The beautiful island of Santa Cruz is one of the main islands of the Galapagos. Santa Cruz is the best island to arrange for your lodging while you are visiting the Galapagos as the port town of Puerto Ayora has the largest settlement in the Galapagos. If you are flying to the Galapagos you will only have 2 airport choices, Baltra and San Cristobal. If you are arriving at Baltra airport you will get a land transfer for a short ferry ride to Santa Cruz. Both Tame and Aerogal provide service to the island of Santa Cruz from Quito or Guayaquil.
The town of Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz has the largest and most developed services on the Galapago islands.
Visit Santa Cruz and the Galapagos like a local and avoid expensive tour packages that can cost thousands of dollars.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to see the Galapagos, you can go there like the local Ecuadorians do. The trick is not to book your tours on the internet or tour operators. Follow these tips and you will save a ton of money!
- Fly to Santa Cruz from Guayaquil or Quito, purchasing your own ticket. (Approx. $350 for a round trip from Guayaquil and $450 from Quito depending on month as prices fluctuate.)
- Don’t make any reservations on the internet with tour operators.
- When you arrive go to the towns mentioned above. Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island or Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on Santa Cristobal Island.
- In town walk around or take a taxi to find a simple budget hotel. The New Elizabeth Hotel at Puerto Ayora charges $25 per person a night. There are many locals that rent rooms in their home for $10-15 per night. Look for the signs that say “alquiler” and ask around.
- Once you have your accommodations secured you can go to the port and negotiate a tour with either a travel agency or a mom and pop establishment and get a day tour from $60 to $80 per person per day. Many of them will also include a lunch as part of the tour.
There is so much to do in Santa Cruz and the rest of the islands, so use Santa Cruz as your base of operations and see the Galapagos like the locals and you don’t need to worry about spending a ton of money.