The Galapagos Ecuador is an incredible place with emerald-green water and white sand beaches. Not to mention the  immense amount of wild life flitting about on the islands. I spent two weeks on San Cristóbal island exploring every nook and cranny and doing all the free activities I could find. From swimming with sea lions to hiking with iguanas here’s my ultimate list of things to do in San Cristobal Galapagos.


The interpretation centre should be first on your list of things to do in San Cristobal Galapagos and is a great place to start your Galapagos adventure. It will take you about an hour to complete and gives you a brief history of the island. As well as biological information about the species that live here and how they got here. 

HOW TO GET THERE: Walk along the boardwalk in the centre of town, walk right when facing the sea. You’ll walk around a little beach where lots of sea lions will be playing. Then when you reach the first street take a right and follow the signs to Playa Mann. Once you reach Playa Mann keep walking and take the first street on your right. At this point you should see signs to the Centro De Interpretación.

2. Punta carola

Punta Carola is a gorgeous beach about a half-an-hour’s walk from the centre of town. Here you’ll find a tonne of Galapagos animals, including a bunch of sea lions playing around in the water and lazing on the beach; Marine Iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks in low tide; And a few turtles grazing on the sea grass and algae a bit further out. It’s a great place for snorkelling, and it’s usually pretty empty during the week.

HOW TO GET THERE: Head for the Interpretation Centre. Then once you’re there follow the path past the exhibit and up the hill. Keep walking and you’ll see a sign to your left to Punta Carola. Follow the path for about 20 minutes. And when the path forks off to the right keep left. Eventually you should come to a decline. Follow that down and you’ll hit the beach.

3. Darwin Cove

Things to do in San Cristobal Galapagos - Darwin Cove
The view at Darwin Cove

Darwin Cove is one of the top-spots for snorkelling on San Cristóbal island. It’s a stunning little cove that sits just below Tijeretas lookout with a cute little jetty perfect for sun baking. So good in fact that you might find a sea-lion or two sunning themselves there. When snorkelling you have the chance to see baby seal lions learning to hunt, Turtles, marine iguanas and tonnes of tropical fish.

HOW TO GET THERE: Once again head to the Interpretation Centre and keep walking up the path. This time rather than following the sign to Punta Carola on your left. Follow the sign to Tijeretas on your right. You will then reach another section where the path splits off to the left, or continues on. Take the path down to the left and you’ll reach the jetty. The walk takes between 30 – 45 minutes.

4. Tijeretas Hill Lookout

Just around the corner from Punta Carola is the Tijeretas Hill lookout or mirador as they say in Spanish. It gives you fantastic views of Kicker Rock to the west and Shipwreck Bay to the south. You will also be able to see Darwin Cove below, and on a good day there should be a group of sea lions frolicking around in the water.

HOW TO GET THERE: Follow the signs to Tijeretas from the Interpretation Centre like you did to reach Darwin Cove. But when you reach the split in the path keep walking straight and up the stairs and you will reach the lookout. The walk should take you about 30 – 45 mins.

5. Baquerizo Beach

This is one of the tougher things to do in San Cristobal Galapagos. However as it’s about a 1.5 hour hike there you’re most likely to have this beautiful beach all to yourself. The day I visited there were about 10 turtles in the water nibbling on sea grass. As well as a tonne of marine iguanas who all decided to have a swim at about 1pm. On top of that there were a bunch of fish and a stray sea-lion or two. Don’t forget to pack your snorkel, sunscreen and a hat as there’s little shade and it can get really hot. Also make sure you wear your runners as the walk is a little difficult.

HOW TO GET THERE: Once you reach Tijeretas Hill Lookout (instructions above) when you turn from the sea you will see a sign to your left. And a very small very overgrown path. That’s where you’re going! Make sure you keep an eye out for the wooden posts with white paint on them as they mark the way. It would be easy to get lost. As mentioned earlier the walk should take about 1.5 hours from the centre of town.

6. La Loberia

Things to do in San Cristobal Galapagos - Iguana
A sea iguana sunning himself on the clifftop walk in La Loberia

La Loberia is a pretty beach about a 30 minute walk from the centre of town. A large pack of sea lions live there. And you’ll most likely find them lazing about on the rocks. The waves around the beach are huge, but there is a small section of calm water that is great for snorkelling. You’ll likely find turtles and heaps of fish here. If you continue along the beach you’ll find a nice but challenging walk along the cliff tops where you’ll see heaps of marine iguanas. Once you reach the top you’ll be able to see hundreds of birds nesting in the side of the cliff. I even saw a blue footed boogie which was awesome!

HOW TO GET THERE: You can either take a cab from town for $3. You can also organise a time with them to come back and pick you up. Or you can walk from town. I’d the walk as it’s a little hard to explain. The walk will take you about 30 minutes and it will be hot so wear a hat and sunscreen.

7. El Ceibo Treehouse

These next four activities can be done in one day with a private taxi. It should cost you between $50 – $60 USD. Unfortunately there is no way to do it by public transport. Believe me, I tried! El Ceibo Treehouse is a cute little cafe in the highlands. The owners have taken the huge ceiba tree on the property and converted it into a treehouse where you can even stay the night. While you’re there you can explore the tree house and even climb into the roots of the tree. And have a spot of coffee and cake.

HOW TO GET THERE: Private taxi

8. El Junco Lake

This pretty lake is located in a crater in the highlands of San Cristóbal island. It’s home to a bunch of bird life. After a short walk up the hill you’re treated to a beautiful view of the island.

HOW TO GET THERE: Private taxi

9. la Galapaguera Tortoise habitat

Things to do in San Cristobal Galapagos - Tortoise
My new best friend at the Tortoise Habitat

A little further along from El Junco is the Galapaguera Tortoise Habitat. A large breeding centre for land tortoises on the island. You’re not guaranteed to see any tortoises as they are left to roam freely throughout the forest. However we saw tonnes. They were even fighting with each other which was pretty cool. There’s also the opportunity for a few tortoise selfies.

HOW TO GET THERE: Private taxi

10. Puerto Chino

Things to do in San Cristobal Galapagos - Puerto Chino
Total Caribbean vibes at Puerto Chino

Puerto Chino is a stunning beach where you’ll finish your day trip in the highlands. It’s got total Caribbean vibes going on. And while the current is potentially too strong for swimming, it’s a lovely spot to paddle around and have some lunch. You’ll also most likely see some of my favourite Galapagos Islands animals – sea lions gallivanting around as well.

HOW TO GET THERE: Private taxi

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