The Tour covers the main spotlights of the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island: El Chato Reserve or Primicias, the Lava Tunnels and Los Gemelos.
The best option to do this tour, is from the airport right after your arrival. To make the most of your time, we can schedule Highlands Tour right after leaving the airport, since the places we are going to visit are halfway from the Itabaca Canal to Puerto Ayora, where the Santa Cruz Island activity is concentrated. Highlands of Santa Cruz is a bit far away from the city so by doing the tour this way you take advantage of the 45 minute trip and stop to see the giant turltes, the lava tunnels and the Gemelos craters which are a very different and must see part of Galapagos.
In our instagram page video we have many videos like this one where you can see a quick summary of the tour.
We will be waiting for you outside the airport with a sign with your name. From there, we will join you in the airport bus(Lobito) to Canal the Itabaca and in the boat that cross the Itabaca channel. The bus from the airport to Itabaca Channel has a price of $5 and the boat to cross Itabaca Channel has a cost of $1. This fees are directly paid to the airport and Itabaca channel personnel.
These is the itinerary of the Highlands Tour in Santa Cruz:
El Chato Reserve and Rancho Primicias
Both Rancho Primicias and El Chato are a private reserve on Santa Cruz Island where there is a large population of Galápagos giant tortoises in their natural and state. Within the reserve, there are natural trails full of vegetation where you can walk and and find along the way the giant tortoises. Inside the reserve you can also enjoy a delicious lunch of typical Ecuadorian food and take pictures with the shell of a giant tortoise.
The entrance fee to El Chato reserve and Rancho Primicias is $5.
Santa Cruz lava tunnels are also part of the attraction of the Reserva el Chato. These tunnels are natural formations of past volcanic eruptions. It is an impressive path created by nature of approximately 2000 meters, but it can only be accessed until a height of 250 meters due to security measures.
Lava Tunnels visit is one of the reasons why Highlands tour is totally worth it. The natural cavern is impressive on the inside. It is humid, so it is recommended to wear sports shoes and walk with care since it can be a bit dark despite the lighting that has been placed.
The view from this point is impressive and you can admire the great dimension of these craters where at some point millions of years ago there was lava.
Here you can see endemic birds flying freely and observe the forest and vegetation as well.
After this tour we will take you to your hotel in Puerto Ayora so you can continue enjoying Santa Cruz Island.