Santa Cruz Island belongs to the canton of the same name and is located in the center of the Province of Galapagos. Santa Cruz is closely related to the Baltra Island since the airport is located here. This airport is the only access point by air to Santa Cruz and is the main point of entry of tourists to Galapagos. Baltra and Santa Cruz are separated by the narrow Itabaca Canal. The dynamics between these two islands constitutes the main economic and tourist engine of the Province.
Santa Cruz houses the urban parish of Puerto Ayora on the south coast of the island and the rural parishes of Bellavista and Santa Rosa in the highlands of the island. Together, these parishes have an approximate population of 15,000 inhabitants who are dedicated to tourism, commerce, crafts, fishing and agriculture. In Puerto Ayora there are the offices of the Galapagos National Park Service and the Charles Darwin Research Station, whose conservation and research work is fundamental for the protection of the delicate Galápagos ecosystem. In addition, here are the headquarters of several NGOs, which work on issues of conservation and sustainable development.
The most important tourist sites of Santa Cruz include the Charles Darwin Research Station, the Tortuga Bay beach, Las Grietas and the Alemanes beach, the Malecón, Los Túneles.
Lastly, visitors can find restaurants, bars and cafes along Charles Darwin Avenue, which runs parallel to the Santa Cruz waterfront. In addition, from 7 pm, the section of Charles Binford Avenue between Baltra Avenue and General Rodriguez Lara Street becomes pedestrian and is full of food stalls.
Visitors wishing to visit Santa Cruz must necessarily travel to Baltra. Domestic flights depart every day from the airports of Quito and Guayaquil to the island of Baltra, which is where the nearest airport to Santa Cruz is located.
From the Baltra airport, buses depart for the Itabaca Canal. Visitors can cross this canal using a barge until you reach Santa Cruz, all this takes no more than 20 minutes.
Once in Santa Cruz it is necessary to take public transport (Bus) or private (taxi) to get to Puerto Ayora. This part of the trip takes between 45 min to one hour.