10 Things to Do in Santa Cruz That You Shouldn't Miss

December 29, 2017 Randal Brittian

How often do you get the chance to walk through a tunnel of lava? Created by the flowing and cooling process of liquid magma, the underground lava tubes of Santa Cruz are simply breathtaking. The most popular is the Tunnel of Love, so named for the heart-shaped hole in the ceiling. Cool down with a splash in the fresh waters of Puerto Ayora, snorkel at Tortuga Bay or the mangrove-lined Garrapatero Beach and get friendly with the giant natives at the El Chato Tortoise Reserve.
Restaurants in Santa Cruz

1. Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay

South-West of the town of Puerto Ayora, 200350, Ecuador +91 96000 17031
Excellent
75%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay

Reviewed By Escape-overseas - Stevenage, United Kingdom

After a long walk along the boardwalk from the town, possibly 45mins. we were greeted by an expanse of fine sand wrapping atound the bay, punctuated by the occasional person and the Marine Iguana.
What a beautiful beach! Worth the walk there and back, but best start early in the bay before the heat of the day and the sun reaches over head.

2. Reserva El Chato

Isla Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador
Excellent
64%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Reserva El Chato

Reviewed By Varga Z

This place is great to observe turtles in their natural habitat. You can see turtles at Charles darwin station too but it's not the same experience. Here it is like Easter egg hubt, you walk in the grass and bumm, you'll find a turtle if you are lucky. We were lucky enought to see all sizes of turtles in all situations, eating, mating, sleeping, swimming, walking, relaxing etc.
Pretty cool experience

3. Rancho Primicias

El Chato Area, 200350, Ecuador
Excellent
65%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 161 reviews

Rancho Primicias

Reviewed By nycnyuguy - New York City, New York

This is a great site to see in the Galapagos. There are many tortoises in the park just roaming around. Also many guava trees.. There is also the lava tunnel. A nice way to spend a little time in the Galapagos.

4. Santa Cruz Fish Market

Puerto Ayora, Ecuador +91 44 6531 5613
Excellent
58%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 557 reviews

Santa Cruz Fish Market

Reviewed By Escape-overseas - Stevenage, United Kingdom

What an unexpected pleasure. Fish are off loaded here throughout the day, with great expectation from the seals, waiting on the dock, together with the Pelicans and Frigate birds waiting nearby.
A hive of activity and local wildlife - a must visit location and all for free.

5. Las Grietas

Trail From West of Finch Bay Eco Hotel, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador +593 2-222-5085
Excellent
57%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Las Grietas

Reviewed By Escape-overseas - Stevenage, United Kingdom

A water taxis ride from the harbour for 80 cents takes you across the water for a 20 min hike, past salt marshes and Iguana nesting spots, skirting a small beech, to the timber trellis that leads down to the cool waters within this small canyon.
We visited over the weekend and, whilst busy with local people, it presented a relatively quiet opportunity for a refreshing swim. The waters were cool, but a lot warmer than I had anticipated - pleasantly so. Nice little spot to visit during your stay in Santa Cruz.

6. El Garrapatero

NE of Puerto Ayora 19 km, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador +593 5-252-6189
Excellent
51%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 612 reviews

El Garrapatero

Reviewed By Renato C

Visiting this beach was one of our best ideas while staying at the Galapagos. It is a lovely place away from the noise from downtown. The beach is clean and the view is just amazing.

7. Galeria Aymara

Av. Charles Darwin, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador +593 5-252-6868
Excellent
66%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 73 reviews

Galeria Aymara

Jewelry & latin american art and craftwork

Reviewed By CaroLivesToTravel - Delray Beach

The work is beautiful and unique. I loved that it represents a wide selection of artists and areas in South America. Be ready to pay, these pieces are hand-made.

8. Laguna las Ninfas

Parque Nacional Galapagos, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador
Excellent
40%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
21%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 369 reviews

Laguna las Ninfas

Reviewed By apayingcustomer27 - San Francisco

This is a hidden gem. It’s literally 3-4 mins walk from the hustle and bustle of the strip and the harbour yet is so quiet and calm it’s incredible. The water is crystal clear and you can see the turtles and fish swimming beneath you. You can’t swim or snorkel in it but that doesn’t matter. When we arrived we saw two people Reading books and two couples in conversation. It’s that sort of place. The boardwalk around the lake doesn’t go all the way around so you’ll have to come back the way you came but that’s an irrelevance. A beautiful place and well worth an hour of your time.

9. Charles Darwin Research Station

Galapagos Islands | Charles Darwin Avenue, Puerto Ayora 200350, Ecuador +593 5-252-6146
Excellent
35%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
25%
Poor
7%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 2 reviews

Charles Darwin Research Station

Headed by a team of more than two hundred scientists, educators, research volunteers and support staff, this world-wide foundation is dedicated to preserving the Galapagos ecosystems.

Reviewed By snorkelingfan46 - Ridgefield, Connecticut

This was one of our stops on our multi-island visit to the Galapagos, and it one of the most informative underpinnings of the history and future of animal life on the Islands, the giant tortoises in particular. The Center's principal activity is re-growing the tortoise population was devastated by man and man's introduction of alien life (goats, rats, etc.) that further impacted the tortoises' habitats. A tribute is there for Lonesome George, the last example of the Isla Santa Cruz subspecies that died in 2012. The center is an easy 10-15 minute walk from town and can be toured in 1-2 hours. Definitely a must-see for anyone who has traveled this far to experience the animal life of the Galapagos.

10. Lava Tunnel

Near Rancha Primicias, 200350, Ecuador +91 44 6531 5613
Excellent
33%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
20%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 250 reviews

Lava Tunnel

Reviewed By katjacob - Atlanta, Georgia

This tunnel was a neat experience if you are visiting the tortoise reserve but I wouldn't drive up just for this. The tunnel was cool but the floor could get slippery in places and at one point you have to slither on your belly to continue on down the tunnel. It was a little scary.

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