"The town on the bay" Puerto Ayora by toonsarah

Puerto Ayora Travel Guide: 69 reviews and 531 photos

Lonesome no more

The small town of Puerto Ayora is situated on Academy Bay, on the south coast of Santa Cruz, and is the most populous town in the Galápagos Islands, with over 12,000 inhabitants. For us, our visit here was the first time for five days that we had walked on pavements, or been among more than twenty other people!

But you could hardly call this a large town – it just felt that way after our recent experiences. From a visitor’s perspective it consist mainly of a single long street running parallel to the sea, lined with small shops, bars and restaurants, and a few hotels.

If you are on a Galápagos cruise a visit to Puerto Ayora provides an opportunity to shop for souvenirs, pick up emails and VT messages, and maybe to eat and drink on dry land for a change. If you don’t want to cruise the islands but would prefer a land-based holiday, there are a number of hotels here to suit most budgets, and day trips can be arranged to the nearer islands.

We only spent a few hours in town. It was enough to enjoy a very good coffee (at the centrally-located Il Giardino), buy a couple of small souvenirs and postcards, and to take some photos of the activity at the lively fish market in the middle of town – activity that was at least as attractive to the local pelicans and Galápagos sea lions as it was to us!

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 Charles Darwin Research Centre.

And when you have finished your visit to Puerto Ayora, do continue to the next island on our itinerary, Española

  • Last visit to Puerto Ayora: Nov 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (6)

Comments (4)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    I thought George must have been a Giant Tortoise. In South Australia, a Orangutan named George had "film star" status. They now have a memorial to him as everybody loved watching his silly antics. I think is those Pelicans at the fish market were Aussie ones, the fish on the scales probably would have been gone, ours are pretty cheeky and not scared!

    • balhannah's Profile Photo
      Mar 14, 2013 at 11:01 PM

      Sorry Sarah. My first comment didn't show. It did when I posted the second one, grrrrrr!

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Mar 15, 2013 at 3:29 AM


      Thanks for visiting some more of my Equador pages Dee - I appreciate all the comments and ratings

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    I wondered who George was, now I know! I think if it were Aussie Pelicans at that fish market, they would have grabbed that fish from the scales. Ours are pretty cheeky!

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    :-)) Lovely little village. I think I would still have some ... hestitation to enter the research centre, given how much we were almost tortured at school with Darwin's finches. But... I'd enter of course :-)

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Jan 27, 2013 at 2:44 AM

      Luckily for you the centre is more focused on giant tortoises than finches. The birds happen to drop by, of course, but I don't think they form any part of their work or the exhibits lol

    • Trekki's Profile Photo
      Jan 27, 2013 at 3:11 AM

      This is good news :-)) Well, I also overcame my "tragic school memories" ages ago when I visited Lago Trasimeno and Hannibal... so I will survive also the finches, especially if they are not centre of attention there :-)

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    The fish market is an interesting place to stop at for a while, especially as there are not only Pelicans, but also Sea Lions waiting for left overs.

    • toonsarah's Profile Photo
      Dec 28, 2012 at 2:09 AM

      Thank you for visiting this and many others of my Galapagos pages Malena :-)


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

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 0 7
Forum Rank:
0 0 0 6 4

Badges & Stats in Puerto Ayora

  • 6 Reviews
  • 27 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 241PageViews

Have you been to Puerto Ayora?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Puerto Ayora

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (12)