Though a small town it has the best infrastructure in the Galapagos with the largest number of hotels, restaurants and stores. Other services include grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, boat supplies, a small hospital and a hyperbaric chamber. Puerto Ayora is home to the Galapagos National Park, the Darwin Foundation and the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Due to Santa Cruz central location within the islands Puerto Ayora is the best base for those people wishing to visit the Galapagos while staying on shore.
Passengers arriving by plane fly into the Baltra Airport (GPS) on the neighboring island. Flights arriving daily from continental Ecuador arriving from either Quito or Guayaquil. Airlines providing service include:
From the Baltra airport, there are two sets of buses taking people from the airport. Once set takes people who are boarding a cruise they other takes passengers to the Itabaca channel between Baltra and Santa Cruz to transfer to the island of Santa Cruz. Arriving at the canal passengers need to claim their luggage and place it aboard a ferry to the other side. Then arriving on Santa Cruz, claim their luggage once again and either take another bus to the terminal Puerto Ayora, or one of the pick-up trucks/taxis to Puerto Ayora.
There is public transportation via local speed boats to both San Cristobal and Puerto Villamil on Isabela daily. They leave at 2PM and the 2-hour, and tend to be rough and noisy boat ride costs. There are no bathrooms or other services available on these boats and passengers should carry their own water or snacks.
Many people arrive annually by private yacht as part of a trip around the world. Puerto Ayora is one of the few spots in Galapagos private yachts are able to visit. Private boats no more than 10 passengers on board may stay a maximum of 20 days in Galapagos. No tourism activities are permitted on board and those arriving by private boat need to check in with the port captain and pay appropriate governmental and national park fees.
Licensed Yacht Handling Agencies can assist private vessels secure cruise permits. Local agencies include Galayachts
Puerto Ayora is small enough to explore by foot. Most tourism is concentrated along the waterfront. White pickup truck taxis operate and can provide transportation around town, into the highlands, or across the island. Water taxis are available at the main dock and can take you to either a waiting boat or the dock on the other side.
- Charles Darwin Research Station, Avenida Charles Darwin(Located at the end of the road on the eastern edge of town), . 6am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. Has extensive exhibits on the natural history of the islands. The breeding programs at the station allow visitors to see many iguanas, tortoises, and other animals in various stages of their lives. The most famous resident of the station is Lonesome George, a tortoise found on Pinta island who is believed to be the last of his sub-species. Free.
- Visit Tortuga Bay. A beautiful white sand beach located a 30-45 minute walk from the west side of town.
- Las Griatas
- Bay Tour
- Darwin Station
Diving in the Galapagos isn't cheap - count on paying at least $150 per dive.
- Scuba Iguana Av Charles Darwin(close to the entrance of the Darwin station), ☎ 05 2526497(firstname.lastname@example.org). One of the first dive companies in the Galapagos. Scuba Iguana has their own boats and dock.
- Sub Aqua Av Charles Darwin, ☎ 05 2526350(email@example.com). Located across from the fishermans dock sub aqua offers daily dive trips.
- Galapagos Coffee
Ecuador uses the U.S. Dollar. Bring bills in smaller denominations.
The Banco de Pacifico is the only bank on the island. It gives cash advances on MasterCards, changes cash or cashes in travellers' cheques. It also has a MasterCard/Cirrus ATM, but it will not always work, so bring at least enough money to survive the first few days.
There is a Banco Bolivano ATM machine located in front of Proinsular that works with the Visa/Plus system.
- Angermeyer Point, (take a water taxi to the private dock on the other side). With the most scenic view in Puerto Ayora, meals are served both inside and outside waterfront. Angermeyer Point is a popular destination for groups or those wanting to celebrate with a romantic meal.
- Red Mangrove Restaurant and Sushi Bar, Av Charles Darwin(Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge). dinner only 6pm to 9pm. Maki rolls, sashimi, sushi and other Japanese dishes along with exotic drinks served waterfront. http://www.redmangrove.com
- La Dolce Italia, Av Charles Darwin(Front of the Port Captain). Lunch and Dinner. The island's Italian Restaurant.
- Garrapata, Av Charles Darwin. Open 9am -10 pm Mon-Sat. Outdoor covered dining serving seafood and pasta dishes.
- Hernan Cafe, Av Charles Darwin y via Baltra(Located in front of the park).
Puerto Ayora nightlife is not comparable to many tourist destinations. It is more relaxed. There are several bars and discos where you can go out and have a good time.
- Limón y café, Av. Charles Darwin. Chill out with a beer or play some pool or tablefootball. There is also small dance floor to watch the locals dance salsa or for non-locals to try to dance it.
- Bongo Bar(The Bongo), Av Charles Darwin(upstairs from Garrapata). nightly except Sundays. Drinks, music, videos and pool one of the more popular destinations in Puerto Ayora.
- The Rock, Av Charles Darwin. Clean, well lit and comfortable place to enjoy a drink and enjoy a conversation.
Accommodation in Puerto Ayora is generally over-priced. There is a 22% tax added. In low season or for stays over two nights try bargaining.
- Hotel Santa Cruz. One of the cheapest hotels in town, but it has little else going for it. Rooms have private bathrooms with cold water.Approximately $7.
- B&B Peregrina, Av. Charles Darwin. Clean rooms have air-conditioning and a private bathroom with hot shower. A small breakfast is included in the price.
- Hotel Fernandina, (firstname.lastname@example.org). $90+ including tax and breakfast.
- Casa del Lago, Near the Ninfas lake, Puerto Ayora, (email@example.com), . A small artistic lodging house and restaurant. Rooms include well stocked kitchen with refrigerators.~$70.
- Finch Bay Galapagos Eco Hotel, ☎ (593-5) 2526297 or (593-5) 2526298, . Unique location and friendly staff. Numerous activities to choose from, such as SCUBA diving, snorkeling, mountain biking and PADI diving programs.$250+.
- Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge, Av. Charles Darwin y Las Fragatas, ☎ (593 5) 2526 564, . Built inside a mangrove forest in front of the sea between the bustle of downtown and the Charles Darwin Research Station...5-minute walk to either. Luxurious rooms, friendly English speaking staff, eco-conscience, restaurant with sushi, day tours, dive tours, and island hopping with lodges on Isabela and Floreana. http://www.redmangrove.com
- Crossman Hotel, . The Crossman Hotel offer you a new alternative of accommodations in Santa Cruz Island, with the capacity for 19 passengers distributed in one triple and eight double comfortable bedrooms, hot water in a pleasant environment which will make your stay an unforgettable experience.
Thorough an agency or with prior arrangement you can visit the uninhabited locations on Bartolome, North Seymour, Santa Fe, Plazas or Floreana.
This page was last edited at 21:16, on 9 February 2009 by Ryan Holliday. Based on work by Bill Johnson, Stacy Hall, David, Felicity T, Gonzalo Alvarez and Todd VerBeek, Wikitravel user(s) Movera, Squidly2, Pashley and Ronald, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.