SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island (Galápagos). Given the name of the Holy Cross in Spanish, its English name derives from the British vessel HMS Indefatigable. It has an area of 986 square kilometers (381 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 864 meters (2834 ft).

Charles Darwin Station

Is located on Santa Cruz Island; the guided tour thru the station’s visiting sites is an educational experience. The visitor can enter the giant tortoise corrals and have a close look to this ancient giants Tortoises of this corral are accustomed to humans; it is an excellent spot for visitors to be photographed with them. There is a breeding center for the giant tortoise and land iguanas.

Charles Darwin Station - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

Highlands

Is a 40 min drive to the highlands of Santa Cruz from Puerto Ayora, the visiting site is a private ranch where the tortoise are on the wild, there is some mud small lagoons where the giant tortoise gather. This is a great site to see the tortoise at their natural environment.

Highlands - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

Twin Craters

This area has received much use in recent years due to several trails created that lead to the two craters. Guides are asked to use only the National Park trail to avoid further erosion and deterioration of the area. In 1989 a circular path around the largest crater was opened, which passes through the interior of the Scalesia forest, an excellent place to observe land birds, especially the woodpecker finch and the vermillion flycatcher.

Twin Craters - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

Black Turtle Cove

Is located on Santa Cruz Island conform by a red mangrove lagoon is a nursery for many sharks and rays. It is also a great location to observe mating sea turtles, there are large groups of resting white-tip reef sharks, schools of golden rays and spotted eagle rays, and a few juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks and black-tip sharks.

Black Turtle Cove - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

Lava Tunnels

Travelling inland on the road to Baltra, just outside town on the left there is a large lava tube, about the size of a London subway; it is not advisable to go inside, as the roof looks unstable. The road leads up to a farming community of Bellavista. As you turn right and continue past the plaza, there are more lava tubes in a private farm; follow the signs to “los tuneles?. Another trail leads northeast out of the square to the highlands proper, within the boundaries of the national park and the miconia vegetation zone. Not many Galapagos Cruises visit this place, so make sure you ask your tourism operator if you want a Galapagos Cruise that visits this place.

Lava Tunnels - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

Tortuga Bay

This site has one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galápagos It is possible to get there by dingy or walking on a trail from Pto. Ayora. The long beach is composed of fine white sand and is backed by an extensive area of sand dunes. A narrow point of land divides the beach, creating a protected area which is good for swimming. The exposed beach should not be used for swimming, since offshore currents have been known to cause problems for swimmers and even some fatalities.

Tortuga Bay - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

Garrapatero Beach

The site visit Garrapatero is in the southeast coast of the island of Santa Cruz. You can enter this sector, both by land and by sea. Besides being used with a place to visit for tourists coming to the Galapagos, is also used by the community of Santa Cruz Island as a site for recreational activities. Due to the frequency with which this site is visited, they built a house, the same that has two bathrooms and a room for the Rangers. The access road to this site visit, was built in coordination with the Provincial Government of Galapagos. You can see a lot of species of terrestrial and wading birds, among which the Darwin finches and Flemish respectively.

Garrapatero Beach - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

Cerro Mesa

This is the first ecological reserve in the province of Galapagos, owners give it its own category trying to properly manage their natural resources but adapting them to national conservation goals. The consolidation of the area is planned in 2 stages, first, their presence in the subsystem private areas of Ecuador, as stipulated in Article 405 of the Constitution of the State and then their inclusion in the land of the Cantón Santa Cruz.

Cerro Mesa - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

El Chato

The reserve comprises of two areas, La Caseta and Cerro Chato. The area is open: no guide is required, but it is recommended to take one, because it is easy to get lost in this sector. In recent years two people have been lost, and one, with fatal results.

The trail starts in Santa Rosa is surrounded by tall grass and flows the boundaries of some farms. Depending on the season it can be muddy. The rocks are slippery. Be careful!

El Chato - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

Dragon Hill

Is located in northwestern Santa Cruz Island, and consists of a trail that runs through three different environments. At this visiting site you can find vegetation of typical the intertidal zone and dry zone, the beach is very rocky, at high tide it’s a nice place for snorkeling, there is a lagoon where Flamingos can be seen during the driest season.

Dragon Hill - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

Bachas Beach

Is located in the northern part of Santa Cruz Island, it consists of two beaches that have a combined length of about 1 km long. The name Las Bachas originates from the Second World War, when the American army left two barges discarded on the beach, the first settlers could not pronounce the name correctly in English, which resulted in Las Bachas Beach. The predominant vegetation is of the coastal zone. It represents one of the main nesting sites for sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) on Isla Santa Cruz. It is a good place to see flamingos, as well as migratory and aquatic birds.

Bachas Beach - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters

Carrion Point

Near to the eastern mouth of the Itabaca Channel between Baltra Island and Santa Cruz is the Galapagos dive site known as Punta Carrion. This site is often dived prior to the big steam north to Darwin and Wolf and so may represent your first real dive after your check out dive.

This may be your introduction to some features of Galapagos diving such as rocky slopes where the boulder strewn reef is only occasionally interspersed with sandy patches. You will also see some almost ever-present creatures such as sea lions, creole fish and blue striped sea slugs.

Carrion Point - Santa Cruz Island - Galapagos Luxury Charters