Santa Cruz is easily the most central island for Galapagos visitors. Welcoming overnight visitors (only four of the islands do so), it can serve as the perfect home base from which you can explore the islands. Though it is not the largest island, it is certainly the most popular urban center. In addition to being the most cosmopolitan, however, Santa Cruz also offers beautiful beaches and wildlife.
Test out the waters by snorkeling in Tortuga Bay, Punta Estrada, or Las Grietas, the three most popular beaches for interacting with the underwater world. If you’d like to try your hand at surfing, there are plenty of opportunities, most notably at Tortuga. When you’re ready to dry off, check out the incredible lava tunnels around the island, or visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, the unique conservation organization dedicated to preserving the incredible Galapagos tortoises, as well as sharing information about them with visitors.