"Indefatigable" Isla Santa Cruz by toonsarah

Isla Santa Cruz Travel Guide: 92 reviews and 722 photos

Super Diego, at the Charles Darwin Research Centre

Santa Cruz, also known as Indefatigable, sits right in the centre of the archipelago. It is has largest human population of any of the islands, and is home to the largest town in the Galápagos, Puerto Ayora.

Unlike the barren volcanic landscapes we had seen elsewhere, its interior is lush and green, with plantations growing all sorts of crops. After five days at sea without seeing a single human habitation, passing these cultivated hillsides, and even more so, walking the streets of the small town, seemed like a return to a different world.

We spent a day here altogether – the fifth day of our Galápagos cruise on the Angelito. In the morning we visited the Charles Darwin Research Station, which offers an opportunity to get close to the giant tortoises that they breed here, although we were sadly too late to see the centre’s former most famous resident, Lonesome George, who had died about five months before our visit.

After our visit to the centre we walked into Puerto Ayora and enjoyed the novelties of drinking coffee in a café and shopping for souvenirs. In the afternoon we visited the highlands, where we had the opportunity to learn more about the giant tortoises and to see them in the wild, on one of the reserves where they are protected.

At the end of our cruise we saw another side of Santa Cruz, with an early morning panga ride in Black Turtle Cove before leaving for Baltra and our flight home. We were lucky enough to see White-tipped Reef Shark and Spotted Eagle rays here, as well as enjoying the beautiful and peaceful backwaters here.

This is one of a series of pages about the various islands we visited on our Galápagos cruise. In those individual island pages I aim to describe in more detail what we did on each island, the environment and landscape, and the wildlife to be found there. But for detailed descriptions of the animals and plants etc I have included links to my main Galápagos page, rather than repeat myself too much here.

To follow our visit here as we experienced it, please read my tips in order, starting with the Charles Darwin Research Centre.

I also have a separate page about Puerto Ayora which you may find interesting.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Home to the Giant Tortoises
  • Last visit to Isla Santa Cruz: Nov 2012
  • Intro Updated Dec 31, 2012
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Reviews (5)

Comments (4)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    That lava tunnel certainly sounds wierd. Good that they are saving and raising tortoises.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 5, 2013 at 12:34 AM

      It was good to see how our tourist dollars are being spent on these conservation projects - but I preferred seeing the tortoises in the wild!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Feb 7, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Another interesting page. Must have been amazing seeing these up close!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    So peaceful :-) And at least it was alomst Lonesome George. These guys look huge!!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Jan 27, 2013 at 2:43 AM

      They were awesome! Thank you for the visit here Ingrid :-)

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    Black Turtle Cove is such a beautiful and calm place!


“I slept on the strange pillows of my wanderlust (Joni Mitchell, "Amelia")”

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