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Santa Cruz Island

It has land surface of 985 km2 with an elevation of 873 meters. Colonized since the 1920’s, it is the second largest island of the Archipelago. The sea constantly rushes against the cliff forming a white foam. Sea lions rest on the white or golden sand together with the aquatic iguanas. There is a forest of gigantic trees, luxurious green mangroves, and salty lagoons full of rosy flamingos. This island has all the plant zones, ranging from coast to pampas. Santa Cruz has nine of the thirteen Darwin’s Finch species.

Puerto Ayora

Natural beauty, its central location and tourist amenities are what make of Puerto Ayora the hub of the Galapagos Island. It is the populated part of the Island, is the most important harbor of the Archipelago.
Although many tourists come for just a few hours to visit the Charles Darwin Station, the various activities, restaurants and services make this likable town a destination rather than a place to pass through. Marine iguanas lounge on the dock amidst unloaded cargo while boobies and pelicans plunge into the turquoise waters of Academy Bay. The headquarters of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Station are also located in Santa Cruz.

The Highlands

Santa Cruz has all the vegetation zones. Here you can see the contrast, from the arid coastal zone to the remarkably refreshing highlands. The humid zones provided some of the drinking water consumed in town. The highlands house unusual trees and ferns, colorful land birds, and healthy population of giant tortoises. Sudden rains are common so bring a light jacket and a plastic bag for your camera.

El Chato

This is an area protected by Galapagos National Park Reserve where you can observe the giant tortoises in the wild. It is also a good area for observing land birds like finches, flycatchers, owls, and white-cheeked pintail ducks.

Lava Tunnels

This was created during a lava flow; as the outer lava cooled and the inner lava continued flowing. They are impressive in their size and length. They give you the feeling of being inside a volcano. We visit “Primicias”, a private farm that is open to public to watch the lava tubes.

Bachas Beach

This is very popular for swimming and snorkeling. There are small lagoons behind the beaches where flamingos and great herons might be seen.

Cerro Dragon or Dragon Hills

Or Dragon Hill, named the large land iguanas that once thrived here, is home to a brackish lagoon, where the greater flamingo sometimes appears.

Black Turtle Cove , also a popular principal or terminal cruise tour site, is a shallow inlet surrounded by mangroves, which provide protection for juvenile marine creatures. From the dinghy, visitors can see black- and white-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, golden cow rays, spotted eagle rays, and, on the rare occasion, juvenile hammerhead sharks. Seabirds, like pelicans and blue-footed boobies, also come here to feed.

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