Santa Cruz Island reaches a maximum altitude of 854 meters (2,835 ft.). The areas with a higher elevation are known as the Highlands.
Due to the altitude, Santa Cruz Highlands provide us with a fresh respite from the sun, making this place the perfect habitat for the giant galapagos tortoises, Galapagos finches and other land animals and plants. Galapagos giant tortoises were nearly extinct in the 19th century due to the constant hunting. Until today, extensive conservation efforts are made with the purpose of saving the remaining population. Almost every bird in the Galapagos has been spotted on Santa Cruz which makes the highlands the perfect spot for bird watching. You will be surrounded by the impressive flora and fauna and the unique volcanic features of the Highlands.
It is not necessary to book a private tour to visit the highlands. We suggest you to rent a private van in Puerto Ayora that will drive you to some of the most famous ranches.
A place where giant tortoises are living and where we can spot them from quite close and take amazing pictures. There are a great number of lava tunnels that can be accessed from different points on the island, entrance to the tunnels is dark and requires stairs AND there are lights hung throughout. The paths can be slippery due to the mud.
“Get your boots on and walk in the mud amongst the giant wild tortoises. It was such a close up experience. The food was great and hearty. My fairly low expectations were wildly exceeded. We were at the second largest lava tunnel in South America, the lava tube is bit wet because of the drippings from the ceiling. I would suggest to bring a frontal lamp. One of the most perfect beaches, we had the place almost to ourselves. “– Betty. Washington DC, USA.