San Cristobal island is not the largest (fifth largest one in the archipelago), but it has the second largest population. The island is named after the patron of seafarers, Saint Christopher (in Spanish San Cristobal). You will most likely visit or stay at the island’s main city, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, also the Galápagos capital, located on the southwest point.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
If you haven’t seen any sea lions yet during your Galapagos visit, you will be happy to arrive to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno! They are literally lying around everywhere. Most hotels are situated within walking distance of the pier, as are most restaurants, small supermarkets and souvenir shops. There is a grand variety of wildlife found all over San Cristobal Island like blue-footed boobies, Galapagos tortoises, frigate birds, marine iguanas or the Chatham mockingbird that can only be found on San Cristobal Island.
There are very nice places to visit during your time on San Cristobal Island. Some of the tours mentioned below might already be part of your booking. If not, you can decide to add them yourself in your spare time. Just contact our us and it will be our pleasure to add it to your itinerary. So that we can check the availability, make sure we receive your reservation at least 24 hours in advance. During your day tour, both lunch and snorkeling equipment will be included. Also make sure to bring along some sun protection, a bathing suit and a towel, a camera, comfortable walking shoes and, if you brought them in your luggage, binoculars.
In the morning, you will board on a small boat and head to the beautiful Isla Lobos. From the boat you can already observe much of the wildlife before disembarking on Isla Lobos: frigate birds and blue footed boobies. “Lobos” means sea lion, so you shouldn’t be surprise to encounter them on the island. For a better impression, you will land on the island for a walk. Afterwards you will have some time to snorkel in the small canal between the two islands and will be able to swim with playful sea lions and observe rays or turtles. After this visit, you will continue to Playa Ochoa or a similar beach. You will enjoy a lunch box at the boat or at depending on the day you will have lunch in a local restaurant. At, Playa Ochoa, you will have the opportunity to walk around a white coral beach, relax and swim in shallow waters.
Kicker Rock (León Dormido)
You will take a small boat int the morning and set sail for the lava formation in the middle of the ocean called Kicker Rock (León Dormido which means “sleeping lion” in Spanish as they say it looks like). First, you will circle around the rock formation to observe the different bird species that use the rock formation as a resting or nesting place. Afterwards, the boat will anchor and you will jump of the boat to snorkel the canal in between the rock formations. Beware that the currents can be strong and that you will be snorkeling in open waters without being able to see the bottom. Here you will be able to spot different shark species (sometimes even hammerheads!), turtles, rays and more. In some seasons you might encounter jellyfish which can sting, however a wetsuit will be provided when this is the case. After the snorkeling you will continue to Manglecito or a similar beach and enjoy a lunch box on board. At Manglecito, you will have the chance to walk around a white coral beach, relax and swim in shallow waters before returning to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
This is a full day tour and lunch, fishing equipment (optional) and snorkeling equipment are included.
On the 360 tour, you will make a full loop around San Cristobal Island during which you will have several opportunities to snorkel or even fish in one of the most diverse marine wildlife. In the morning, you will first admire the impressive waterfall ´Cascada de Agua Dulce´. Later on, you will continue to the Bahía de Rosa Blanca and on the way you will be able to spot the beautiful white beach of Puerto Chino. At Bahía de Rosa Blanca you will be able to hike around the area and snorkel in the beautiful bay. A well- deserved lunch will be served at the boat before visiting Punta Pitt, the only place where you can see all the booby birds nesting so enjoy spotting these cute birds. You will head for a hike and more snorkeling at Bahía Sardina. Then your tour will bring you to Cerro Brujo (Witch Hill) and León Dormido, a large rock formation made of lava that looks like a sleeping lion, hence the name. During the day, you will also enjoy some snacks and drinks provided. At the end of the day you will return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
At 07:30 you will depart from the harbor of San Cristobal with destination of the Española Island. You will arrive at Punta Suarez, where you will be on the beach and go for a walk. Then we will continue towards Islote Gardner, where we will make a check dive and snorkel for about one hour or one hour and a half. All the activities will be accompanied by a naturalist guide who will explain the visited sites and answer all your questions. The return to San Cristobal will be between 4.30 and 5.00pm.
Highlands (Parte Alta)
Bring along sun protection, a rain jacket and warm sweater, a camera and comfortable walking shoes.
Get ready to discover the San Cristobal Highlands! Your day will start with a 30 minutes drive to your first stop: El Junco Crater Lake, the only sweet water lake on the Galapagos Islands. Afterwards, you continue driving to Puerto Chino, a beautiful white sanded beach (watch out for horseflies). You will follow a path where you will pass the typical Opuntia cactuses until you get to the white sandy beach of Puerto Chino. Here, you can make a small walk passing the lazy sea lions that sleep on the beach, towards the blue footed boobies on the rocks. From the top, you will have an amazing view and you might see some sea turtles in the turquoise seawater. You will walk back to the car so you can head to La Galapaguera, a breeding center with very nice wooden walkways and clear indications. To get to the station, you will walk from the entrance towards the incubation center for around 20 minutes. Along the way you might have to step over a tortoise, as they walk around loose in this area! After the tour your driver will bring you back to your hotel or you will have lunch, depending on your reservation.
If you are the sportive type you can also mountain bike, either all the way or just downhill from El Junco. Do not forget to book you bikes separately and in advance!
- In the interesting Interpretation Center of San Cristobal Island you will get to know more about the formation of the islands, the arrival of humans and the importance of conservation. You can walk here from the boulevard in about 10 minutes, just passing Playa Mann and following the signs. There is a clear map in the exhibition hall on which you can see all the wildlife that you can find on the several islands.
- Cerro Tijeretas is a perfect place on the Galapagos Islands where you can see the two species of frigate birds nest. The walk to Tijeretas Hill starts on the road next to Playa Mann and is a total of 5.5 km (more or less 2 hours walking). It has gorgeous views along the way and there is also a small cove from where you can snorkel. Bring along good walking shoes and plenty of water and sun protection as it can be very hot!.
- La Loberia is a white sandy beach is situated not even 10 minutes driving from the airport and the center of town. Your driver can drop you of at the entrance and you can walk to the beach yourself in about 15 minutes. Tell him before you start walking in how much time you would like to get picked up, so he can wait for you at the same place. From the beach it is possible to snorkel, or you can just relax, swim and look for pelicans, sea lions and colorful iguanas.
- There is some great surfing at San Cristobal. The best spots are Punta Carola, Loberia, Puerto Chino and Playa Ochoa. Take surf lessons or just rent a board at Cañon Point Adventure Shop (at the end of the main boulevard towards the navy marine).
- Rent a bike at Cañon Point Adventure Shop (at the end of the main boulevard towards the navy marine) and discover San Cristóbal by bike.
- Located in the top ten most beautiful sunsets in the world, the beach Playa Mann is definitely worth a visit before sunset. As this is so close to town, no more than a ten minute walk, it is also a great morning swim with the sea lions. Location: at the end of Avenida Alsacio Northia, 700 meters north of town.