time to make them into a fun and educational day tour, to get a real taste of the Galapagos Islands. Here are some of our most highly recommended day tours from Puerto Ayora, Galapagos.


 

Bartolome Island

Bartolome Island is a fabulous spot that can be reached from Puerto Ayora on a day trip. To the north west of Santa Cruz, this island is iconic, and you will surely recognize the well-photographed scenery here. When you arrive at the island you can climb up to the top of a trail, a walk that typically takes between 30 to 40 minutes. From here there is a splendid view of the Galapagos Islands. On a clear day you can see Santiago Island, North Seymour, Baltra Island, Santa Cruz and Rabida Island. There are also some excellent opportunities for snorkeling, and you may get a chance to see penguins, marine turtles, tropical fish and white tipped reef sharks. The trip takes a full day.


Floreana Island

Floreana Island is directly south of Santa Cruz Island, and is a long day trip from Puerto Ayora, but a very worthwhile one to take. One of the Galapagos visitor sites here is Punta Cormorant where it is possible to walk on a green beach and see flamingos, rays and sea turtles. There is also Post Office Bay, another site of interest here, where you can see the antiquated postal system that is still in operation today and play football with your crew. A splendid dive site called Devil’s Crown is also nearby and you can snorkel in the underwater volcanic cone here, which is teeming with sea life.


 

 

North Seymour Island

North Seymour Island is directly north of both Baltra Island and Santa Cruz Island. It is a popular day trip from Puerto Ayora as there are opportunities to spot a lot of bird life here. In particular, this is a great spot to see blue footed boobies, frigate birds and land iguanas, among others. There is a two kilometer walk across the island to spot the wildlife, which is generally pretty easy to spot, right alongside the trail. If you are lucky you might even get to see the blue footed booby doing its courtship dance, which is a fascinating sight. The trip typically runs for a full day.


Santa Fe Island

Santa Fe Island is another nearby destination that can be reached on a day tip from Puerto Ayora, and it is located east of this town. Day trips here are sometimes combined with a trip to Plazas, which are somewhat further north. Either way, the trip takes the majority of the day. There is an array of interesting wildlife to view on Santa Fe Island, including sea lions, sea turtles, rays, tropical fish, crabs, marine iguanas, mockingbirds and herons.


 

Plazas

Plazas offers an interesting day tour from Puerto Ayora, and there are two Plazas Islands – North Plaza Island and South Plaza Island. The north island is only used by scientists, but the South Island can be visited. This is a great place to visit to get a taste of the wide variety of wildlife to be found in the Galapagos Islands. There are a lot of different bird species, such as Nazca booby and swallow-tailed gulls. That aside you can take a walk on the island and see the large colony of sea lions that reside here. There are fabulous opportunities for snorkeling, with the chance to spot manta rays. This trip typically takes a full day but is sometimes combined with a trip to Santa Fe Island as well.


 

 

Santa Cruz Highlands

The Santa Cruz highlands makes for a fun day tour from Puerto Ayora as there are various highlights to explore. One of the main ones is visiting a reserve to spot giant tortoises in their natural habitat, among greenery and muddy pools. Another interesting aspect of a visit to the highlands is the chance to see Los Gemelos (the Twins). These are a pair of sink holes that are worth a look. There are also some lava tunnels that you can take a walk through – if you plan to do this, our Insider recommendation is to bring a torch as it can be quite dark.


Tortuga Bay

The Santa Cruz highlands makes for a fun day tour from Puerto Ayora as there are various highlights to explore. One of the main ones is visiting a reserve to spot giant tortoises in their natural habitat, among greenery and muddy pools. Another interesting aspect of a visit to the highlands is the chance to see Los Gemelos (the Twins). These are a pair of sink holes that are worth a look. There are also some lava tunnels that you can take a walk through – if you plan to do this, our Insider recommendation is to bring a torch as it can be quite dark.


 

 

Charles Darwin Station

Also, not far from town, and within easy walking distance is the Charles Darwin Research Station. This is perhaps less of a “day tour” from Puerto Ayora, and more of a morning or afternoon event, as it does not take all day for a visit. However, it is very interesting and well worth doing. Here you can learn about conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands. You can also see the giant tortoise breeding program here, as well as see giant tortoises. The Station also has a number of land iguanas to view.

Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders can organize trips for you to any of these destinations. We can also offer Galapagos land-based options or Galapagos Islands cruises if you prefer. Why not get in touch to find out how we can help you?

By Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders
By Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders
Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders is a leading travel company based in Ecuador and run by local tour guides and travel specialists, we are happy to provide expert and free trip planning advice, no commitment fee involved.