Trip Advisor
Review Centre

San Cristobal Island – Galapagos

San Cristobal Island – Galapagos

The furthest east, and consequently one of the oldest islands, San Cristobal is the 5th largest island in Galapagos. Comprised of three or four fused volcanoes, it has an area of 557 km2 or 215 square miles, with a maximum altitude of 730 meters or 2395 feet. It is the first place Charles Darwin went onshore in 1835 during his famous visit and is home to the oldest permanent settlement in Galapagos, thanks to El Junco, a small lake near the top of the island which is the only permanent source of fresh water in Galapagos fed by rainfall and mist up in the humid highlands of the island. The name comes from the Patron Saint of seafarers, St Christopher. It is the only island that is home to all 3 species of booby in Galapagos, Blue-footed Booby, Nazca Booby and Red-footed Booby. It is also home to the the second airport to Galapagos and the sleepy village of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the administrative capital of Galapagos.

Galapaguera Cerro Colorado

Located in the south east of San Cristobal, this area is home to giant tortoise corral, where tortoises are kept in near-natural conditions. The site has been developed to help restore the Giant Tortoise population of the island (which was badly impacted by whalers in past centuries) and provides a great chance to see these magnificent giants up close in a natural habitat with paths covering an area of 900 meters. You will also have great chances of seeing the San Cristobal Mockingbird, Woodpecker Finch and Large and Small Tree Finches here. It is also one of the few places that you can see the delicate Calandrinia galapagosa, a critically endangered plant endemic to San Cristobal.

Activities: Short hike (less than 0.6 mi / 1 km).

Difficulty: Easy

Type of Landing: No landing

Highlights & Animals: Dry vegetation of lowlands. Giant Tortoises, San Cristobal Mockingbird, Darwin Finches

San Cristobal – Leon Dormido

Sometimes called Kicker Rock, Leon Dormido is a huge rock formation near the coast of San Cristobal, an eroded cinder cone with two vertical rocks rising over 150 meters from the ocean, and a favourite spot for tropicbirds along with Great and Magnificent Frigatebirds. You will visit this site by boat and it is a great spot for snorkelling.

Activities: Snorkelling & dinghy ride

Difficulty: Easy

Type of Landing: No landing

Highlights & Animals: Deep water snorkelling: Sharks, tropical fish, turtles, Manta Rays, hammerhead shark, spectacular rock formations, sea birds: Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies & frigatebirds.

Cerro Brujo

This striking eroded tuff cone was one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. It has a beautiful coral sand beach where you can take a leisurely walk (depending on time of year) visited by Brown Pelicans, Blue-footed Boobies, and Swallow-tailed Gulls as well as Marine Iguanas and sea lions. The beauty of this dramatic area can also be explored from the dinghy, exploring caves and looking for sea birds.

Activities: Hike along the beach (1 mi / 1.6 km), dinghy ride, snorkelling & kayaking

Difficulty: Easy walk along the beach

Type of Landing: Wet landing

Highlights & Animals: Beautiful rock formations, sea lions, shore birds, land birds: finches and mockingbirds, snorkelling: sea lions, nice tropical fish, anemones.

Puerto Baquerizo and the Interpretation Centre

The easternmost island in the archipelago, this island has a small town, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and is home to a fantastic interpretation centre, which provides an excellent overview to the islands human history and the conservation work being done to protect it.

Activities: Easy hike (0.2 mi / 0.3 km)

Difficulty: Easy

Type of Landing: Dry landing

Highlights & Animals: Interesting information centre focused on the human history of the islands. Around the centre, finches, mockingbirds and endemic plants

El Junco Lake

Driving up to the highlands of San Cristobal, you take a narrow road up the sides of an extinct volcano and at the summit you are treated to a spectacular view of the El Junco Lagoon. Rainwater and condensation have collected in the caldera since the last ice age, creating this haven for frigatebirds. Travelling up here gives you a glimpse of the islands many vegetation zones and their eco-systems within the island (you need good shoes and a jacket for this visit!).

Activities: Uphill hike (1 mi / 1.6 km)

Difficulty: Easy/moderate

Type of Landing: No landing

Highlights & Animals: Interesting hike to see the only permanent lake of the entire Galapagos. Views of the lake, endemic highland vegetation, Darwin Finches.

Punta Pitt

Located in the northwest of the island, this is a large eroded tuff cone with dramatic volcanic scenery and is home to a large colony of Sea lions, as well as a few Red-footed Boobies, Blue-footed Boobies and Nazca Boobies.

Activities: Uphill hike (0.9 / 1.5 km), dinghy ride, snorkelling, kayaking.

Difficulty: Moderate/difficult

Type of Landing: Wet landing

Highlights & Animals: Wonderful landscape, sea lion colony, three possible species of Boobies. Snorkel: tropical fish, sea lions.

Isla Lobos

A perfect place to swim with playful sea lions and snorkel. This basalt island outcropping lives up to its name of “Sea Lion Island”. As well as the sea lion colony on the beach it is also a nesting place for Blue-footed Boobies.

Activities: Hike (0.5 mi / 0.8 km), dinghy ride, snorkelling

Difficulty: Short but difficult walk.

Type of Landing: Dry landing

Highlights & Animals: Sea lion colony, shore birds, seasonal nesting frigatebirds, Darwin finches. Snorkelling: sea lions, fish.

Frigatebird Hill

A walk up from the town up to this hill at the top where you will be treated to a spectacular view of the white beaches on one side and the roofs of Puerto Baquerizo on the other. The hill is often visited by frigatebirds, giving it its name – both Magnificent and Great Frigatebirds, giving you a chance to try and spot the difference!

Activities: Uphill hike (1 mi / 1.6 km). Snorkelling

Difficulty: Moderate walk

Type of Landing: Dry landing

Highlights & Animals: Frigatebird, San Cristobal Mockingbird, Darwin finches, lowland native forest, spectacular views. Snorkelling: nice tropical fish, reef sharks, parrotfish.

  • Blue Footed Boobie
  • Galapagos Cactus finch
  • Galapagos Sea Lion San Crisotbal Island
  • Galapagos Turtle
  • San Cristobal Giant Tortoise
  • Kicker Rock Galapagos San Cristobal