The second largest and considered one of the best Galapagos Islands to visit, Santa Cruz Island is the main tourism hub for the archipelago. This is largely due to the proximity to the airport at Baltra and also because it is so accessible. It’s one of the only islands where tourists can visit the interior elevated parts of the island.
It is also home to the oldest paved road and largest population on the islands, with the largest city, Puerto Ayora being situated at the south end of the island near Academy Bay. The accelerated development that has occurred on the Island has been due to large growths in both population and seasonal tourists. This has meant the island has faced some unique environmental and ecological challenges. Local resources have been strained and introduced species have caused some problems. However, not least among the issues is what to do with all the waste created by the people on the island?
Until 2006 this was simply taken away and dumped but this was not a suitable or sustainable long-term solution. So, thanks to joint efforts by the community the Fabricio Valverde Environmental Centre was built near Puerto Ayora to recycle up to 40% of the waste materials generated on the island. The government is very focused on Galapagos Conservation to preserve the security of every species of the archipelago
Paper, card, plastics, and glass are collected pressed and crushed before being shipped to the mainland where they are sold for recycling. As well as domestic recycling, a programme has been launched to deal with used oil by shipping it to the mainland for appropriate disposal.
With a growth rate of around 6% annually, the island’s population is set to double in the next twelve years. So, it is clearly important that some of these issues are addressed now. It is also clear that matters such as agriculture and fishing need to be addressed in order to protect the pristine natural environments that make the islands so famous around the world. Further problems including the provision of enough drinking water and energy to sustain a population are also being addressed.
So, what this makes clear is that while being one of the best Galapagos Islands to visit, staying on shore on the Island comes at a cost. This is why liveaboard yachts with companies dedicated to preserving the ecosystems of the Galapagos are highly recommended. Galapagos luxury yachts let you see more of the islands than if you’re staying at a hotel, and by traveling at night, you won’t miss out on any of the stunning wildlife during the day.