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San Cristobal Island

San Cristobal is the fifth-largest islands (558 km2) and lies on the southeast extreme of the archipelago. Rapid development of tourist and educational facilities, as well as the existence of an airport, has caused island visitation to grow in recent years. San Cristobal boasts the only freshwater lagoon in the archipelago, beautiful beaches, amazing snorkeling and scuba-diving opportunities, and some of the best surfing spots in the archipelago.

The island also provides an interesting socio-environmental element missing from other islands. Visitors interested in the human component of the Galapagos Islands can see colonial architecture, visit organic coffee plantations and other agricultural centers, and even dabble in local politics in the provincial capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, is the capital and administrative center of the Galapagos, and has the second-largest population in the archipelago after Puerto Ayora.

Day-trips to various island, offshore, and marine sites are available and ca be arranged through travel agencies and dive centers located in town. Taxis provide fairly inexpensive and reliable transportation and are often a good alternative to buses that run from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to the village of EL Progreso. Some boats begin their tours here, and periodic closings of the Baltra airport for cleaning or maintenance can cause tourist activity to shift to San Cristobal. As a result, visitor services and facilities are constantly improving.

The Galapagos National Park Interpretation Center was inaugurated in 1998, and is located on the northeast side of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, has a series of interactive exhibits providing information about the history and biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands.

Walking trails from the interpretation center lead to Las Tijeretas that provides a spectacular view of the bay below and the town behind, as well as snorkeling and swimming opportunities and possible glimpses of the two species of frigate bird, and Playa Cabo de Horno is a white-sand beach at the northern end of town that offers swimming and snorkeling opportunities, sport facilities and beautiful views.

In addition to Cabo del Horno, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno also has some excellent public beaches. Playa man is a beautiful white-sand beach sith volleyball courts, a view of the bay and swimming and snorkeling opportunities. The town also boasts two excellent surfing spot; Carola Point and el Canon.

Another popular attraction is la Loberia. Accessed via a long trail beginning at the west end of town, visitors can watch the antics of a playful sea lion colony and enjoy the nice landscape views.

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