Santa Cruz - Ecuador

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Santa Cruz City

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Santa Cruz

Canton Santa Cruz. It is a canton of the Province of Galapagos, Ecuador. Its cantonal head is the city of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island.

Santa Cruz, canton of Puerto Ayora, is the second largest island after Isabela Island, the most inhabited and economically active of the Galápagos archipelago. It is located in the center of the group of islands, with an area of ​​986 km2 and a maximum altitude of 864 meters above sea level. It is a dormant volcano whose last eruption is estimated to have occurred a million and a half years ago. As a testimony to its volcanic past there are two huge cavities called "The Twins" that were formed from a magma chamber. The island is characterized by its geological landscape and the variety of its vegetation, distinguishing 7 zones.

The island is full of natural charms, beautiful beaches, unique animal species, exuberant vegetation, craters and lava tunnels. Currently the population is approximately 15,701 inhabitants. Called in honor of the Cross of Christ, its name in Indefatigable English (indefatigable) is due to the English line ship HMS Indefatigable.

Clima Canton Santa Cruz

The climatic variation that occurs in the Galapagos Islands is strongly influenced by marine currents such as the Humboldt current and the trade winds that blow relatively consistently in summer. The cooling effect exerted by the Humboldt current implies that the climate of the archipelago is usually temperate and dry. The approximate temperatures that can occur in Santa Cruz Island is 20º C to 31º C and two stations are presented. One of the stations, the coolest and drier, with skies covered most of the day and winds blowing from the south and temperatures ranging between 18 and 20º C. It is from June to December. The opposite season is hot and rainy, when the wind blows from the north, with very sunny days, short and strong rainfall and temperatures between 24 and 31 º C. It occurs between the months of January to May. The annual average of precipitations in the coast is between 0 to 300 mm per year, while in the high part it is between 300 and 1700 mm. The period from January to March is considered the hot and humid season, with March being the hottest month of the year; During this season the plants abound, and the temperature of the water is ideal for diving.

Flora Canton Santa Cruz

There are plants of the place like the scalesias, miconias and opuntias.

Fauna Canton Santa Cruz

The turtles of these islands usually inhabit the upper part of it. Sea lion, iguana, brown pelican of the Galapagos, blue patia piquero, giant tortoise of San Cristóbal, lava lizard of Galápagos, marine iguana, blue heron, common, cucuve de galápagos, crab fiddler.

Economic development Canton Santa Cruz

Infrastructure The Galapagos National Park has the responsibility of keeping the islands in good condition, as well as the protected areas. Also, this agency has planned and implemented for a period of 4 years an investment project called "Sustainable Infrastructure for Good Island Living of the Galápagos Archipelago".

Malecón The main boardwalk on Santa Cruz Island is located on the main street called Charles Darwin Avenue in Puerto Ayora. It was opened in 2004 which has become a traditional place for residents. In the evenings every day they play volleyball and the children enjoy themselves in the park. Two minutes away we find the Fishermen's Wharf named because the product of the fishermen is offered directly and freshly; It has become a place very visited by tourists.

Economic activity The inhabitants of the island live on tourism, fishing and farming. Tourism attracts some 60,000 or 70,000 people per year, progressively damaging the island's ecosystem. There has been the practice of excessive fishing of sea cucumbers and lobsters by fishermen. The activities of the inhabitants of these islands are fishing, tourism and cultivation for their own experience and local consumption.

Cultures and traditions Canton Santa Cruz

In the Galápagos Islands, women are the ones who usually have to take care of their children and do chores around the house and most of the men work as fishermen, which has been an economic resource for the family. The Galapagos Islands have a great variety of flora and fauna and beautiful tourist places.

Gastronomy Canton Santa Cruz

The diverse Ecuadorian ethnic groups and the influence of Germans, Americans, Norwegians and other foreign cultures that colonized the Galapagos, made the gastronomy of the islands a fusion of flavors, capable of surprising the most demanding palates. Thanks to its geographical location, the archipelago offers visitors a wide range of recipes made with seafood, such as fish, lobster, shrimp and canchalagua, the latter is a mollusk that exists only on the islands.

Typical Foods Santa Cruz Canton

Arroz marinero.- is a very popular dish from the coastal areas, the main ingredient is rice, to which shrimp, shells, squid, mussels ... in short, all kinds of seafood and fish are added. Also it usually takes garlic, onion, pepper, a touch of cilantro and varied spices. Seafood Soup.- or seafood soup is a very typical and traditional recipe of the Galapagos Islands. As in the case of seafood rice, in a seafood soup you can add all kinds of seafood, ie fish and seafood. It is a dish that is currently consumed throughout the country.

Desserts Bolón de verde.- These are balls the size of a fist made with green plantains cooked and crushed, you add a filling based on cheese or pork rinds. It can be consumed directly or fried. In this way, it is slightly toasted and crispy on the outside. It is served with fried egg, stewed meat and a cup of coffee. Other meals.- We can not fail to mention other important things like: cod with potatoes, lobster ceviche, shrimp ceviche, fish viche, onions, breaded shrimp and fried witch fish.

Places to visit in the Santa Cruz Canton

Punta Estrada Beach in the Santa Cruz Canton

This small and calm beach is a place to enjoy practicing swimming and snorkeling, especially at high tide. From here the surfers go to a nearby place where they find good waves. To get to that beach, you must take a water taxi from the passenger pier of Puerto Ayora to the pier of the Finch Bay Hotel.
A short walk will take you through small saltwater lagoons where migratory birds live.

The Cracks in the Holy Cross Canton

This landscape is formed by interesting fissures of lava that form two giant walls crossed by an arm of brackish water filtered from the upper part where it mixes with the sea water. Giant cacti are a feature of this landscape. Highly recommended for swimming and snorkeling, for the transparency of its water.

Beach of the Charles Darwin Station in the Santa Cruz Canton

This is a small beach where local people have easy access to the sea. You can finish your visit to the Turtle Breeding Center on this beach, where marine iguanas and finches are easy to observe, you can enjoy a nice experience snorkeling on the beach. From the Information Office of the Galapagos National Park, continue on a path 150 meters towards the Charles Darwin Foundation, then take the first path on the right.

The Garrapatero in the Santa Cruz Canton

It is a beautiful unspoiled beach where you can enjoy turquoise water. Behind the beach there is a lagoon where flamingos and black-necked patillas can be found. Galapagos finches and migratory birds from the coasts are easy to find. Located east of the town of Bellavista, the best way to get there is by renting a taxi from Puerto Ayora. From the parking lot you have to walk a path about one kilometer.

The Laguna de las Ninfas in the Santa Cruz Canton

From the center of Puerto Ayora, two blocks behind the Catholic Church, you will find a calm lagoon surrounded by mangroves. The lagoon owes its name to the first inhabitants, Norwegians and Germans, who usually bathed here. At present you can find young people jumping from the dock. It is also the habitat of different types of herons and pelicans.

Giant Turtle and Terrestrial Iguana Breeding Center in the Santa Cruz Canton

The Charles Darwin Foundation was inaugurated in January 1964 and the breeding center in cooperation with the Galapagos National Park Service, a few years later. Here you can see turtles from different islands, of which the most famous one is "El Solitario George", the last survivor of the turtles of Pinta Island. You can see turtles very close if you enter the pens. Interesting information on the different conservation programs of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation is available during your visit. The Center is open from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Turtles are more active during feeding that is Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the mornings. It is located near the town, approximately 1.5 km from the center of Puerto Ayora.

Tortuga Bay in the Canton of Santa Cruz

It is one of the longest white sand beaches of the archipelago, excellent place to swim, snorkel, kayak or just walk. Marine iguanas, sharks and sea turtles can be seen here and inside bird watching you can enjoy migratory birds walking along the coast. A rock located to the west divides the beach, resulting in a small calm beach surrounded by mangroves. From the Galapagos National School (local school) a path will lead you to this beautiful beach, the distance is approximately 2.5 km. long. Please stay away from the dunes where sea turtles nest. Visiting hours last from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Lava Tunnels in the Santa Cruz Canton

Experience total darkness and learn about the formation of these wonderful islands. There are some tunnels that you can visit in the different farms. There is also a small tunnel next to the road to Baltra, 3 km away from Puerto Ayora. It is a good alternative if you can visit the farms. You can take a tour at local Travel Agencies or rent a taxi from Puerto Ayora. Enjoy your visit to this unique and wonderful Natural Heritage of Humanity. Santa Cruz will make your stay an unforgettable experience.

Tortuga Bay in the Canton of Santa Cruz

It is one of the longest white sand beaches of the archipelago, excellent place to swim, snorkel, kayak or just walk. Marine iguanas, sharks and sea turtles can be seen here and inside bird watching you can enjoy migratory birds walking along the coast. A rock located to the west divides the beach, resulting in a small calm beach surrounded by mangroves. From the Galapagos National School (local school) a path will lead you to this beautiful beach, the distance is approximately 2.5 km. long. Please stay away from the dunes where sea turtles nest. Visiting hours last from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Lava Tunnels in the Santa Cruz Canton

Experience total darkness and learn about the formation of these wonderful islands. There are some tunnels that you can visit in the different farms. There is also a small tunnel next to the road to Baltra, 3 km away from Puerto Ayora. It is a good alternative if you can visit the farms. You can take a tour at local Travel Agencies or rent a taxi from Puerto Ayora. Enjoy your visit to this unique and wonderful Natural Heritage of Humanity. Santa Cruz will make your stay an unforgettable experience.

Finca of the Norwegians in the Canton of Santa Cruz

A trip through time, enjoy visiting the farm of one of the first settlers of Santa Cruz Island. The owners of this farm can tell you the fascinating history of their ancestors in the first decades of 1900. This farm is located a few minutes from the town of Camote (7 km from Puerto Ayora), if you want to visit this place you can rent a Taxi or walk from the town of Bellavista for approximately 3 Km.

The Twins in the Santa Cruz Canton

They are collapsed craters formed by a series of eruptions when the islands were still active. Twin craters are the only place on the island where the Escalecia forest is located. Some species of Galápagos Finches and often the beautiful witch bird can be seen here. You can take a tour at the local Travel Agencies or take a taxi from Puerto Ayora in thirty minutes you can reach the Gemelos, the craters are located on the sides of the road to Baltra.

Canal de las Tintoreras in the Santa Cruz Canton

The only way to get to these sites is on a bay tour boat. This tour will include a short walk through the arid zone that will take you to Playa de los Perros. This beach is very rocky for swimming, but you can observe hundreds of zayapas, marine iguanas and marine birds. La Lobería is a small islet and perhaps the only place where you can swim, snorkel or dive with sea lions at any time of the year, although it is not allowed to reach the shore, due to strong currents. In the channel of Las Tintoreras (white-tipped sharks) and Del Amor, you can observe marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, pelicans, terns, different species of fish and even sharks.

Giant Turtle Reserve - El Chato in the Santa Cruz Canton

In the upper part of the island giant tortoises can be seen roaming freely around the lagoon of Chato. Ducks and hens also have their habitat here, but it is not difficult to find frigates taking a bath in the lagoon. Turtles also walk through some farms in the area. Those who prefer a short walk can pay a small fee to the finqueros to enter the tourist farms. You can take a tour in a travel agency or take a taxi or a bicycle from Puerto Ayora. It is located approximately 20 km from Puerto Ayora.

A trip through time, enjoy visiting the farm of one of the first settlers of Santa Cruz Island. The owners of this farm can tell you the fascinating history of their ancestors in the first decades of 1900. This farm is located a few minutes from the town of Camote (7 km from Puerto Ayora), if you want to visit this place you can rent a Taxi or walk from the town of Bellavista for approximately 3 Km.

The Twins in the Santa Cruz Canton

They are collapsed craters formed by a series of eruptions when the islands were still active. Twin craters are the only place on the island where the Escalecia forest is located. Some species of Galápagos Finches and often the beautiful witch bird can be seen here. You can take a tour at the local Travel Agencies or take a taxi from Puerto Ayora in thirty minutes you can reach the Gemelos, the craters are located on the sides of the road to Baltra.

Canal de las Tintoreras in the Santa Cruz Canton

The only way to get to these sites is on a bay tour boat. This tour will include a short walk through the arid zone that will take you to Playa de los Perros. This beach is very rocky for swimming, but you can observe hundreds of zayapas, marine iguanas and marine birds. La Lobería is a small islet and perhaps the only place where you can swim, snorkel or dive with sea lions at any time of the year, although it is not allowed to reach the shore, due to strong currents. In the channel of Las Tintoreras (white-tipped sharks) and Del Amor, you can observe marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, pelicans, terns, different species of fish and even sharks.

Giant Turtle Reserve - El Chato in the Santa Cruz Canton

In the upper part of the island giant tortoises can be seen roaming freely around the lagoon of Chato. Ducks and hens also have their habitat here, but it is not difficult to find frigates taking a bath in the lagoon. Turtles also walk through some farms in the area. Those who prefer a short walk can pay a small fee to the finqueros to enter the tourist farms. You can take a tour in a travel agency or take a taxi or a bicycle from Puerto Ayora. It is located approximately 20 km from Puerto Ayora.

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