San Cristobal, Galapagos

The easternmost island of the archipelago, San Cristobal, has a population of approximately 7,000 inhabitants. It is not the most popular, nor developed, tourist destination in the Galapagos, but it does have its own special charm. With a newly renovated airport that can handle jumbo jets, the island has traditionally been known as the jumping off point for cruises but not so much as a tourist destination.

The main town is built on a beautiful and protected horseshoe bay. Two thirds of the island is accessible only by boat and quiet, empty beaches abound. There is great diving, surfing, fishing and sailing to be enjoyed on the coast, while the highlands provide a contrasting cooler and greener environment.

The island is the site of the oldest established settlement in the islands and the seat of the municipal government. It was a destination of Darwin and is home to an Ecuadorian Naval base. San Cristobal was named after the patron saint of seafarers, St. Christopher.

The municipal capital of the province of Galapagos is the main port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, located on the southwestern tip of the island. This town has a beautiful boardwalk, with restaurants, bars, bakeries, and ice cream shops on one side and beaches and black volcanic rocks covered in sea lions, marine iguanas, pelicans, and Sally Lightfooted crabs on the other. And of course, the turquoise sea provides a perfect backdrop.