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Set at the center of the Galápagos archipelago, Santa Cruz Island serves as a central base for exploration. And skirting Santa Cruz's southern shoreline along Academy Bay is Puerto Ayora. The island's primary town provides a nice spot for visitors to unwind at the end of the day thanks to its lively restaurants, shops and low-key nightclubs.
According to recent visitors, Puerto Ayora is your best bet for accommodations near sights like Tortuga Bay and El Chato Tortoise Reserve. Travelers also recommend checking out the Santa Cruz Fish Market and the Charles Darwin Research Station, which both sit in the town's limits. And if you're looking for a great place to swim or snorkel, consider going to Las Grietas, a geological formation with several natural pools.
Everything in Puerto Ayora can be accessed easily on your own two feet. That said, if you're looking to tour sites outside of Puerto Ayora, you will need to hail a taxi on the street or a water taxi from the main pier. Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle from one of the bike shops located on Charles Darwin Avenue, the town's main road. Puerto Ayora itself is free to visit 24 hours a day, but you should bring cash to pay for tours, food, lodging, souvenirs and transportation.
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