Things to do in San Cristóbal Island – Isla San Cristobal

See a vast collection of indigenous Galapagos animals in San Cristobal

Isla San Cristobel de Ecuador, San Cristóbal for short, is one of the main islands in the Galapagos archipelago, Ecuador. This island is where Charles Darwin first landed during his Beagle expedition. Wildlife watching, snorkeling, and scuba diving are the most popular things to do in San Cristóbal while visiting the beautiful island.


Things to do in San Cristóbal


Flora and fauna

The flora and fauna on the entire Galapagos Islands are spectacular and one of a kind. What you will see in San Cristóbal is no different, as you can watch different animals, birds, and marine creatures roaming freely on the bay and in the highlands.

San Cristóbal is home to various tropical birds, swallow-tailed seagulls, dolphins, frigate birds, blue and red footed boobies, Galapagos tortoises, Galapagos sea lions, and a host of other animals representing hundreds of species.


Scuba diving

Scuba diving is also a popular activity in San Cristóbal as there are plenty of amazing dive spots near the island.


Highland tours

Highland tours are offered in the island and you just have to get a permit and hire a guide to venture into the wilds. Some of the places you will most likely visit are Cerro Tijeretas, Puerto Chino, and El Junco.


When to go to San Cristóbal

There is never a bad time to spend a holiday in San Cristóbal as each season rewards tourists with different attractions.


December through May is the island’s wet summer season. It often drizzles or rains during these months but the water and air temperatures are warmer. Snorkeling, swimming, and scuba diving are ideal at this time of the year, but you won’t see as much marine animals as during the winter season. On the brighter side, this is the mating season for sea lions, tortoises and birds, so you can do lots of wildlife watching during these months.


June through November is the island’s dry winter season, with much colder water and air temperatures. If you are brave enough to go diving in the cold water, you will be rewarded by large schools of fishes and a host of seabirds. You can also see penguins and blue footed boobies on the bay at this time of year.


Isla San Cristobal Facts

Population6 000
CurrencyUS dollar
AirportSan Cristóbal Airport, Ecuador (SCY)


UNESCO World Heritage Sites San Cristóbal Island - Galápagos Islands

As inspiration to Darwin’s theory of evolution, the isolated Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean are known as unique sites in terms of fauna, flora and geology, and were recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978. Due to many factors including its remote situation in a confluence of three ocean currents and the ongoing volcanic activity, the islands have an unusual wildlife including many giant tortoises or land iguanas that is being protected like in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. If you are lucky enough to visit them, make sure to at least once go to the beach early in the morning to enjoy the spectacular wildlife. If you are in Isabel Island, the tour to Los Túneles, an area carved out of lava by the ocean, includes snorkelling and seeing many animals including sharks, sea turtles and even penguins among many others! Camera with waterproof case is a must!

Read more about UNESCO World Heritage Sites