Highlands Santa Cruz Tour

  • Duration: 3 hours (aprox.)

  • Track: El Chato/Primicias, Lava Tunnels and Los Gemelos

  • Certified bilingual National Park Guide

  • This tour requires a minimum of 2 people

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:

This tour does not include the airport bus $5, the airpot boat taxi to cross the channel $1 and the entrance Fee to El Chato or El Rancho Primicias $5

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.

bahia rosa blanca, tour 360 galapagos
bahia rosa blanca, tour 360 galapagos

Lava Tunnels

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.

Los Gemelos Santa Cruz

Los Gemelos in Santa Cruz are two craters that were formed when the islands were active and had a lot of volcanic activity that generated several eruptions. Los Gemelos are two large subsidence with very green areas. It is not allowed to eat in this area since the seeds can fall in the crater and germinate, as well as it is not recommended to get close to the edges of the crater.

bahia rosa blanca, tour 360 galapagos

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.


Payment methods

  • Credit Card (6% extra charge)

  • Bank Transfer to local bank in Ecuador or Spain

  • Cash in our offices

  • TransferWise  ($10 charge)


Highlands Santa Cruz Tour Track

Do you have any questions?

Contact us! galapagoslowcost@gmail.com

Tour details & recommendations

  • It is recommended to take this tour just after leaving airport as it is on the road to Puerto Ayora. The upper part of the island is far from Puerto Ayora and  takes time to get there.
  • Important to wear sports shoes, sun cap, water and sunscreen.
  • It is not allowed to touch the turtles and you have to maintain the required distance. Do not alter your ecosystem!
  • Tour availability: all year, every day.


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