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Cactus on Santiago Island

Santiago Island - Galapagos Travel Guide

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Santiago Island is in the central islands of Galapagos, northwest of Santa Cruz, with impressive volcanoes that form the island and truly breathtaking landscapes of Palo Santo forests that thrive on its slopes. Also called San Salvador island, it is uninhabited but has a history of colonization including an abandoned salt mine that can be seen near the Puerto Egas visitor spot and beach. Galapagos Fur Seals were thought to have gone extinct by 1905, but have since made a dramatic comeback and thrive on Santiago island. Santiago provides habitat for many of the 30-40,000 fur seals that call the Galapagos home and are frequently spotted on the black beach of Puerto Egas. Not sure which of the Galapagos Islands to visit? Get advice from one of our Galapagos travel experts, we're happy to help. 

8 Best Cruises & Tours Visiting Santiago Island for 2023-2024

Top 10 Luxury Cruises & Tours Visiting Santiago Island for 2023-2024

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Luxury West & Central Galapagos Cruise$67706Mar 14, 2023The Galapagos are some of the world’s most famous and beguiling islands the M/C Endemic offers you the perfect opportunity to discover and enjoy …
Western Islands$44006Feb 6, 2023Embark the Alya on this 6-day catamaran cruise of the Western Galapagos Islands, visiting some of the most popular sites including the Tortoise …
Northern Islands$35005Feb 2, 2023Sail to one of the most unique archipelagos in the world on this 5-day Galapagos Islands cruise aboard the Alya catamaran. The Galapagos Islands are …
Northern Galapagos Catamaran Cruise$49495Feb 7, 2023The Ocean Spray luxury catamaran takes you on a 5-day Galapagos Northern Islands cruise, exploring Genovesa, South Plaza, Mosquero, and Santiago. …
West & Central Islands + Genovesa$89908Jan 29, 2023Enjoy an exceptional trip to the West & Central Galapagos Islands as you sail across one of the most magical destinations in the world. Discover the …
Volcanic Wonders$92508Feb 5, 2023On this comprehensive 8-day tour of the Galapagos Islands aboard the M/V Origin, see unusual wildlife such as marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, …
Luxury Central Galapagos Islands Cruise$44904Jan 29, 2023This luxury Galapagos cruise explores the central and eastern islands of the archipelago on the new Endemic Galapagos catamaran. Hike sea-side …
Classic Galapagos$794010Feb 3, 2023Spend 10 days exploring the legendary Galápagos Islands aboard a classic, 96-guest expedition ship, the Endeavour II. Actively experience the …
Private Charter - Genovesa & Central Islands Aboard Petrel$738905Feb 20, 2023Discover highlights of the Galapagos on this 5-day charter cruise. Watch for heron as they hunt for sally lightfoot crab, explore stunning volcanic …
Genovesa & Central Islands$49495Feb 20, 2023Watch for heron as they hunt for sally lightfoot crab on this 5-day cruise. Enjoy a variety of adventures including Buccaneer Cove as you travel …

10 Best Cruise Ships Visiting Santiago Island for 2023-2024

Ship NameMax PassengersFromSummary
Alya16$3500New in 2017, the Alya catamaran offers luxury cruises to the Galapagos Islands. Accommodating just 16 passengers, the Alya boasts 9 spacious cabins …
M/C Elite16$5650Perhaps the most luxurious small yacht in the Galapagos, the new Galapagos Elite set sail in Summer 2019. It has reinvented luxury, comfort and class …
M/Y Passion14$4010Previously a private family vessel, the M/Y Passion accommodates 14 guests and has been completely refurbished to meet the highest standards and …
Grand Majestic16$4545Grand Majestic is the only modern mega-yacht cruising the Galapagos. This elegantly sporty yacht is the fastest in the Islands and offers …
Galapagos Legend100$1842With four decks, this cruise ship is one of the biggest boats in the Galapagos, offering plenty of amenities and features onboard, but still managing …
Ocean Spray16$4949Ocean Spray offers the best performance and comfort for a Galapagos cruise. With an elegant design, the Ocean Spray carries 16 guests on luxurious …
M/C Galapagos Endemic16$4490Cruise the Galapagos Islands aboard the M/C Endemic, a glamorous catamaran that provides guests the style and comfort they need to have an adventure …
Archipel I16$2175The 16-passenger twin-hulled Archipel I catamaran combines comfort and space onboard for the optimal experience on its naturalist and diving cruises …
Natural Paradise16$3245The luxury yacht Natural Paradise was built in 2015 and customized to carry 16 adventurers in comfort and safety through the Galapagos Islands. …
Infinity20$3945Exceeding every prospect the Infinity Luxury Yacht offers high performance, unrivaled comfort, respect for the environment and stunning style to make …

Santiago Island Visitor Spots

Santiago is a central island right between Isabela and Santa Cruz with impressive rock formations and truly breathtaking landscapes.

Sullivan Bay – The landing at Sullivan Bay puts you right on a very young pahoehoe lava flow. As you trek across this distinct rock surface, you will see how the flows have layered and hardened. This is also distinct for the lava-burned vegetation around the periphery and the cracks that formed when some of the magma cooled rapidly. These kind of hikes will give you an up-close look at just how these islands are born.  

Espumilla Beach – This golden beach is tucked in James Bay on the northern side of the island. Snorkelers will delight in the diversity of marine species, from moray eels, to rays and sharks, and even octopi. On shore, the bright red Sally lightfoot crabs dot the beach and attract hungry herons. In addition to the palo santo forest, you will see plenty of marine iguanas and perhaps a nesting sea turtle.

Puerto Egas– Also located in James Bay is this beachfront visitor site. As the tide comes in, impressive grottos fill with water and the fauna comes alive for snorkelers – rays, reef sharks, sea turtles, and marine iguanas are just a few of the wonderful things you will see when you dive. Sea lions, Galapagos hawks, finches, and oystercatchers also call these rock formations their home. If you hike to the end of the beach, you will be at the foot of Sugarloaf Volcano, from which the beach gets its black sand. Also near the beach is El Crater, a saltwater lake during the wet season, but a salt mine during the dry season. Although several mining operations have been attempted here, none have proven successful.

Buccaneer Cove – Before the Galapagos became a popular tourist destination, it was a sanctuary for pirates. Few sites pay homage to this nefarious past as much as Buccaneer Cove, where pirates used to hide out in the cave. Snorkelers will appreciate the clear turquoise waters that house sting rays, turtles, and tropical fish; and there’s a short trail that winds through the mangroves, where the turtles lay their eggs.

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