San Cristobal is the capital of the Galapagos Islands. Next to Santa Cruz Island is the most visited since most of the commercial flights from continental Ecuador to San Cristobal airport. It is not the largest (which is Isabela) or the most populated (which is Santa Cruz), but we can say that it is the favorite island of sea lions and surfers. There are so many who will find you on the dock, in playgrounds, in restaurants and even sunbathing in a hammock.

San Cristóbal is also the favorite island to surf in The Galapagos Islands for its wonderful beaches where you can take a big wave accompanied by giant tortoises, sea lions or rays.

Do you want to visit San Cristobal Island? We tell you everything you need to know to get there, some free activities and essential tours so you can take advantage of your stay without spending a lot of money.

Where San Cristobal Island is located?

San Cristobal is located further east of the Galapagos Islands archipielago in fronto of the east coast of Santa Cruz

The Island name honoured Sant Cristobal, the patron of the sailors, which is the main activity of the people who inhabits the islands since centuries ago. The capital of the island and of the whole archipielago is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, in the southwest coast of the island, next to the airport.

San Cristobal is the capital of the Galapagos Islands. Next to Santa Cruz Island is the most visited since most of the commercial flights from continental Ecuador to San Cristobal airport. It is not the largest (which is Isabela) or the most populated (which is Santa Cruz), but we can say that it is the favorite island of sea lions and surfers. There are so many who will find you on the dock, in playgrounds, in restaurants and even sunbathing in a hammock.

San Cristóbal is also the favorite island to surf in The Galapagos Islands for its wonderful beaches where you can take a big wave accompanied by giant tortoises, sea lions or rays.

Do you want to visit San Cristobal Island? We tell you everything you need to know to get there, some free activities and essential tours so you can take advantage of your stay without spending a lot of money.

Where San Cristobal Island is located?

San Cristobal is located further east of the Galapagos Islands archipielago in fronto of the east coast of Santa Cruz

The Island name honoured Sant Cristobal, the patron of the sailors, which is the main activity of the people who inhabits the islands since centuries ago. The capital of the island and of the whole archipielago is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, in the southwest coast of the island, next to the airport.

How to get to San Cristobal in The Galapagos Islands?

Flight from Continental Ecuador: Guayaquil or Quito

You can flight from Guayaquil airport José Joaquín Olmedo, or from Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito. If you take a flight from Quito, you will scale in Guayaquil, and takes longer because it is more crowded than José Joaquín Olmedo airport. So if you find flights to Guayaquil at the same price than to Quito, take the firsts ones. Anyway, from both airports you can get straight to San Cristobal airport. From San Cristobal airport you should take a taxi to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which is the main city in the island, and where all hosts, restaurants and lounge bars are concentrated. The price of the trip is usually $ 1 (yes, a dollar) since it is very close to the city. Remember that taxis are usually white Toyota vans, forget about waiting for yellow taxis because they will not arrive. Don´t ask the taxi driver how much is it? Just  tell him that you want to go Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and confirm the price is a dolar.

If you are travelling to the Galapagos Islands, be aware that there are several requierements and procedures to be followed. In order to save time and problems, check our tips to go over them as easy as possible

Catch a boat from Santa Cruz

Between Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz, there are several boats that for approximately $ 30 and in 2 hours takes you from one island to other everyday. To travel from Santa Cruz to San Cristobal you just have to go to the port and buy your ticket. Keep in mind that these boats only leave twice a day under the following schedule:

  • Departure from Santa Cruz: 7am – Arrival to San Cristobal: 9:15 am
  • Departure from Santa Cruz 2pm – Arrival to San Cristobal: 4pm

If you are on Isabela Island you will first have to take a transfer to Santa Cruz and from there take another one to San Cristobal. There are no direct boats those two islands. In our post about what to do in Isabela Island we have published the schedules of the transfers from Isabela to Santa Cruz, you can see them by clicking here.

By Plane

If you want to save time and your budget allows you, you can travel by plane from one island to another. In addition, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Enchanted Islands from the sky. The two companies that perform this service are:

How to get to San Cristobal in The Galapagos Islands?

Flight from Continental Ecuador: Guayaquil or Quito

You can flight from Guayaquil airport José Joaquín Olmedo, or from Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito. If you take a flight from Quito, you will scale in Guayaquil, and takes longer because it is more crowded than José Joaquín Olmedo airport. So if you find flights to Guayaquil at the same price than to Quito, take the firsts ones. Anyway, from both airports you can get straight to San Cristobal airport. From San Cristobal airport you should take a taxi to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which is the main city in the island, and where all hosts, restaurants and lounge bars are concentrated. The price of the trip is usually $ 1 (yes, a dollar) since it is very close to the city. Remember that taxis are usually white Toyota vans, forget about waiting for yellow taxis because they will not arrive. Don´t ask the taxi driver how much is it? Just  tell him that you want to go Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and confirm the price is a dolar.

If you are travelling to the Galapagos Islands, be aware that there are several requierements and procedures to be followed. In order to save time and problems, check our tips to go over them as easy as possible

Catch a boat from Santa Cruz

Between Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz, there are several boats that for approximately $ 30 and in 2 hours takes you from one island to other everyday. To travel from Santa Cruz to San Cristobal you just have to go to the port and buy your ticket. Keep in mind that these boats only leave twice a day under the following schedule:

  • Departure from Santa Cruz: 7am – Arrival to San Cristobal: 9:15 am
  • Departure from Santa Cruz 2pm – Arrival to San Cristobal: 4pm

If you are on Isabela Island you will first have to take a transfer to Santa Cruz and from there take another one to San Cristobal. There are no direct boats those two islands. In our post about what to do in Isabela Island we have published the schedules of the transfers from Isabela to Santa Cruz, you can see them by clicking here.

By Plane

If you want to save time and your budget allows you, you can travel by plane from one island to another. In addition, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Enchanted Islands from the sky. The two companies that perform this service are:

Get ready to go! What to bring with you to San Cristobal in The Galapagos Islands?

When preparing your luggage, do not forget the following:

  • Cash: although on this island and in Santa Cruz you will find ATMs, not all establishments or hotels accept cards. Always have some cash on hand for any emergency
  • Sport shoes: In addition to the flip flops, you will need comfortable shoes to explore the island comfortably.
  • Anti-mosquito repellent: it will be very helpful, especially in San Cristobal
  • Water and snacks : the sun hits very hard and you will not always have shops nearby to buy something to drink or eat
  • Snorkeling equipment: we will tell you about free places where you can snorkel if you have your own equipment, so get one for your trip

Get ready to go! What to bring with you to San Cristobal in The Galapagos Islands?

When preparing your luggage, do not forget the following:

  • Cash: although on this island and in Santa Cruz you will find ATMs, not all establishments or hotels accept cards. Always have some cash on hand for any emergency
  • Sport shoes: In addition to the flip flops, you will need comfortable shoes to explore the island comfortably.
  • Anti-mosquito repellent: it will be very helpful, especially in San Cristobal
  • Water and snacks : the sun hits very hard and you will not always have shops nearby to buy something to drink or eat
  • Snorkeling equipment: we will tell you about free places where you can snorkel if you have your own equipment, so get one for your trip

San Cristobal weather

San Cristobal characterizes by having a smooth weather where moderate temperatures dominates most of the year. The average temperature sutuates around  24ºC y 25ºC.

In The Galapagos Islands we have just two seasons. The temperature is almost the same but the rain concentrates in the tropical season:

The season from June to Decembre is considered the dry season. It is the best  period to visit The Galapagos Islands, as the water is warmer and blue sky predominates. It is also the mating season of several species, so you could enjoy their amazing rituals, as the one of the blue-footed boobies.

The tropical season is from January to May. The sky is mostly cloudy and rain is frequent.

Next week weather forecast

SAN CRISTOBAL WEATHER

San Cristobal weather

San Cristobal characterizes by having a smooth weather where moderate temperatures dominates most of the year. The average temperature sutuates around  24ºC y 25ºC.

In The Galapagos Islands we have just two seasons. The temperature is almost the same but the rain concentrates in the tropical season:

The season from June to Decembre is considered the dry season. It is the best  period to visit The Galapagos Islands, as the water is warmer and blue sky predominates. It is also the mating season of several species, so you could enjoy their amazing rituals, as the one of the blue-footed boobies.

The tropical season is from January to May. The sky is mostly cloudy and rain is frequent.

Next week weather forecast

SAN CRISTOBAL WEATHER

Free and low cost activities on San Cristobal Island

Cerro Tijeretas

It is called Tijeretas since this is the name with which they commonly refer to frigatebirds. You can reach here after a 30 minute walk from Puerto Ayora. On the way there are several viewpoints where you can snorkel for free and see a variety of marine species, including turtles and marine wolves.

Snorkeling Tijeretas - San Cristobal

Tijeretas snorkeling dock

Sightseeing Cerro Tijeretas

Cerro Tijeretas Viewer

Puerto Chino Beach

Although it is not so close, it is totally worthy to visit Puerto Chino Beach and enjoying a relaxing day on this beach. To get there you should deal on a round trip with a taxi driver and walk about 15 minutes until you reach it. The beach is surrounded by endemic vegetacion, sand is magnificent and the sea has a wonderful torquoise colour..

El Junco

Walk up the volcanic crater’s crown and enjoy a panoramic view of the island. You can ask the taxi that takes you to the Puerto Chino beach to stop in this place, you will not regret it.

El Junco - San Cristobal
El Junco - San Cristobal

Surf in incredible beaches surrounded by iguanas and sea lions

These are the 2 best beaches on the islands for surfing. Whether you’re pro or you’re starting out, in Galapagos you’ll find a beach where you’ll enjoy!

Playa de La Lobería & Tongo Reef

Undoubtedly the best beach in the archipelago to surf. Don’t beleive me? Check it out:

Punta Carola

It is located next to Puerto Baquerizo, and is one of the busiest beaches. In season the waves are amazing:

Tours en San Cristobal – Galapagos

Tour León Dormido aka Kicker Rock

Probably the most popular Tour in the Island where you will be snorkeling on an island called León Dormmido or Kicke Rock.  The rocks have metres height. They are almost together but there are narrow channels that you can go through and many marine species have their refuge here. Are located  5 kilometres at the north of San Cristobal island, and takes around an hour to get there but boat, depending on the weather.

Probably you will find Several birds fishing. Enjoy the expertise of Blue-Footed Boobies  going for it straight forward.  After having obtained their fish, they keep swimming in the water or with a low flight, with an air of satisfaction.

When the sea is calm you get there faster. If you are looking for a great susnset photo, follow this tour in late afternoon. When the sun comes down, you will have a view of the sunset between the two highest rock. That would be the perfect photo to remember this place.

But before that, take your snorkeling or diving equipment  and enjoy the amazing marine animals that crwd this spot. Swim with sharks, manta rays, sea lions, tortoises and an amazing variety of phises. After this activity, you will visit the beach El Manglesito for a relaxing moment. This tour costs around $ 120 and lasts from 9 am to 3pm approximately.

This is one of the most demanded tours in The Galapagos Islands. Book the tour with us and don´t get the chance to try to buy it last minute and miss it because there is no more seats in the boat.

Kicker Rock

Isla Lobos

Isla Lobos (aka Sea Lions Island) is a small island separated by 300 meters from the north coast of San Cristobal. It is in an ideal location to make a stop and rest after visiting the Sleeping Lion. It is 850 meters long, with arid vegetation and magnificent beaches of fine sand and crystal clear waters. You can see many frigates and sea lions on its beaches. In the breeding season, many pikemen flock to this quiet island to nest their young.

El Manglecito Beach

Located 3 km north of Isla Lobos, it is another of the usual stops for Kicker Rock and 360º tours. Calm perfect beach to begin in the snorkeling, and enjoy on the beach surrounded by sea lions. You will find abundant vegetation in the surroundings, very grateful in days of intense heat.

Punta Pitt

Punta Pitt is a place you can not miss. Both the blue-footed, red-footed, common boobies, or the different varieties of frigates have their habitual residence in that area. They have chosen this site because its rugged geography prevents species that would be a threat to these birds from accessing here. In turn, the great variety of vegetation serves as a refuge, and its proximity to the sea provides an abundant source of food.

Another species that is very comfortable in this area are the iguanas, also due to its complex orography. In the rest of the islands marine iguanas have found many more places to settle. However, in San Cristobal, their settlements have been reduced to small areas to the north, and Punta Pitt is where they are most abundant.

How to get Punta Pitt?

Hiring the 360º tour, you will be able to see the species of birds that inhabit it, as well as appreciate its color, but from the boat, since it does not stop. If you want to enjoy this unique place, and enjoy its fascinating geology and colorful vegetation, you can take the Punta Pitt Tour, which will allow you to land there and enjoy a few hours of which you will take an unforgettable memory.

You can book this tour in a few click , stratrting from the following button

Española Island

It is the northern island of the archipelago. Of the inhabited islands, San Cristóbal is the closest, so if you plan to visit it, although tours are offered from other islands, it is best to start from Puerto Baquerizo. The island has about 80 square kilometers, and its main attraction is Gardner Bay.

In Gardner Bay you will find a wonderful paradisiacal beach that you will share with sea lions, and where you can enjoy a swim or just sunbath.

Free and low cost activities on San Cristobal Island

Cerro Tijeretas

It is called Tijeretas since this is the name with which they commonly refer to frigatebirds. You can reach here after a 30 minute walk from Puerto Ayora. On the way there are several viewpoints where you can snorkel for free and see a variety of marine species, including turtles and marine wolves.

Snorkeling Tijeretas - San Cristobal

Tijeretas snorkeling dock

Sightseeing Cerro Tijeretas

Cerro Tijeretas Viewer

Puerto Chino Beach

Although it is not so close, it is totally worthy to visit Puerto Chino Beach and enjoying a relaxing day on this beach. To get there you should deal on a round trip with a taxi driver and walk about 15 minutes until you reach it. The beach is surrounded by endemic vegetacion, sand is magnificent and the sea has a wonderful torquoise colour..

El Junco

Walk up the volcanic crater’s crown and enjoy a panoramic view of the island. You can ask the taxi that takes you to the Puerto Chino beach to stop in this place, you will not regret it.

El Junco - San Cristobal
El Junco - San Cristobal

Surf in incredible beaches surrounded by iguanas and sea lions

These are the 2 best beaches on the islands for surfing. Whether you’re pro or you’re starting out, in Galapagos you’ll find a beach where you’ll enjoy!

Playa de La Lobería & Tongo Reef

Undoubtedly the best beach in the archipelago to surf. Don’t beleive me? Check it out:

Punta Carola

It is located next to Puerto Baquerizo, and is one of the busiest beaches. In season the waves are amazing:

Tours en San Cristobal – Galapagos

Tour León Dormido aka Kicker Rock

Probably the most popular Tour in the Island where you will be snorkeling on an island called León Dormmido or Kicke Rock.  The rocks have metres height. They are almost together but there are narrow channels that you can go through and many marine species have their refuge here. Are located  5 kilometres at the north of San Cristobal island, and takes around an hour to get there but boat, depending on the weather.

Probably you will find Several birds fishing. Enjoy the expertise of Blue-Footed Boobies  going for it straight forward.  After having obtained their fish, they keep swimming in the water or with a low flight, with an air of satisfaction.

When the sea is calm you get there faster. If you are looking for a great susnset photo, follow this tour in late afternoon. When the sun comes down, you will have a view of the sunset between the two highest rock. That would be the perfect photo to remember this place.

But before that, take your snorkeling or diving equipment  and enjoy the amazing marine animals that crwd this spot. Swim with sharks, manta rays, sea lions, tortoises and an amazing variety of phises. After this activity, you will visit the beach El Manglesito for a relaxing moment. This tour costs around $ 120 and lasts from 9 am to 3pm approximately.

This is one of the most demanded tours in The Galapagos Islands. Book the tour with us and don´t get the chance to try to buy it last minute and miss it because there is no more seats in the boat.

Kicker Rock

Isla Lobos

Isla Lobos (aka Sea Lions Island) is a small island separated by 300 meters from the north coast of San Cristobal. It is in an ideal location to make a stop and rest after visiting the Sleeping Lion. It is 850 meters long, with arid vegetation and magnificent beaches of fine sand and crystal clear waters. You can see many frigates and sea lions on its beaches. In the breeding season, many pikemen flock to this quiet island to nest their young.

El Manglecito Beach

Located 3 km north of Isla Lobos, it is another of the usual stops for Kicker Rock and 360º tours. Calm perfect beach to begin in the snorkeling, and enjoy on the beach surrounded by sea lions. You will find abundant vegetation in the surroundings, very grateful in days of intense heat.

Punta Pitt

Punta Pitt is a place you can not miss. Both the blue-footed, red-footed, common boobies, or the different varieties of frigates have their habitual residence in that area. They have chosen this site because its rugged geography prevents species that would be a threat to these birds from accessing here. In turn, the great variety of vegetation serves as a refuge, and its proximity to the sea provides an abundant source of food.

Another species that is very comfortable in this area are the iguanas, also due to its complex orography. In the rest of the islands marine iguanas have found many more places to settle. However, in San Cristobal, their settlements have been reduced to small areas to the north, and Punta Pitt is where they are most abundant.

How to get Punta Pitt?

Hiring the 360º tour, you will be able to see the species of birds that inhabit it, as well as appreciate its color, but from the boat, since it does not stop. If you want to enjoy this unique place, and enjoy its fascinating geology and colorful vegetation, you can take the Punta Pitt Tour, which will allow you to land there and enjoy a few hours of which you will take an unforgettable memory.

You can book this tour in a few click , stratrting from the following button

Española Island

It is the northern island of the archipelago. Of the inhabited islands, San Cristóbal is the closest, so if you plan to visit it, although tours are offered from other islands, it is best to start from Puerto Baquerizo. The island has about 80 square kilometers, and its main attraction is Gardner Bay.

In Gardner Bay you will find a wonderful paradisiacal beach that you will share with sea lions, and where you can enjoy a swim or just sunbath.

Endemic Species

San Cristobal has two unique species that you can only find in this island.

San Cristobal Giant Tortoise

Chelonoidis chathamensis

San Cristobal Marine Iguana

Endemic species

San Cristobal has two unique species that you can only find in this island.

San Cristobal Giant Tortoise

Chelonoidis chathamensis

San Cristobal Marine Iguana

Conclusion

San Cristobal is the ideal island to visit if you are looking to enjoy paradisiacal beaches where you can rest or surf. It is also the island where you can see the largest number of sea lions camouflaged in the daily life of the island. Although it is not the most charming of the archipelago, if your plane lands here take a couple of days to get to know it. It will surprise you!

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