Adventure Cruises in Santiago Island

Santiago Island Cruises are a wonderful way to experience this vibrant island in the Galapagos. An adventure cruise Galapagos Islands style holds many wildlife encounters in store for you. Commonly seen animals include California Sea Lions, Fur Seals, Marine Iguanas, Whimbrels, Ruddy Turnstones, Semipalmated Plover, Mockingbirds, and Great Blue Herons. You could also catch a glimpse of a Galapagos Hawk or Flamingo on the unique volcanic landscape. Santiago has a major volcano on its western side but it’s not safe for the tourist trail. Small ship cruises allow travelers flexibility in their cruise itineraries so they can fit in a variety of adventure activities on Santiago Island, Galapagos.

Top things to do and see on Santiago Island

Popular activities on Santiago Island include a visit to James Bay, also known as Egas Port. After a wet landing at the Puerto Egas, there are plenty of opportunities for Santiago Island wildlife encounters with Galapagos hawks, iguana, and lava lizards. You’ll relate to Darwin’s experiences at Santiago Island and James Bay, which he wrote of in Voyage of the Beagle. A short hike down the trail exposes a stunning coastline view. Tide pools shimmer and grottos burst with local plant life. Photographers will certainly appreciate the view. Additionally, fur sea lions dot the landscape soaking up the sun. It’s a favorite spot for snorkeling while keeping a lookout for reef sharks, rays, and turtles. Santiago Island Cruises

Buccaneer Cove is another top thing to do in Santiago. It’s an easy wet landing and a trip back in history. The cove stands as a testament to the pirates of yore, who anchored in the bay to repair their ships and fish for tortoise after long days at sea. Hundreds of seabirds perch on the steep cliffs that overlook the stunning red sand beach. Snorkeling at Buccaneer Cove is highly recommended and a walk on this beach is like none other. It’s a perfect spot for an adventurous marriage proposal or romantic moment.

Sullivan Bay is the crown jewel of all of the volcanic sights in the archipelago. Approximately one hundred years ago, a magnificent field of lava rolled from the island: the pahoehoe or ‘rope-like’ in Hawaiian. As it hit the sea and cooled, it created impressive and intricate outcroppings of jet black stone, sometimes engulfing plants in its wake. They remain etched into the earth forever. It is a truly incredible view. In dramatic fashion, brightly colored lizards such as painted locusts and lava lizards sun themselves or dart across the dark earth and new plants have managed to gain a foothold. Pinnacle Rock is visible across the bay.

Top tips for Santiago Island

  • Activities on Santiago Island focus around sightseeing, short hikes, and snorkeling, so having the proper equipment for these adventure activities is necessary.
  • Be sure to bring sturdy walking shoes able to handle varied terrain, sunblock in the dry season, and plenty of water.
  • A camera is another great idea to capture the red beach at Buccaneer Cove and the volcanic rock at Sullivan Bay- not to mention any Santiago Island wildlife encounters.

Best time to cruise Santiago Island

If you want to plan ahead and choose the best time to visit Santiago Island to see wildlife, snorkel, or hike, there are some general rules and guidelines about the weather in Galapagos.

It’s a good idea to plan ahead to choose the best time to visit Santiago Island to see wildlife. If you know the seasonal weather conditions, you can be sure your favorite adventure activities will correspond with the climate, including snorkeling and hiking while on your small ship cruise. Visiting Santiago in December through May you'll see the warm season. The sun shines daily and the skies are a brilliant blue, so it’s perfect for hiking. May to December is the dry season. Both seasons are lovely, but savvy travelers take everything into account when planning their trip. Snorkeling is best in June through November.

Most of the wildlife that lives on Santiago is visible year-round. If you want to view the Waved Albatross, however, plan your visit for spring or summer.

Where do Santiago Island cruises depart from?

Guests will first fly into Ecuador and arrive either at the Andean capital city of Quito or Guayaquil on the coast. Quito is situated in the Andes Mountains and lies at 2,800 meters or 9,180 ft. above sea level. It’s known for its many markets and rustic feel. Guayaquil, on the other hand, is at sea level on the Ecuadorian coast. It’s a slightly larger and more modern city than Quito.

Once in Ecuador, fly domestically to either Baltra Island or San Cristobal Island, as determined by your Galapagos cruise itinerary or proximity to your hotel. At this time, most of our small ship cruises to the Galapagos Islands depart from Baltra.

Flights between Quito and Guayaquil last around 35 minutes and it is an additional 1 hour 45 minutes from Guayaquil to Baltra or San Cristobal is under two hours.

Our reservations team will help to make your next booking for an adventure cruise to the Galapagos Islands. Contact us today.

Santiago Island Reviews

  • 9.3 Superb
  • 24 Verified Reviews
  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Maureen B
  • United States United States

Great, beautiful lava formations, lots of aquatic life.

Diving Santiago Island in September on the Galapagos Legend

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Meng Y
  • United States United States

Had a great time snorkeling.

Diving Santiago Island in February on the Grand Majestic

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Hassan A
  • United States United States

It is a beautiful island with a long lava flow.

Diving Santiago Island in January on the Natural Paradise

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Julie L
  • United States United States

Could easily have skipped this island. Two hours of walking on lava rock with no flora or fauna.

Diving Santiago Island in February on the Infinity

  • 9.2 Superb
  • United States United States

This was our last dive, and one of the more interesting as far as topography goes. Very cool rock formations and good small life on the walls.

Diving Santiago Island in April on the Aqua

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • J. Miller T
  • United States United States

gorgeous island with fantastic red cliffs - birds nesting all around

Diving Santiago Island in June on the Galaxy

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Kara W
  • United States United States

More incredible interactions with wildlife.

Diving Santiago Island in July on the Treasure of Galapagos

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Tomas B
  • United States United States

Nice hike with beautiful views. Good snorkeling.

Diving Santiago Island in August on the EcoGalaxy

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Mark B
  • United States United States

The lava flow walk was very informative and enjoyable. Especially hilarious pictures produced when pretending to have fallen in a hole along the way. You left out Bartolomeo island, but the boardwalk to Pinnacle Peak was invigorating and the views from the top spectacular.

Diving Santiago Island in September on the Reina Silvia Voyager

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Dawn M
  • United States United States

Excellent. The hike offered a scenic view of the land and sea. Beautiful!

Diving Santiago Island in October on the EcoGalaxy

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Nora F
  • United States United States

James Bay hike was good with the variety of species we saw. I enjoyed the Galapagos hawk, the small yellow birds and the fur seals.

Diving Santiago Island in October on the Golondrina

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Rebecca B
  • United States United States

The history of buccaneer code was so interesting

Diving Santiago Island in October on the Endemic

  • 7.6 Good
  • Amy M
  • United States United States

Beautiful snorkeling and lots of animals.

Diving Santiago Island in December on the Golondrina

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Yilin Z
  • United States United States

Enjoyed waking on the lava field and on the beach.

Diving Santiago Island in January on the Grand Majestic

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Kurt D
  • Denmark Denmark

Three good excursions both diving andtrekking

Diving Santiago Island in April on the Xavier III

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Charles L
  • Canada Canada

A beautiful hike on black sand beach and white sand beach here where we watched Sea Wolves (type of sea lion) and found scorpions, while snorkeling we saw torpedo rays and sharks.

Diving Santiago Island in February on the Nemo II

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • charles P
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

1 dive off Roca Cousins, beautiful wall dive

Diving Santiago Island in March on the Aqua

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Nicolas M
  • France France

Great for rays, we saw schools of eagle and molbula rays, even a manta. We also played with sea lions. Not the warmest waters, but great diving nonetheless.

Diving Santiago Island in May on the Aqua

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Steven C
  • Canada Canada

Amazing! Encountered mantas and a large school of eagle rays. Fantastic for our last 2 dives of the trip.

Diving Santiago Island in May on the Aqua

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Kathy L
  • Canada Canada

Lava flows like we’ve never seen and penguins at the beach! Doesn’t get much better than that!

Diving Santiago Island in October on the Alya

Origin: US