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One of the Galapagos Islands two airports is located here, so San Cristóbal may be either your point of arrival in or departure from the Galapagos.

Amongst the animal and bird highlights are the large sea lion rookery on a coral sand beach just ten minutes from the airport. In addition to sealions, birds such as yellow warblers, frigatebirds, and numerous species of finches can be seen. Frigatebird Hill is the perfect place to see both magnificent and great frigate birds in the same colony.

San Cristóbal’s Tortoise Reserve is an excellent site for viewing the giant tortoise in its natural habitat. Although the walk from the beach to the volcanic cone of Media Luna is approximately five kilometres each way,  most of the species endemic to San Cristóbal can be seen on this hike, including the giant tortoise, lava lizard, gecko, and mockingbird.

Some of the potential landing sites and highlights around San Cristóbal Island are shown below.  There are two kinds of landing: a “dry” landing, where you step from the panga (dinghy) that takes you ashore directly onto rocks or a jetty, and a “wet” landing, where the panga edges into a sandy beach, and you step out into knee-deep water and wade ashore.

Cerro El Brujo (Wizard’s Hill)

Cerro El Brujo (Wizard’s Hill)

Located on the northern coast, this eroded hill and its surroundings present one of the most picturesque beaches in the Galapagos with white powdery sand and an abundance of animals. Its wildlife includes sea turtles, rays, and various types of boobys, while the clear water provides an excellent opportunity to swim and snorkel.

  • Location highlights: Rock formations, Anemones, Sponge coral, Tropical fish, Picturesque white sandy beach
  • Activities: Snorkelling, Walking, Panga ride, Sea kayaking
  • Landing conditions: All times: Wet
  • Physical demand: Gentle

Cerro Tijeretas

Cerro Tijeretas

This hill offers an impressive view of the bay from one side, and the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno from the other. The area is also great to see both magnificent and great frigatebirds, as well as a diverse array of flora. The site also offers safe snorkelling and swimming.

  • Location highlights: Cacti, Red mangroves
  • Activities: Panga ride, Snorkelling, Sea kayaking, Walking (Approximately 2.5km hike)
  • Landing conditions: All times: Dry
  • Physical demand: Gentle

Interpretative Centre & Galapaguera

Interpretative Centre & Galapaguera

Opened in 1998 as part of the “Interpretation and Environmental Education Project”, the Interpretative Centre has informative displays that explain the islands’ natural and human history, and the story of conservation of the islands. The conservation efforts represent the initiative taken to protect the natural environment  and wildlife by controlling the local population and visitor numbers. The centre has an outdoor stadium, audio-visual equipment and meeting rooms.

  • Location highlights: Giant tortoises in captivity
  • Activities: Walking (Short walk)
  • Landing conditions: All times: Dry
  • Physical demand: Gentle

Isla Lobos

Isla Lobos

This island takes its name from the noisy colony sealions that greets your arrival. It also offers great snorkelling opportunities and a chance to see blue-footed and Nazca boobies.

  • Activities: Snorkelling, Walking (Approximately 1km hike), Panga ride
  • Landing conditions: All times: Dry
  • Physical demand: Moderate

Kicker Rock

Kicker Rock

This striking rock formation lies just a couple hours sailing off the western shore of San Cristobal. Rising vertically out of the ocean, its rocks soar for hundreds of metres above the surface, separated by a narrow channel. There is no landing site, but you can explore by snorkelling,  kayaking and scuba diving to see a variety of marine life.

  • Location highlights: Spectacular rock formations
  • Activities: Snorkelling, Panga ride
  • Physical demand: Gentle

Laguna El Junco

Laguna El Junco

This permanent lagoon, located about 700 metres above sea level, is one of the few permanent bodies of freshwater in Galapagos. Frigatebirds can often be seen here washing salt from their feathers, along with white-cheeked pintails and common gallinules. The name comes from a type of plant that is common in this area - called junco.

  • Location highlights: Freshwater lake
  • Activities: Birdwatching
  • Landing conditions: All times: Dry
  • Physical demand: Gentle

Pitt Point

Pitt Point

This headland on the northeastern tip of the island is home to frigatebirds, storm petrels, and all three types of booby: Nazca, blue-footed and red-footed. A steep trail leads up a cliff and into a ravine, passing through an area with rich birdlife. This site is also great for snorkelling and scuba diving.

  • Location highlights: Landscapes
  • Activities: Panga ride, Snorkelling, Sea kayaking, Walking (Approximately 2.5km hike)
  • Landing conditions: All times: Wet
  • Physical demand: Challenging

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: blue-footed booby, magnificent frigatebird, South American sealion, great blue heron, swallow-tailed gull
  • Where: Eastern islands, Galapagos Islands

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Wildlife of Ecuador & the Galapagos

Combine two of South America’s finest wildlife destinations – the Amazon rainforest and the Galapagos Islands. View the outstanding variety of wildlife on walking trails and by boat from a luxury eco-lodge in the Amazon jungle, and cruise the unique Galapagos archipelago for close-up wildlife encounters.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6,945 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

4 day deluxe Eastern Islands cruise

A short trip to four of the Galapagos’ remarkable islands - San Cristóbal, Española, Floreana and Santa Cruz – to see marine iguanas, sealions and marine birds aplenty. Walking trails and panga (dinghy) rides along the rugged coastline afford spectacular views of the islands’ unique landscapes,

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration exc. flights: 4 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £2,175 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

5 day First Class Northern Galapagos cruise

An exploration of the some of the Galapagos’ smaller northern islands, exploring lagoons filled with flamingos on Santa Cruz, colonies of sealions at Rábida and thousands of marine birds on Genovesa. There are plenty of opportunities to view the exceptional wildlife on hikes or panga rides.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration exc. flights: 5 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £3,570 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

8 day Superior Southern Galapagos sailer

This trip visits the archipelago’s smaller islands, exploring them by panga (dinghy) and on foot. You’ll discover noisy sealion colonies leisurely wandering around, fiery coloured iguanas, blue-footed boobies and Sally Lightfoot crabs surrounding the rocks, and a wealth of colourful birdlife.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration exc. flights: 8 days
  • Price exc. flights: From £3,110 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Recommended cruise vessels:

Anahi

Anahi is a power catamaran yacht, which provides great stability, and is the ideal vessel for passengers with little or no experience at sea. Eight cabins equipped with portrait windows, air-conditioning, lower berths, and a private bathroom, provide comfortable accommodation for Galapagos cruises.

Nemo II

The Nemo II is a first class sail catamaran accommodating a maximum of 12 passengers in six tastefully designed cabins, each slightly different in size and configuration. There is a common area both inside and out, as well as a small sun deck complete with lounge chairs, and a small bar.

Santa Cruz II

The Santa Cruz II is an elegant vessel, which carries 90 passengers in 50 modern cabins. Air conditioned throughout, facilities across the five spacious decks include indoor and outdoor dining, a lounge bar, library, a gym and two hot tubs overlooking the ocean. Activities include kayaking and snorkelling.