Nestled on Santa Cruz Island, Puerto Ayora is a central base for exploring the natural landscapes of the Galapagos. The coastal town boasts a picturesque waterfront, while its surrounding region is home to popular beaches, a tortoise reserve and research station.
Things to do in Puerto Ayora
Visit the idyllic white-sand beaches along Tortuga Bay, where you can watch marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. If you’ve got the kids with you, head to Playa Mansa to swim in a beautiful lagoon.
Nature enthusiasts can explore the Darwin Research Centre, which showcases the ecology and various species on the island through informational exhibits. Learn about the giant-tortoise breeding program, marvel at adorable baby tortoises and see some of the island’s unique native plants.
El Chato Tortoise Reserve is the perfect place to come face-to-face with the giant Galapagos tortoises. Observe the gentle creatures in their natural habitat at this wildlife sanctuary, then admire beautiful Darwin finch and short-ear owl flying overhead.
For a day of swimming and snorkelling, take a day trip to Las Grietas, a geological formation with several natural pools and calm waters. If you’re lucky, you might even spot sea lions, penguins or sea turtles.
Getting around Puerto Ayora
You can fly into Baltra Airport on the neighbouring island of Baltra, while speedboats offer daily trips to the islands of Isabela and San Cristobal and buses travel from Santa Rosa. Puerto Ayora is small enough to explore on foot, while taxis and water taxis can take you to nearby attractions and islands.