Little Places – San Cristobel Island, Galapagos
I should start today’s post off by saying that pretty much anywhere in the Galapagos can be classified as a ‘Little Place’ – it’s not as if it’s teeming with thousands upon thousands of people. The towns and islands are thankfully sparsely populated, and the number of tourists allowed to visit I think is also limited. But I think the nicest island I found there was San Cristobel Island.
The final island of the tour I did now two years ago, San Cristobel was just as gorgeous and as amazing as any other part of the islands. Yet somehow a little more so. I was limited to the main town and surrounds, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, but I found it the most chilled out part of Galapagos and perfect for doing as little as possible and yet getting a decent ‘Galapagos’ experience. I stayed with the group in the rather grim ‘Hostal Los Cactus’, however, there were a number of better, more upmarket options also in much better locations around the beach.
And by that I mean – swimming, snorkelling and seeing interesting animals. The town is beset, not in a bad way, by sea-lions. They come right up the beach in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, although they are not there to be petted by the humans. It’s their habitat too, and yes you do need to give them their space and keep away from the ‘Alpha Males’ especially. But keep your distance and you can observe a real slice of Galapagos life in front of you as two ‘Alphas’ go head to head!
It’s a good place to jump off for snorkelling expeditions, but you can also hire the equipment in town and go snorkelling around the beaches and rocks yourself. I spent half a day at a beach (Playa Mann) going in and out of the water swimming with the fish and the amazing sea-lions, some of which will swim around you like it’s a game. They can be just as curious as you. They probably don’t have action cameras though hehe. The snorkelling is probably not as amazing as further out on a boat trip, but I did it at my own pace and got some reading in too!
It’s a splendid place to take in the sun and the sea. And there are a number of decent eateries including a wonderful restaurant attached to a hotel (Golden Bay Galapagos Hotel & Spa I believe) that did magnificent thin crust pizzas which were pretty awesome. Washed down nicely with a beer or vino too!
Go for a walk and you too may be lucky enough to encounter Galapagos’ most amazing bird, the blue footed booby. I headed out to the rocks where they were supposed to live, and only found one seconds before giving up. I crept slowly towards it taking photos as I went and in the end I was able to get within a few metres without frightening it to flight. This is at the Punta Carola.
The Interpretation Centre is a bit of a museum with a nice little history of the islands, and is well worth spending an hour or two in to get to know how it’s all gone down over the last few hundred years, and to learn a little about who else but Charles Darwin.
If you’re looking for some low-key animal encounters, beautiful weather and a little snorkelling, as well as being able to find some good eats, that San Cristobel is your island in the Galapagos! Thanks for reading – and May the Journey Never End!