With many local attractions for nature lovers as well as surfers and divers, San Cristobal is the perfect place to start exploring the Galapagos. It is geologically the first of the Galapagos to be formed, and was the first island that Charles Darwin set foot on, in 1835. Known for its large population of sea lions that coexist with the local residents, the island has several beaches and bays, all within walking distance and filled with birds, marine life, and spectacular sunset views.
Playa La Loberia, Playa Mann, Punta Carola and Playa de Oro are perfect for a day of fun in the sun. They are great for snorkeling as well - you'll find playful sea lions, star fish, colorful schools of fish, sea turtles and more. These beaches are only 15-30 minutes from Katarma by walking - or a 5-minute taxi ride.
Visit the Interpretation Center to explore the colonial past of these enchanted islands. There is also a trail from there leading to Cerro Tijeretas (Frigatebird Hill), which has several viewpoints perfect for spotting frigate birds and watching the sun set. The Interpretation Center is a 20-min walk from Katarma - or a 5-minute taxi ride.
Playa La Loberia, Punta Carola and Tongo Reef have waves for every kind of surfer. These beaches are all a 15-30 min walk from Katarma - or a 5-minute taxi ride.
Rent a kayak at Playa Mann, and paddle around the bay toward the northern coast. Snorkel at the cove below Cerro Tijeretas, and swim with sea turtles and sea lions. We recommend renting a kayak from Huellas de Darwin, a tour operator located just 50 meters from Playa Mann. They also have snorkeling gear and bikes available, and can arrange other tours as well.
Start the morning off in Puerto Chino, a beach with crystal-clear waters where you can spot blue-footed boobies. Making your way back toward Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, stop by La Galapaguera, the only breeding center in the Galapagos where the tortoises live in semi-natural habitats. Then admire the lush vegetation and frigate birds bathing in El Junco, a volcanic crater lake with the only source of freshwater in the Galapagos. HIre a taxi for this day trip - or rent a bike for a more strenuous adventure.
The first human settlement on San Cristobal Island, El Progreso is a quaint little town that is worth exploring for an afternoon. Take a tour of a coffee plantation and visit the Manuel J. Cobos Sugar Mill ruins. Pick fresh papaya and guava from a finca, and have lunch at the Otoy Restaurant and Organic Farm. Then visit the Casa del Ceibo, an enormous ceiba tree with a house where you can have a coffee - and even stay the night! A taxi to El Progreso costs $3.
Spend the day at Finca Ecoturística Guadalupe and learn how the famous coffee of the Galapagos as well as sugarcane and local fruit jams are produced. Located in Cerro Gato in the highlands, this farm also has walking trails and waterfalls to explore. Hire a taxi for this day trip and discover the rich highlands of San Cristobal.
The Galapagos Islands are home to colorful and diverse marine life. We work with locally-owned tour operators that offer day trips to San Cristobal's best snorking and diving spots:
Galapagos > Plan Your Trip