Galpagos´ Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz, also named Indefatigible, sits in the middle of the archipelago. With an area of 986sq km (381sq mi), it is the second-largest island in overall size, causing the largest population and the greatest number of tourist installations. Santa Cruz is the focal point of human activity in the islands, hosting the Galápagos National Park Headquarters, the Charles Darwin Research Station, and Puerto Ayora, the largest colony. Santa Cruz as well has many national Park visitor sites.

The island is a slightly elongated shield volcano that is drier on the leeward, northern half, while the windward southern half is wider and has more vegetation. Scientists believe it to be an active, though dormant, volcano, which, over time, is drifting slowly eastward along the Nazca Plate.

The highest elevation, about 864m (2835ft) is at the top of Cerro Crocker in the central uplands. Santa Cruz is the only island in the Galápagos with a route that passes over its interior. Running from Puerto Ayora on the south coast, to the north coast where the ferry crosses the narrow Itabaca Channel to Baltra and the airport, this road gives visitors an opportunity to explore some of the highland interior of the island.

In Santa Cruz, you can discover many of the creatures that make the Galápagos so unique and interesting. Various subspecies of the Galápagos giant tortoise live and breed at Darwin Station, and the Santa Cruz subspecies is also pictured in the highlands, either at the El Chato Tortoise Reserve or, more easily, at one of the private ranches that border the reserve.

Since these ancient animals don't realize the human-constructed boundaries, they expend a beneficial portion of their time on private ground. Iguanas are very prevalent in Puerto and boobies, Darwin's finches are sighted everywhere.

Virtually everyone who visits the Galápagos will pass through Puerto Ayora. It is the primary population center in the archipelago, and it is rising by bounds and bounds.

Despite the growth, street numbers still are not used and directions are given by describing a position relative to intersections, shops, restaurants or hotels. It delivers the best selection of hotels, bars, eating houses, shops, Internet cafés, and souvenir shops, plus a Pacific Tel office, mail service position, domestic airline offices, tourist agencies, a basic hospital, pharmacies, churches, and a radio station.

Santa Cruz´s Accomodations

Puerto Ayora offers a wide spectrum of lodging, from budget hotels to high-end, full service resort, which afford commanding spectacular vistas and all the fixings. If you are resting in town for a few days, at that place are several nice hotels located along the main street, Darwin Avenida; and three high-end hotels, which are settled outside of township.