Summary: What is there to do in San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos? This post will give you some information about the island and what tours are available. If you liked that so far, follow us on Twitter or join our Facebook Page.
San Cristobal is one of the few inhabited islands in the archipelago, so you can actually stay there. You will find plenty of hotels (though we found them more expensive than those in Santa Cruz). The island is less populated and a lot less busy than Santa-Cruz. We also found more wildlife (especially the sea lions, which are everywhere—one could almost find one lying on the chairs of the restaurants!).
You may want to consider buying Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands (Country Guide)
We didn’t visit all the places in San Cristobal because we only stayed two days (our last two days in Galapagos, but definitely not the least!) Here is what we did:
This is a beautiful beach where you can swim and snorkel. The name of the beach means “the sea lions beach,” but we found many more sea lions downtown than on the beach (maybe they are bored and want more action!)
We took a taxi from the main pier as we didn’t have much time and didn’t know the distance. It cost us $10. The beach is not that far if you like to walk and have time.
This is also a beautiful beach, but you have to take a taxi ($30). You can either ask the taxi driver to wait or come back to pick you up whenever you want. Note that there are no vendors, restaurants, or cafes in this area, and you will have to bring all your supplies with you. Just onshore, you can see marine turtles or stingrays. Also on this beach you will have the chance to climb some rocks and be close to a few blue-footed boobies, which is a good opportunity for taking some great close-up photos at this great observation point.
Like most of the beaches in the Galapagos, it’s rare to find a shaded place, so bring your own sunglasses, hat, and sunblock to protect yourself from sunburns.
The pier of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (principal town in San Cristobal) is full of sea lions. There is a small beach where they come and lie, especially at sunset. Be aware that although the scene is incredible, the smell is very strong! It’s also a great place for close-up shots and observation.
There are other places you can visit on the island, with many things to see (giant turtles, lagoon, volcano), but we didn’t have enough time to visit them.
The second day, we took a tour to the Kicker Rock, and that was absolutely the best day of our stay in the Galapagos! This is a tour that will interest divers and snorkelers. We stopped three times for diving and snorkeling. The first time, in the morning, we swam with sea lions (they don’t smell in the water!) and saw plenty of different fish, including a nesting octopus and stingrays. This first stop was also the check-dive for the divers, and we also managed to see some frigate birds, with their inflated red throat pouches (as they were attracting females in their breeding season).
The second stop was at the Kicker Rock itself, and that was the best snorkel ever for us. We swam with marine turtles and plenty of reef sharks!!! We went then to a very beautiful beach to have lunch (a good one!), whereupon we went back for another dive and snorkel at the Kicker Rock. We (the snorkelers) were very lucky to see some hammerhead sharks, and as in the morning we also saw plenty of turtles and reef sharks! This was definitely an unforgettable day.
We highly recommend San Cristobal Island to anyone planning a trip to the Galapagos—especially the tour to the Kicker Rock, which can also be done from Santa-Cruz.