1. Swim with Sea Lions for free at Concha de Perla (Puerto Villamil)
If you’re an early bird who wants a once in a lifetime experience, beat the crowds and head up to Concha de Perla early in the morning for a chance to snorkel with sea lions! Bring snorkel gear or rent some from the local dive shop and dive in to have some fun with the playful ‘dogs of the sea’ and other marine life in the calm waters of this lava-walled haven.
2. Soak up the sun on the idyllic Puerto Grande beach
A favourite of Galapagan locals this stunning San Cristobal beach is a perfect place to top up the tan, swim and snorkel. Local stories talk of buried treasure hidden here below the sand and sea (although none has ever been found), but this stunning paradise is a treasure in itself! Be sure to look out for the many different birds that make their home here, namely Brown Pelicans and the Lava Heron.
3. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre (San Cristobal)
The extensive biological research station continues the scientific research started by Charles Darwin, with the area inspiring his ground-breaking theory of natural selection. Here you can see the amazing work the volunteers are doing with their captive tortoise breeding program: baby-tortoise incubators and a walk-in adult tortoise enclosure to meet the gentle giants up close.
4. Explore the Lava Tubes of Santa Cruz
These magnificent natural tunnels were formed from hot, liquid rock that created channels on the island. The outer part of a channel hardened and cooled even as the interior lava continued to flow. Eventually, the flowing interior lava emptied out, leaving a hollow cave-like structure. Fascinating to explore, you can do so independently or with a tour guide.
5. See the Wall of Tears
One of the saddest but most magnificent man-made sites in the Galapagos is the Wall of Tears. Between 1945-1959 prisoners were forced to build this wall, stone by stone, in isolation. Now a towering 65 feet tall the historical site took thousands of lives during its construction and locals claim to hear cries from the heavy energy that surrounds the site.