Most first-time visitors to the wildlife wonder that is the Galapagos are surprised that it's got a bona fide town, with shops and restaurants and schools. Read on to find out more about Puerto Ayora's main attractions.
Catch a pelican in the act at the fish market
There's a real buzz at the market when the fishing boats come in at the end of the day. Watch as the fishermen unload their catch, the locals pick out their dinner, and the sea lions and pelicans try to steal scraps. After hours the market transforms itself into an open air plate. For a modest fee you can enjoy a seafood feast at a shared table with local patrons.
Hobnob with the iguanas at Tortuga Bay
This vast, white sandy beach is reached via a 20 minute walk from Puerto Ayora. It's open from 6am to 6pm Access is controlled by the Galapagos Park Service. The bay actually incorporates several distinct beaches. There's a surfing beach (beware the currents), a swimming beach (watch out for the harmless white tip reef sharks) and the main beach which is where the iguanas hang out.
See baby tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research station
This non-profit near Puerto Ayora allows you to see Galapagos giant tortoises at all stages of growth from unhatched eggs to full-grown adults. It is quite incredible to see the young hatchlings which weigh as little as 1.8 ounces and measure only 2.4 inches. In addition to the tortoises there is also a captive breeding program for land programs. Click on this link to read our full blog on the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Do some normal, towny stuff
If you've been bobbing around the ocean on a luxury Galapagos cruise for a few days you will probably appreciate the fact that Puerto Ayora has a decidedly pleasant main street with loads of restaurants and shopping opportunities. Ask your guide for recommendations.
Have we convinced you yet? Speak to a Destination Expert about curating a tailor made Galapagos itinerary just for you, or check out our most popular Galapagos tours here.
Credit to Allan Grey for the cover image of this post.