San Cristóbal is mostly overlooked by the the media and the tourist-mills. But we are grateful for that because, of all the islands where you can stay, San Cristóbal features the best blend of beauty, tranquility, facilities, convenience and attractions without being isolated, crowded or polluted.
San Cristóbal has never been dependent on tourism. The population grew around fishing and San Cristóbal is also the seat of provincial government. In fact tourism is a relatively new industry here - So;
you won’t find the most luxurious and expensive hotels;
you won’t find the finest and most expensive restaurants;
you won’t find fine-art galleries and expensive souvenirs;
you won’t have a private beach in your hotel;
you won’t find many people who speak English;
you won’t find much open during siesta;
the water in the bay is crystal clear, unpolluted and teeming with life;
the waterfront is public and accessible and you can see the ocean from many parts of the town;
we have a natural fresh-water supply (the only such in Galápagos);
the port and surroundings abound in wildlife, particularly sea-lions, iguana’s, boobies, frigates, pelicans, turtles, birds and fish
we have the best diving south of Wolfe and Darwin Islands (which are 240 miles north and accessible only on a diving cruise);
we have, by far, the best fishing;
we have the best surf;
we have several beautiful beaches only a short walk from the town;
we have clean, well-managed and affordable rooms in hostels, hotels, B&B’s and rental suites;
the airport is only 5 minutes from the town centre;
we have the biggest, most modern and well equipped hospital in the region and;
Cristóbaleños are friendly and hospitable by nature.
If you must have 5-star luxury, infinity pool, room-service, private beach, gourmet restaurants, fine wine and expensive souvenirs, perhaps San Cristóbal is not for you.
But if you want to really experience the Galápagos: the wildlife; the out-of-this-world scenery; the people; the tranquillity - Unspoilt in all its rocky, prickly, verdant, wild, unpredictable and completely amazing best - Come to San Cristóbal.
So much to see and do...
Some of the great things you can see and do when you visit San Cristobal...
Diving & Snorkelling
How to get here...
In the following, please be aware that schedules and costs can change at any time - Be sure to double-check when making your plans.
Flights from the Continent
Three airlines fly to San Cristóbal, from Quito and Guayaquil:
Tame (pronounced “Tameh”)
Avianca (formerly Aerogal)
LATAM (formerly LAN)
Most flights from Quito pass through Guayaquil en route to and from Galápagos. Flights leave in the morning, arriving between 10:00am and 12:30pm, and return in the afternoon, arriving between 3:00 and 5:30pm.
The flight from Guayaquil to San Cristóbal, takes about 1 hour, 40 minutes. From Quito via Guayaquil takes about 3 hours, 10 minutes.
The trip from the new airport to downtown Quito can take 1 to 2 hours, depending on the traffic. Unless you plane to spend a full day or two sightseeing in and around Quito, it is more convenient to come via Guayaquil.
Although there are some special deals, particularly in conjunction with international flights, you should initially budget $450 to $500 for your flight. Flights from Guayaquil are around $50 less than from Quito.
San Cristóbal airport is on the edge of town (Puerto Baquerizo Moreno). It takes less than 5 minutes by taxi to anywhere in town.
IMPORTANT: Please note that the airport code for San Cristóbal is “SCY” and “San Cristóbal” is specifically identified as the destination on flight schedules and information screens. If you see flights to “Galápagos”, it probably means Baltra (GPS), the airport that serves Santa Cruz (it was the first airport on the islands).
You can take island-hopper flights between San Cristóbal, Baltra and Isabela. You have to take the bus (or a taxi) and ferry to get from the airport at Baltra to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz. The airports in San Cristóbal and Isabela are close to town.
Although others have come and gone, at this time there is only 1 carrier providing flights between the main islands: EMETEBE. They use small twin-prop aircraft for up to 8 passengers. Ticket prices vary but are in the region of $190.
Flights are scheduled to get passengers to San Cristóbal and Baltra in time for departing flights and to take passengers from arrival in the morning.
The baggage allowance is 20 to 25lbs + $1.00/lb excess (may vary). There is an extra charge for carrying surf-boards.
If you are staying at the Galeodan Suites, we recommend that you allow us to make the reservations on your behalf as the process can be troublesome. We are happy to extend the same service to other travellers for a nominal fee. A word of caution to all: Emetebe’s website is www.Emetebe.com.ec NOT Emetebe.com (which has been used by scammers).
Speed boats with 16 to 20 passengers provide daily transfers between San Cristóbal, Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz) Isabela and Floreana.
Crossing times are dependent on sea conditions which range from dead calm to choppy. It is seldom really rough but the boats push on through regardless and it can be a bumpy ride!
San Cristóbal (Puerto Baquerizo Moreno) to Santa Cruz (Puerto Ayora) is 80km (50mi) \ 1.5-2hrs
Santa Cruz to Isabela (Puerto Villamil) is 85km (53mi) \ 1.5-2hrs
Santa Cruz to Floreana (Puerto Velasco Ibarra) is 65km (41mi) \ 1.1-1.6hrs
At this time, there is no regular direct service between San Cristóbal and Floreana but this could change.
The boats leave, both ways, in the morning (6:00 or 7:00AM) and afternoon (2:00 or 3:00PM) and the price of each crossing is $30.
The crossing between San Cristóbal and Isabela requires 2 trips: San Cristóbal - Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz - Isabela.
There are several operators, each providing one or more boats. The number of boats crossing on any day depends on demand and the number of boats operable and is generally determined only a day or two in advance. It’s not often they run out of space altogether but we recommend advance booking just to be sure.