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Welcome to the oldest of the Galapagos Islands! San Cristobal, in the far east of the archipelago, is home to the capital of the Galapagos province - Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which is also the second-largest town in the Galapagos. Home to a number of hotels, restaurants, and shops, this is the perfect place to stay after your cruise ends for a short extension or to buy some souvenirs.
Just outside of town is the San Cristobal Airport, which receives both inter-island flights and flights from mainland Ecuador. As the easternmost island, San Cristobal makes an excellent departure point for cruises and land-based tours: speed boats can take travelers to neighboring islands like Espanola, Santa Fe, Floreana, and Santa Cruz; plus there are plenty of great visitor sites easily reachable from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and which you can also visit as part of our Galapagos multisport adventure tour.
San Cristobal Visitor Sites & Activities:
From San Cristobal, active explorers can experience snorkeling, surfing, sea kayaking, swimming, diving, mountain biking, hiking, or simply relaxing on the tranquil beaches in the presence of the loud but friendly sea lions.
At this interactive conservation station, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the Galapagos National Park’s conservation efforts in hands on ways. The unique and fragile ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands host an increasing number of tourists each year, which is why the projects and practices you will learn about here are paramount to the archipelago’s survival.
The Galapagos Islands are renowned for the birding opportunities, and few places showcase this as well as Frigate Hill, where you can see both species of the mighty frigatebirds - Great & Magnificent Frigates nest together and inflate their distinct red pouches to attract the attention of the females soaring overhead.
This is another great place to witness the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands, home to sea lions, shorebirds, and various finch species, plus noteworthy rock formations.
El Junco Lagoon
This is the largest and most important freshwater lagoon in the Galapagos Islands. In the highlands of San Cristobal, El Junco has formed in the crater of an extinct volcano and hosts pintail ducks, mockingbirds, and other land birds.
See the tortoises for which the Galapagos are named up close at the Galapaguera breeding center, where young tortoises are hatched and raised in the safety of captivity until they are mature enough to be released into the wild.
Currently, the main attraction at this beach is the large population of blue-footed boobies, but in previous centuries, hopeful treasure seekers excavated the sand in hopes of finding the forgotten bounty of the pirates who frequented the Galapagos.
Carola Beach & Puerto Chino
These are great beaches where you can relax or swim in the clear blue water. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself in the company of sea lions, shorebirds, and sea birds.
This aptly named islet is home to a large sea lion colony (“lobo marino” in Spanish). Visitors can watch their graceful antics in delight, snorkeling or swimming in their presence.
This impressive rock formation towers out of the water just a few hours from San Cristobal and resembles a giant sleeping lion (for which it gets its Spanish name of “leon dormido”). Keep your eyes to the water and you will likely see sharks, tropical fish, and perhaps even a manta ray.
This is the only place in the whole Galapagos archipelago where you can see all three species of booby (blue-footed, red-footed, and Nazca) living in harmony. In addition to being a birder’s dream, it plays host to excellent snorkeling and breathtaking vistas.