Other than live-aboard cruises, tourist accommodation is limited to 4 of the inhabited islands:
Most lodgings are in the urban zones with just a few in the Agricultural or Reduced Impact zones. Prices vary from $20, for a small but still decent room, to over $1,000 a night in one of the few “luxury hotels” or “Eco-Resorts”.
The Ministry of Tourism categorizes establishments according to number of rooms and range of services offered. So even the finest guest house or bed and breakfast which offers more than 5 rooms but not full hotel services, such as 24 hour front desk and restaurant, is automatically classified as a “hostal” - Regardless of quality. This can be very misleading for travellers.
We are proud to operate an exceptional lodging of our own in San Cristóbal - The Galeodan Suites. And now, with the advent of easy online reservations, we no longer make reservations for travellers in other hotels - Unless as part of a touring or fishing package.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the principal port of San Cristóbal, is the provincial capital of Galápagos.
San Cristóbal, without argument, has the best fishing and surfing in all Galápagos, as well as Kicker Rock - The most spectacular dive site south of Darwin and Wolfe.
San Cristóbal is our favourite island and home base for our business and lodging: The Galeodan Suites (open in a new tab).
Puerto Ayora, in Santa Cruz, is the commercial and tourism centre of Galápagos, with more than double the population and tourists of San Cristóbal.
Santa Cruz’s central location in the Galápagos archipelago makes it an ideal staging point for cruises and day-trips to nearby islands.
Santa Cruz also had the first airport in Galápagos, courtesy of the United States military base established in Baltra during the second world war. In 2019, Baltra was receiving up to 9 flights a day compared to 2 or 3 in San Cristóbal.
Puerto Villamil in Isabela is a bit more isolated than San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz and can only be accessed by boat or island-hopper plane. The streets are mostly unpaved and there are limited services eg: a bank machine but no bank.
For those that appreciate the essence of Galápagos, what Isabela lacks in convenience is more than compensated by its gorgeous beach and relatively pristine condition, as well as some exceptional visit sites.
That said, visitors do not have to compromise on lodging as there are some excellent hotels and guesthouses.
Floreana, with a population of less than 200, is even further off the beaten path and can only be reached by speedboat from Santa Cruz or on a cruise.
You can take a day-trip from Santa Cruz, or take the regular speedboat if you want to stay overnight. The island is beautiful and unspoilt but lodging options are limited and the famous “Post Office” is only accessible from a cruise.