How to Choose Your Galapagos Island to Call Home
Looking for accommodation in the Galapagos Islands, but not sure where to start? Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela, and Floreana islands each offer comfortable accommodations for your Galapagos vacation, along with their distinct personality and one-of-a-kind natural wonders to ensure your perfect Galapagos adventure. Take a moment to consider what features in both the town life and natural environment you are looking for to make your Galapagos experience all it can be and more.
Santa Cruz Island – Puerto Ayora
Santa Cruz Island is the second-largest in the Galapagos Islands, with Puerto Ayora being its largest town. As a result, the island arguably has the best selection of hotels and amenities in general, yet manages to maintain the sleepy feel of a small port town. In fact, most visitor sites are just a short walk or taxi ride away. The world-renowned Charles Darwin Research Station is just a couple minutes outside of the city center, whereas a short trip into the highlands will bring tourists to the Los Gemelos pit craters, lava tunnels and the natural habitat of the Galapagos giant tortoises. There is also an excellent selection of beautiful beaches, including Tortuga Bay.
San Cristobal Island – Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
Towards the easternmost side of the Galapagos Islands is San Cristobal Island, which is also home to the archipelago’s capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is somewhat smaller than Puerto Ayora, but still offers a variety of accommodations and tours from the island. Furthermore, moving outside of the capital city, tourists can explore a variety of features particular to San Cristobal. One of the most famous of these is Kicker Rock. This pair of volcanic rocks are found just offshore and tower over swimmers at 140 feet tall. Furthermore, several colorful fishes, sharks, and rays often congregate around this structure, making it an excellent dive site. San Cristobal Island also has many beautiful beaches and lookout points, including Puerto Chino and Cerro Tijeretas.
Isabela Island – Puerto Villamil
Isabela Island is the largest in the Galapagos Islands, yet its biggest town, Puerto Villamil with a mere 3,000 residents, has a more peaceful feel than both Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and Puerto Ayora. Puerto Villamil is arguably the most beautiful town in the Galapagos Islands and rests along a palm-lined and white-sand beach. Visitor sites along the western coast of Isabela Island are popular among tourists as the surrounding waters support the northern-most colony of penguins in the world and also offer some of the best dive sites to see whales (approximately 16 species have been identified in this area alone). Additionally, Sierra Negra Volcano offers stunning hikes and beautiful views from the volcanic crater.
Floreana Island – Puerto Velasco Ibarra
Puerto Velasco Ibarra is the only town on Floreana Island and is the perfect way to end your Galapagos adventure. Only a handful of individuals call Puerto Velasco Ibarra home, and while there aren’t many options for hotels, the island is rich in history and stunning scenery. Floreana Island possesses a beautiful range of beaches, from white coral to olivine crystal sand. Additionally, Cormorant Point is known for the Galapagos flamingos and other wading birds that often gather there, and the Galapagos Baroness Viewing offers a number of easy trails to observe flora and fauna. Furthermore, on Post Office Bay tourists can visit what is potentially the oldest international mail system. Keep in mind however, that transportation to and from this island can be limited.