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Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
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Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the capital of the province of Galápagos. It is the main port, located on the southwestern tip of San Cristobal island.
Although there is a small beach in the center of town, it is not for humans. It is cordoned off and is devoted to the sea lions. On the north side of town, Playa Del Oro is also devoted to sea lions.The main focal point of Puerto Baquerizo is the attractive Wharf / Malecón and Shipwreck Bay, which is a busy harbor for all the tour operators, private yachts, and a few local fishermen.
Sea lions in the Galapagos are akin to sacred cows in India. Protected and revered. They go where they please with impunity, and they are fearless about living among human kind. In Puerto Baquerizo they are everywhere: on sidewalks, public benches, boat decks and the strangest places. Be careful, they bite. While they may be friendly in water, on land it is best to stay at least 2 meters away from them.
The two beaches suitable for humans nearest to the port are north of the town. They are Playa Mann, the main swimming beach, and Playa Carola a lesser beach near one of two main surf breaks. From the wharf, you can get to each of them in 10 or 25 mins respectively. Head over to the Interpretation Center, you’ll reach Playa Mann just before it, and you can reach Playa Carola by following a paved path leading to it and Frigatebird Hill from the Information Center.
Sea lions are abundant at all the beaches, and rocky areas up and down the west coast of San Cristobal, and if you head 5 miles up the coast by boat, you’ll reach Lobos island (Sea Lion Island) where you can see large groups of them basking in the sun, playing in the water and making lots of noise.
The town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno offers some good dining options, though a bit pricey, street side cafes along the wharf and some shopping, but it is not a party town. This is the place to come for a romantic getaway and as a “home base” for hiking and boating day trips on and off the island. A few streets back from the Malecón restaurants are 30% less expensive, and you can also find “Menu” at some of them.
There are numerous dive centers and tour operators on the island that provide a variety of excursion packages and personalized tours. Many hotels also have arrangements with the tour operators, so you are spoiled for choice. You can save a lot of money and help the Galapagos economy much more, by booking day tours, directly with local operators on arrival, rather than booking tours through agencies that are not based in the Galapagos.
Just 1 km from the center of town, San Cristobal has a domestic airport (SCY), which services inter-island flights and the mainland. LAN and TAME are the main carriers servicing the island.
Bring lots of cash. The stores, hotels and restaurants much prefer cash over credit cards.
Beach activities include:
|Type of beach||White sand|
|Length of beach||700 ft / 250 m|
|Wind direction||From South East|
|Restaurants and Cafes||Good variety in town|
Interpretation Center: Just 10 minutes walk from the wharf, the Interpretation Center is a government sponsored operation focused on education and conservation. You can take a tour through the facility where you’ll learn about the history of the islands and conservation efforts around the Galapagos. At the Museum of Natural History you can learn about the volcanic origins of the islands, its special climate, the evolution of different endemic species, and the impact of humans on the fragile Galapagos ecosystems.
Isla Lobos: Separated from the mainland by a narrow 300 meter channel, Isla Lobos is a sanctuary and nesting site for blue footed boobies and large colonies of two different types of sea lions. It is also an excellent diving and snorkeling spot, where you can dive among the sea lions, marine Iguanas, turtles and loads of unusual fish. It is ideal for mixed parties of divers and snorkelers. The water is calm and shallow, only 30ft at its deepest, which makes it a very easy, and safe dive spot for novices.
Snorkeling: Some people are not fans of organized snorkeling on a time limit. If that’s you, don’t worry, much of the island is surrounded by reefs, so there is decent snorkeling at almost every beach on the island. Obviously it’s not the same as Scuba Diving or snorkeling at one of the dive sites, but its a fun passtime for all ages. You can rent snorkel gear from dive shops, and your hotel may have a few sets they lend out or rent. But, If you have taken the trouble to buy your own snorkeling gear, bring it, it will probably fit better and be more comfortable, giving you more time in the water!
Here are three good spots to consider that don’t require a guide: the cove at Las Tijeretas Point, the beach at La Loberia, and Playa Carola also known as Playa Mann. All three are very close to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Scuba Diving: In addition to nearby Isla Lobos, there are four other major dive sites around San Cristobal. These are: Five Fingers, Kicker Rock (Sleeping Lion), Whale Rock (Roca Orca) and Pitt Point (Punta Pitt). Check out the map of dive sites.
Surfing: San Cristobal gets the benefit of both northern swells and southern swells with the result that there is consistent surf for most of the year, with December thru April beng the best months. Right next to Puerto Baquerizo there are two excellent surf breaks, El Canon and Punta Carola, both are visible from the pier on the wharf, so you can see which is best and then decide.
Laguna el Junco: This is a beautiful freshwater lake formed in the crater of a dormant volcano. Its a fantastic hike to the rim of the crater, rich in fauna and flora, and at the top you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the northern part of the island.
Bird Watching: It goes without saying bird watching opportunities are everywhere. But there are different birds in different places. For example at El Junco lake you’ll find man species taking advantage of the rare freshwater supply, including Frigates, Grebes, Pintails and Mockingbirds, while at Playa Ochoa you’ll see various species of Darwin Finches.
Giant Tortoise: On the north side of the island, you can visit a Tortoise Reserve called La Galapaguera. Here they are breeding them and releasing them back into the wild. This is the foremost effort in the Galapagos to preserve these creatures which are unfortunately dwindling in numbers.
Hiking: There are hiking trails everywhere. But one hiking area close to the town in the south east of the island is La Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado, which is a dry forest area inhabited by giant tortoises and many different birds. Here the tortioses are in their natural habitat and roaming free.
Surf and weather by surf-forcast.com
Hotels and Hostals around Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
|Dive and Surf Club||Diving Tours||098 087 7122|
|Come to Galapagos||Eco Tours||05 252 1251|
|Wreck Bay Diving Center||Diving Tours||05 252 1663|
|Chalo Tours||Diving Tours||05 252 0953|
|Shark Sky||Eco Tours||05 252 1188|
|Turisgal S. A.||Eco Tours||05 252 1049|
|Bike Rental Company||Bike Rental||05 252 0696|
|Tranquilo Divers||Diving Tours||05 301 0271|
|Gala Kiwi||Eco Tours|
|Viga Travel||Land & Aquatic Tours||098 726 2196|
|Ecuagringo Adventures||Sports Fishing||099 595 6542|
|Galeodan||Sports Fishing||05 252 1613|
|Galagents||Booking agents||05 252 7139; 05 252 6472; 02 243 1188; 02 602 2355|
|Opuntia Galapagos Eco Journeys||Eco Tours||02 604 6800|
|Galapagos Blue Evolution||Diving Tours||05 301 0264|
|Tours Galapagos San Cristobal||Land & Aquatic Tours||05 252 1687|
|Franklin Dive Center||Diving Tours||05 252 1543|
|Galapagos Fishing Adventures||Sports Fishing||05 252 1537|
|Wave Hunters Surf Travel||Adventure Holidays|