Guide to Puerto Ayora | Things to Eat, See, and Do

Guide to Puerto Ayora | Things to Eat, See, and Do

Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz is generally the jumping off point for most people visiting the Galapagos. It is the largest city among the others. I decided to backtrack a bit, and do a guide to the town where I included things to eat, see, and do walking distance.

1. lodging

Because we booked everything through a tour group, we were anxious to see our living accommodations since we didn’t quite know what to expect. We chose the mid level price range, and ended up at Hotel Mainao. It was clean, had friendly staff, and was close to the main street where all the shops and restaurants were. The architecture was unique, and they had great areas to hangout outside. They also had free wifi which is a huge plus on overseas trips. I know that the idea is to disconnect, but the instagrams aren’t going to post themselves! :P
Hotel Mainao Galapagos | Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz Island.
Hotel Mainao Galapagos | Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz Island.
Hotel Mainao | Where to Stay in Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.
Hotel Mainao | Where to Stay in Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.
Hotel Mainao Galapagos | Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz Island.
Hotel Mainao | Where to Stay in Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.

2. food and dining // puerto ayora restaurants

When looking around at different restaurants in Puerto Ayora, a lot of the menus were similar and didn’t interest us. We wanted to get a more local experience instead of eating at overpriced touristy spots. Also, there were oddly a lot of italian restaurants in the Galapagos – none of which seemed very good. All in all, we didn’t come to the Galapagos for the amazing food, so as long as you manage your expectations, “every little thing gonna be alright”!

Isla Grill – recommended by pretty much everyone we talked to. It was the touristy spot, but also our safest choice. The food was good. The juices were especially good.

Isla Grill | Food Guide to Puerto Ayora | Things to Do in Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.

The Fish Market – where they cook up their catches at night. This was a good local experience.

Puerto Ayora Fish Market | Food Guide to Puerto Ayora | Things to Do in Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.

Don’t know the name, but don’t eat here. It was a mistake. I always feel so disappointed when we make the wrong choice when you have limited days to see things or try different foods.. but lesson learned. The food was very underwhelming and quite pricey. Really, we shouldn’t have been lazy about walking around an extra few blocks to see what else was around.
Puerto Ayora Restaurants | Food Guide to Puerto Ayora | Things to Do in Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.
to ayora restaurants | what to eat in santa cruz galapagos islands.

3. Walk around the town of Puerto Ayora & Shopping

Check out the Fish Market, the Pier, the shops. Everything is within close walking distance. Don’t forget to do your shopping here! Puerto Ayora is the biggest city in all of Galapagos, which means all the other ones are super tiny! They probably had the most variety, and I’m not even sure if I saw many shops in Isabela. I picked up some postcards here, and I’m so glad I did.
Guide to Puerto Ayora | Things to Do in Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.
Guide to Puerto Ayora | Things to Do in Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.
Guide to Puerto Ayora | Things to Do in Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.
Guide to Puerto Ayora | Things to Do in Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.
Puerto Ayora Pier | Things to Do in Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.

4. See the wildlife

Near the rocky lava coasts, you can always find colonies of Sally Lightfoot crabs.
Sally Lightfoot Crab by the Puerto Ayora Pier | Santa Cruz Galapagos Islands.
Marine iguanas were everywhere. Find them on the sidewalks throughout the city as well as their habitat on the lava rocks.
Marine Iguanas in Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.
Marine Iguanas in Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.
Brown Pelicans, Frigate Birds, and many other shore birds hang out at the fish market.
Puerto Ayora Fish Market | Things to do in santa cruz galapagos island.
Galapagos Sea Lions hang out near the pier and sometimes venture over to the fish market as well.
Galapagos Sea Lions near the Puerto Ayora Pier | Guide to Puerto Ayora | Things to Do in Santa Cruz Island Galapagos.
All photos were taken with a Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm/1.2L, and 70-200/2.8L lens.

Overall the town was fun to explore. Small towns can be hit or miss. Sometimes they are great to explore, and other times, they can be quite boring. Two days was PLENTY of time to explore Puerto Ayora and kept it enjoyable.

What’s your favorite town that you’ve visited?

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This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Your living quarter looks so cute and quaint although the beds look kinda small … good thing you and jacob are tiny! The fish market reminds me of this place we went in Bali where they have tables right on the beach and the seafood was so fresh and good! Very romantic.

    1. haha it wasn’t too bad.. they ended up pushing together the bed, which made it into a queen size! :) that sounds really nice! i need to check out that place in bali.. not to eat fish.. but to take photos of them at least :P

  2. Those pelicans at the fish market look so cheeky! You can tell that any moment now they’re going to reach out, grab something and fly off in to the distance.

    Great pictures guys – as always!

    1. Thank you so much! :) Yes, they were eyeing the fish the entire time. Lucky for them the fishermen threw scraps at them every time they cut up their fish when they sold them. :)

      1. No! That’s only going to make it worse! Now they know that they can get something to eat they’ll just keep coming back :P

        1. haha yeah. I think they are just part of the fish market experience for tourists now. :)

  3. The photos are so beautiful, makes me want to visit here! I looove the look of the hotel you stayed in, looks cozy and super cool! Love your travel tips! :D xo

    1. Thanks Jess! I recommend you put this on your travel bucket list! :) I’m happy I went now, but I can see the appeal and why a lot of people go during their retirement or when they are much older.

  4. The hotel you stayed at looks very cool! I participated in a travel Tuesday link up today and someone put the Galapagos as their most wanted to visit place…I’ll have to go back and see if I can find her blog and share your post! As always awesome pictures! I hate when we make a bad choice food-wise especially if it is because we get impatient or in my case hungry and didn’t plan ahead of time :)

    1. I thought I already replied to this, but I must have typed it out and never clicked post. boo hoo.

      Thank you! & thanks for thinking of our blog while on the link up. I HATE making bad food choices when traveling. It makes me so sad and almost ruins my day.. I try my best to not let it ruin my trip.. but man I take my food kinda seriously now that I think about it.

      1. No worries!! Besides you are sick…you have a good excuse :) I take food very seriously!!

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