Visiting San Cristobal island is a wonderful thing! not only for its great scenery and beaches but for the many free things you can do there. San Cristobal is one of the largest islands both in population and size, on this island you will find countless things to do so get your snorkeling gear ready because this is where you will find the most diversity of animals in Galapagos. You can even see sea turtles, and iguanas walking next to you and you can even see them eating and not to mention the most famous animal of the Galapagos Islands, apart from the iconic tortoises, the sea lion.
¡So let’s start with this list of places to visit in San Cristobal that are free!
La Loberia is a beach 2.5 km south of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in San Cristobal. It has this name because 20 years ago there lived more than 1300 sea lions and it is worth mentioning that San Cristobal Island is known for its large number of sea lions. It is located in a bay that is protected by rocks. The sea inside the bay is calm and perfect for snorkeling or swimming if you snorkel this place is perfect to see different marine species such as turtles and colorful fish. Outside the bay there are waves for surfing many times this beach becomes the ideal place for surfing championships like the one they do every year in San Cristobal so if you are a surfer this island is for you!
Another activity you can do is to walk from the beach and about 900 meters to a cliff where you can observe seabirds such as the Galapagos albatross, gull, petrel, and finches are unique species that you can only see in the Galapagos islands so going to this cliff is a great way to see them. But how to get to this beach? It is very easy to get there since you can do it on foot, it takes about 30 minutes. From Puerto Baquerizo Moreno take Avenida Alsacio Northia towards the airport. After the stadium turn left and the next one to the right.
This place is a breeding center for the Galapagos giant tortoises, an endemic species of these islands. There live more than 50 giant tortoises where you can take a free tour and see the tortoises in freedom and how they grow. La Galapaguera is located on the road that goes from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno -San Cristobal Island- to Puerto Chino. It comes after El Junco lagoon, before reaching Puerto Chino. From Puerto Baquerizo Moreno it is 22.4 km to Galapaguera. You can go by bike or walk if you are used to long distances.
La Galapaguera has an area of 2 hectares where giant tortoises walk freely. There is an 800 meter trail that runs through the area. The road passes by 2 small lagoons. Next to these lagoons, you can see how the turtles feed twice a day. As we told you, turtles are born here and live for several years until they are big enough to survive on their own in the wild. They are taken to the northeast of San Cristobal where the tortoises of this species live free. In the flora and fauna observation of the Galapagos, you will see finches and plants like "uña de gato" or "manzanillo" the fruit of these trees serve as food for the tortoises but for people in a poisonous tree so you should not touch the leaves of the tree. We recommend that you wear sunscreen. The tour can last 1 hour or less.
The beach looks like something out of a dream, its white sand, and turquoise sea will make you fall in love. The entrance to this beach is totally free and you will find several sea lions, and blue-footed boobies and you can do some hiking on the beach because if you climb on some rocks you can see the beach from a panoramic view. When there are no waves you can snorkel near the rocks where you can find several species of fish. To get to this beach you can go by bike, as most of the tourist places on this island are easy to reach by bike, walking or by cab.
The best place to learn about history, biology, geology and the influence of humans in the Galapagos archipelago. This interpretation center is 15 minutes from the center where you can walk to learn about the volcanic formation of the islands, the evolution of their species, the history of human settlements, climatic currents, ocean currents, etc. The place is open from 6 am to 6 pm leaving the interpretation center there is a trail that takes you to "Cerro tijeretas", "Carola beach" and "Playa Man" in these trails you can find several viewpoints with the history of the Galapagos Islands with a wonderful view of cliffs.
Tijeretas Hill has located 2 km from the Interpretation Center, southwest of San Cristobal Island. It was named after the local frigate birds, whose tails end in the shape of scissors, and was one of the first places where the English biologist Charles Robert Darwin landed. It is the ideal place to observe the Leon dormido islet, Lobos Island, Cerro Brujo, Puerto Baquerizo, Bahía Naufragio, Punta Carola beach and Santa Fe Island when there are no clouds. It also has two other viewpoints, one of them dates from the Second World War and was taken out by the Ecuadorian Navy in the early 1970s for military practices. In the other viewpoint, there is a statue of Charles Darwin in honor of his passage through San Cristobal. Down the Hill, you can get into the sea and snorkel and it is a perfect place to get to see sea turtles.
Mann Beach is located in front of the San Francisco University - GAIAS, a 10 minute walk from the center of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
It is a beautiful white sand beach formed by the fragmentation of shells, the clarity of its waters allows snorkeling to watch various marine species such as sea lions and different types of fish, because of the proximity to the town center this place is for recreational use where you will find several places to eat and places where they sell water, sodas, juices, etc. This beautiful beach is located within an urban area where it is possible to enjoy the best sunsets.
Playa Mann is of little slope and white and soft sand, it is ideal for sunbathing and swimming. It has masterful landscapes, being its main attraction the beach in this beach is where you will find a number of sea lions resting and sometimes lie down next to you to sunbathe.
The mixture of urban and natural landscape in Playa Mann are a clear example of the socio-ecological character of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
This white sand beach, turquoise crescent-shaped sea, and a west view is a perfect place to swim in the sea, snorkel, and enjoy the spectacular sunsets of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. It is very easy to get there by walking along the trail that connects the Interpretation Center, Punta Carola beach, and Tijeretas hill with its pier. It has an extension of 300 meters which makes it a place to walk here you can see a lot of marine iguanas walking along the beach. If you are a fan of sunbathing you will love this beach! You can spend the day here and walk to Playa Man for lunch.
This ecological boardwalk was built with local materials such as basalt stone and wood, adorned with endemic and native plants.
It is a beautiful oceanfront corridor where visitors can find sea lions sunbathing on beaches, rocks, docks, and even on the benches and sidewalks. The presence of the sea lions on the pier results in a very peculiar mix between the natural and urban landscape.
This area was recently regenerated and is also home to a variety of restaurants and stores to buy handicrafts and souvenirs from the islands.
There are cultural dance and music groups that regularly practice in the public areas of the Malecon. Official performances take place on Thursday evenings on what is called Cultural Thursday. The Malecon is also a favorite place for open houses and exhibitions of diverse nature where you can find carts of food or desserts. On the boardwalk, you will find a statue of Charles Darwin with a small replica of his ship and there is a model of the entire archipelago.
The handicraft stores are very cultural places of these islands here you can buy many handicrafts from stuffed animals, t-shirts, hats, and key chains with Galapagos Islands theme. The cost is very economical so you can take a nice souvenir of each island.
It is a simple, modern cathedral, adorned with marine themes honoring the flora and fauna of the Galapagos. It is a very special place because it is totally different from any other. You have to stop by and visit it. It is in the center of San Cristobal, 5 minutes walking distance.
We also want to let you know that Voyagers Travel offers several day tours that start from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno – San Cristobal:
Below are a couple hotels we recommend for your stay on Puerto Baquerizo Moreno: