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Hoping for a snack, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island

Puerto Ayora Tours & Travel

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Right in the middle of the Galapagos Islands is Santa Cruz, home of the buzzing town of Puerto Ayora. As the largest city in the Galapagos Islands with a population around 18,000 people, this is one of the central hubs of activity. There are a number of great hotels, hostels, restaurants, bars, and stores for those hoping to enjoy a land-based tour, and it's also the main port for many of the yachts that cruise these enchanting islands. From here, it's just a stone's throw to some of Santa Cruz's best attractions, like the Charles Darwin Research Station, the forested highlands, Los Gemelos craters, El Chato Ranch, and the sun-kissed beaches. It's also just a short drive from the airport on the neighboring Baltra Island. Much of the distinct artistic Galapagos culture is also based in this active island town. 

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Although this bustling 18,000-person city is not the capital of the Galapagos Islands, it is the largest town in the archipelago and therefore home to many great attractions. 
  • El Chato Reserve – Here you will find the signature giant tortoises roaming freely through their natural highland habitat.
  • Lava Tunnels – Formed when the flowing surface lava hardened and the magma beneath continued to flow, these hollow tubes can sometimes extend for hundreds of meters like other-worldly caves, some of which are even open to exploration.
  • The Beach at Tortuga Bay – Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the warm equatorial sun as the turquoise water crawls up and down the golden sand.
  • Charles Darwin Research Station – Here you will learn more about the different conservation projects that the National Park does and see giant tortoises being bred and raised in the safety of captivity until they are mature enough to be released in their natural habitat.
  • Los Gemelos – Hike through a dense scalesia forest to these giant sinkholes. 

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