Santa Cruz Island is known for sandy beaches like El Garrapatero and Tortuga Bay, also for the famous Charles Darwin Research Station where they have a turtles breeding program for endangered giant tortoises, in the Highlands you can visit the El Chato Reserve where you can see the tortoises living in the wild, also in the same property you can pass underground through a lava tunnel, in Santa Cruz its easy to find sea turtles, land and marine Iguanas.
Area: 986 km²
Elevation: 864 m
Santa Cruz is an island in Ecuador’s Galápagos National Park and Puerto Ayora is the town on the island, you can access by air through the airport in Baltra and then crossing the Itabaca channel by boat.
Tortuga Bay is a beautiful beach with white sand and is named after the nesting site for the marine turtles, is located toward the west of Puerto Ayora, around 50 minutes walking, at the entrance, there is a trail of 2.8 Km, along the trail you can see a lush forest of Opuntia cactus and Incense trees, many lava lizards appear on the way, at the end of the trail a beautiful white sandy beach with powerful waves will appear at the horizon, this is “Playa Brava” that means Brave Beach where you can see Marine Iguanas laying on the sand and strong waves of turquoise water, you can swim there with caution because of the strong currents ideal for surfers. From there you can keep walking to the right to the end of “Playa Brava” cross a trail over lava rocks and find the “Playa Mansa” that means calm Beach where you can lay on the beach and enjoy yourself, you can snorkel and may be able to see some White Tipped Sharks that get very close to you and many Marine Iguanas, don’t forget to put a lot of sunblock and insect repellent as there are some big mosquitoes.
Las Grietas is on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands. It’s a place you can go without a guide, unlike many of the other areas on the Galapagos. From the pier, you will need to take a taxi across Academy Bay to Angermeyer Point, whereby the way there is a great restaurant with delicious food and awesome views, then down a path which takes you out by a salt lake and across lava rock, and then through a small wooded area, Then after passing la Playa de los Alemanes, you arrive to Las Grietas that are spectacle lava crevices filled with green crystal clear water where you can snorkel, swim and jump from the cliff, hiking sandals, snorkel, and a waterproof camera is recommended to bring there.
The Charles Darwin Research Station
The Charles Darwin Research Station is located at the east of Puerto Ayora You can visit the Turtles Breeding Center, Land Iguanas, and where was the house of the Lonesome George the only male Pinta Island Tortoise, he was known as the rarest creatures in the word, and is an important symbol for conservation efforts.