San Cristobal Island


This is the easternmost island in the Galapagos archipelago, and the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital of the Galapagos province. With a population of about 3,000, it is the second largest town to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz.
The island has an Ecuadorian Navy base and an airport, the latter now taking a considerable amount of traffic from mainland Ecuador. As a consequence, a number of tour boats are now based at the island.

      Punta Pit  
Situated on the north eastern tip of the island there is a wet landing onto the beach. The trail is a steep climb up a cliff path and starts through a narrow ravine. A number of different birds can be seen here, in particular all three species of boobies, red-footed, blue-footed and masked. Frigate birds are present, as are swallow-tailed gulls and storm petrels.
      El Junco Lake  
This is the only large freshwater lake in the Galapagos. It is filled by rainwater and therefore it's depth varies with the seasons. This site is reached by road and is about a half hour drive from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The road goes through the small farming settlement of El Progreso. The lake itself is the caldera (collapsed cone) of an extinct volcano and is about 300 metres wide. It is considered one of the most spectacular landscapes in the Galapagos archipelago.
      Frigatebird Hill  
Also reached from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Frigatebird Hill is within walking distance (1 km) of the town. Here one can see nesting colonies of both 'great' and 'magnificent' frigatebirds.
Leon Dormido (Sleeping Lion) or Kicker Rock
While not on the island itself, Leon Dormido is a rock formation in the sea north west of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. This is a vertical rock formation formed from a tuff cone and about 500 feet high.
It is not possible to land here but a panga trip can be made between the two rocks which make up the formation. Blue footed boobies, masked boobies, frigatebirds and sea-lions can be seen here. Some small yachts also navigate in between the two rocks as part of your adventure.
      Lobos Island  
A small island, it's main claim to fame are the sea lions from which it takes it's name. Blue footed boobies and frigate birds also nest here.
      Puerto Baquerizo Moreno  
This fisherman town offers all the facilities, being the seat of the Galapagos Province government, it is also the place where you have to go to extend your visa or for any other administrative formalities. It is possible to shop for souvenirs or check email from an internet café.
      Interpretation Center  
A great place to learn a little more about the natural and human history of the islands enhanced by presentations given by your Galapagos park guide, this visit lasts more or less one hour. This center was built in cooperation of the Ecuadorian and Spanish governments and its main focus of study is the geology of the Islands.
Surfing If there is one place you should go to if you are fond of surf, San Cristobal is the place, it is considered one of the best surf beaches in South America, many international tournaments have been held here. Scuba diving is also very popular.
The vessel which cast anchor off the island of Chatham on that day of September 1835 has remained, until today, the most famous ship to have reached the Galapagos islands. And one of its passengers is still the most eminent visitor to have ever come to these shores: it is on this historic day that Charles Darwin, aboard HMS Beagle, started to explore the area (Santiago, Floreana, Isabela and San Cristobal).
More recently, in the last century history of the archipelago, the old Chatham –as it has been named (after William Pitt, First Earl of Chatham) by the English Captain James Colnett who came to the island in 1793 to investigate the possibilities of whaling- has been associated with the "empire" of Manuel J. Cobos. This Cuenca born businessman started to colonise the island in 1879 and built a huge sugar refinery complex. Labour conditions at the "Progreso Hacienda" were extremely hard. Salaries were miserable. Justice was expeditious. Convicts, undesirable and "rebels" where sent to exile on desert islands where they were almost sure to die of thirst. On January 15, 1904, Manuel J. Cobos -together with Don Leonardo Reina, the Territory "governor"- was assassinated by some of his workers. The remains of his house, as well as his tomb (now empty), can still be seen in El Progreso, on the highlands of San Cristobal. After him came the Norwegians, followed by the Germans, the Americans and so many other pioneers in search for a better world. San Cristobal -as it is known today in honour of St Christopher, patron saint of sailors- is the capital of the Galapagos archipelago since the latest became an Ecuadorian Province (February 17, 1973).