The Galápagos Islands are a truly magical place. They deserve a spot on every adventure traveler’s bucket list for their gorgeous landscapes and world renown wildlife.
San Cristóbal, Galápagos is not the most famous island of the archipelago, but it is certainly special. It is the easternmost island and was formed by a number of volcanos that melded together before going extinct. It was the first island the Darwin ever visited when he first came to the Galápagos.
While visiting the Galápagos, we had the chance to explore four different islands and each of them had something special to offer. San Cristóbal, Galápagos was easily one of our favourites. We spend a lot of time exploring both on land and below the sea and can highly recommend a visit for anyone who’s up for an adventure.
Things To Do on San Cristóbal Island
Admire the Sea Lions
When visiting the island you are bound to see a few sea lions as San Cristobal Island has the largest colony of sea lions in all of the Galapagos. They quite often are found dominating the beaches, docks and old boats around the island.
If you are up for the adventure and want to get up close and personal with some of these friendly creatures you can even go for a swim with them!
Explore the Island on a Bike
Biking was one of our main activities on San Cristóbal Island. It’s a great way to get a new perspective on the island that most people never see while traveling via bus or cruise ship.
On your San Cristóbal, Galápagos biking trip, you can pedal your way through the high coffee farms. This is one of the most under the radar attractions on San Cristóbal Island. Another great option is to bike downhill from La Soledad lookout point above Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Biking on San Cristóbal Island is a great way to explore and with few cars and some dedicated bike paths, the island allows some great cycling. We highly recommend doing so when you visit San Cristóbal, Galápagos.
Go Stand-Up Paddleboarding
If you want to see San Cristóbal Island’s surrounding ocean from a different angle, try a stand-up paddleboarding tour.
You’ll get to go at an easy pace around ocean coves and calm bays, all the while side by side with playful sea lions, dolphins, and other wildlife. If you’re looking for something that moves a little quicker, try surfing or kayaking as well.
Snorkel and Scuba Dive
The Galápagos Islands are known for their mindblowing biodiversity and nowhere is this more prominent than in the ocean. World class diving and snorkelling can be found all over the archipelago, but San Cristóbal, Galápagos has some really unique sites.
Kicker Rock is one such spot. This fantastic, towering rock formation juts out of the sea off the coast. It’s even more exciting below the surface where hammerheads, manta rays, and sea lions all gather and play. This is one of the best dive sites in all of the Galápagos.
Another great dive site is Whale Rock where you can see large schools of fish, rays, and sea turtles. This is dive suited for all levels and one of the most popular on San Cristóbal Island.
In a place as green as San Cristóbal, Galápagos, it would be crazy not to lace up your boots and hit the trail. There are a number of great hiking routes on the island such as Crater Lagoon, a large volcano lake high up on the island.
Another awesome option is Punta Pitt, a difficult but rewarding hike on the northeastern tip of the island. Completing this hike will give you unrivalled views of the sea and coastline below.
How To Get to San Cristobal Island
In order to reach San Cristóbal Island, you’ll need to fly into the main airport in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the island’s main town. There are daily flights from both Quito and Guayaquil, Equador. The island can also be reached by cruise ship or diving liveaboard boat.
Best Hotels in San Cristóbal, Galápagos
There are a few accommodation options on the island, but we recommend the following:
- For the perfect combination of comfort and sustainability, book your stay at the Galápagos Eco Friendly Lodge, a family run hotel on San Cristóbal Island. The Galapagos Eco-Friendly Lodge has been certified as an eco-hotel by the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism and was awarded the GreenLeader Platinum level status by TripAdvisor. On the property, you’ll find colourful rooms, views of the sea, and a quirky garden area. This is our top pick of San Cristóbal, Galápagos hotels.
- At the BlueBay Galápagos Planet Hotel, you’ll find a warm and bright style that welcomes you in. This three-star hotel is a great balance between affordability and luxury, making it a great option for mid-range travelers.
- If you’re looking for something slightly more upscale, try the Arena Blanca Eco Hotel on San Cristóbal, Galápagos. With such amenities as an outdoor pool, spa, and elegant restaurant, you’ll be hard pressed to find another hotel on San Cristóbal Island that offers such a pleasant stay while still being kind to the environment.
Best Restaurants on Sal Cristobal Island
Calypso is an Ecuadorian style restaurant is right on the water and is best known for its ginger coconut seafood platter. Calypso has a wide variety of different seafood dishes as well as pizza, burgers, cakes, and more.
Cuencan Taste is the best spot in town for baked goods, afternoon snacks, and sinful sweets. Make sure to give their cinnamon bread a try.
El Descanso Marinero
El Descanso Marinero is another fantastic restaurant in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno serving up freshly caught seafood. Best of all, you can eat it outside in their inviting garden area.
Where Else to Visit in the Galápagos Islands
Isabela Island is the largest island in the Galápagos and is well worth your visit. While there, enjoy the magnificent beaches, hike the volcanos, and pay a visit to the giant tortoises.
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island is the most developed of all the Galápagos Islands and is the home of Darwin’s famous research center. Spend a couple of days here to explore the ecological reserves, lava tunnels, and colourful markets.
Floreana Island (Santa Maria Island)
Floreana Island is the longest inhabited island in the Galápagos. Visit Pirate and Whaler Caves and enjoy the coastline from a stand-up paddleboard while you’re there.
San Cristóbal, Galápagos might not get the same amount of tourists as some of the other nearby islands, but in our opinion, you absolutely should not miss it! We had an amazing time exploring San Cristóbal Island by bike, paddleboard, and snorkel, and would not hesitate to recommend a visit to anyone traveling to the Galápagos.
Have you ever been to the Galápagos Islands? What would you most like to do on San Cristóbal, Galápagos?
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