Galapagos Islands Travel Blog

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

San Cristobal Galapagos

The easternmost (and fifth largest) of all the islands is San Cristobal. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the main entry point and is the provincial capital of the Galapagos. Some flights actually arrive on San Cristobal and some tours begin here, although most begin in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. The town is quite pleasant, with laid back atmosphere and unique Afro-Ecuadorian culture.

Galapagos Travel- San Cristobal

A short ride or walk from town provides the opportunity to see the islands’ best and newest visitor center. Very modern and illustrative, it is well worth a visit to learn about the human and natural history of the island. Everything is written in both English and Spanish, and the interactive approach to the displays makes it quite enjoyable.

Another short trail out of town leads to Frigate Bird Hill, where both the greater and the magnificent frigate birds are known to nest. The hill also provides good views of the bay. Northeast of town, past the village of El Progresso, is the highest point on the island, Cerro San Joaquin (2,930 feet); and several miles farther, El Junco, a freshwater lagoon. Not many tours head out this direction, but the trail offers a good opportunity to view the inter island life zones without the heavy traffic of Santa Cruz Island.
The tiny Isla Lobos is about an hour of travel northeast of Puerto Moreno by boat. Although not as spectacular as some of the other stops, it is the site of the main sea lion colonies of San Cristobal. Swimming with sea lion pups in the shallows is a tour highlight for many people.
Farther down the coast another hour or so is the sheer rock outcrop of Leon Dormido, or “Sleeping Lion”. This tiny island has been eroded in half, and boats can pass right through the center if the ocean is calm enough. Just circling around its massive vertical walls is exciting. There is no landing here, but boats will drift around while you snorkel between the rocks.
The marine display is usually fascinating, there’s a good chance of witnessing sharks or even a massive, spotted eagle ray. Punta Pitt and Turtle Bay lie at the north end of San Cristobal. Punta Pitt offers the chance to see all three species of boobies nesting in the same area, and the only place to see the nesting red footed booby. Sea turtles are often found at Turtle Bay. Inland and a good hike away is Los Galapagos, one of the best places to witnesss the giant Galapagos tortoise in its natural environment. Many tours do not have time for the four hour round trip hike into this area, so be sure to inquire if you are interested.

- Article written for the Galapagos Travel blog