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How do I get from Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal Island?

One of our clients' most frequently asked questions

How do I get from Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal Island?

How do I get from Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal Island?

We recommend taking a short flight. Local air taxi operator Emetebe operates a fleet of Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander aircraft. These usually have a strict weight limit for checked baggage of 20 lbs per person, and the carry-on limit is 5lb. Excess weight fees can be paid, but for heavy bags you may need to purchase two seats to ensure it can all travel with you. 

Prices vary but are usually around 220$ per person, and take about an hour from boarding to arrival. We recommend this option as the most convenient and the most scenic. We are happy to book your internal flights for you, just let our Galapagos experts know when you contact us.

There is a cheaper option, but it is somewhat more complicated and takes a lot longer… Your first task is to get to Santa Cruz by taking the bus from the airport to the channel that separates Baltra from Santa Cruz. There are free airline buses that operate on this 10 minute journey after each aircraft arrival. The channel crossing is easy via the private or government-operated ferries - these cost either $2 or $1 per person.

Once ashore on Santa Cruz you need to take a taxi on the 27 mile trip to Puerto Ayora you will need to take a taxi costing about $25. Once in Puerto Ayora, there are two fast ferries a day, one leaves at 7am (you won't be able to catch this one as it leaves before all international flights arrive) and one leaving at 2pm. You will need to hurry to catch this one as you must arrive 30 minutes prior to departure to have your bags inspected by SICGAL for any organic goods. They must have an official SICGAL tag before they are allowed to be put onboard. There can be a long wait in line for this. Once on board, the fast ferry makes the journey in around 3 hours, and you will arrive at about 5pm. Rather than buying tickets at the ferry dock we highly recommend buying in advance. If the fast ferry is fully booked you will need to wait overnight before you can try again. We can arrange to book your advance tickets for you, just ask us for more information when you book your cruise.

We can't recommend the fast ferry option because the timing is very tight to get from your flight to catch the afternoon sailing, and you won't arrive in San Cristobal until the early evening. It's not the most relaxing start to your adventure and takes up a whole day, but if you are traveling on a strict budget this might be the way to stick to it. Our Galapagos experts will be pleased to give you the full pros and cons of both option, just call us now to discuss your needs and budget and we'll find a way to make it happen for you.

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