San Cristóbal, Ecuador
San Cristóbal is the fifth largest island in the Galápagos. This islands offers easy access to snorkeling and beach sites, and is also home to some of the best surfing in the Galápagos. Geologically, San Cristóbal is one of the oldest islands in the Galápagos. The main town here is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital city of the Galápagos and the administrative center for the Galápagos National Park service. With only 6,000 residents, the town has a relaxed vibe that is a nice change in atmosphere if coming from Puerto Ayora. Tours and cruises depart from the harbor here. There are several beaches and hiking trails within walking distance from the town center—certain trails provide travelers with an opportunity to visit lookouts that boast beautiful views of the archipelago.
Just outside of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the island’s airport, San Cristóbal Airport (SCY), which connects the island to the mainland. Flying into Santa Cruz and departing from San Cristóbal, or vice versa, is also an option for travelers who are on tight schedules and don’t want to retrace their steps.
La Loberia is a stretch of rocky coastline just outside of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. This site provides a good opportunity for observing a large colony of sea lions and birds. Another good place to see these animals is at Isla Lobos, which is a 30-minute boat ride from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
León Dormido is a massive rock formation that extends vertically out of the sea and is absolutely teeming with wildlife. Along the cliff walls, several species of bird, such as frigates and blue-footed boobies, can be seen nesting. Beneath the surface, parrot fish, sea turtles, rays and sharks are frequent visitors to León Dormido. Snorkelers can pass through one of the island's narrow channels or cruise along the perimeter walls. This site is often visited on day tours. It’s a short, one-hour boat ride from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to León Dormido.
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