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Santa Cruz VS Isabela-6 nights total

Clarkston, Michigan
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3 posts
13 reviews
9 helpful votes
Santa Cruz VS Isabela-6 nights total
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Hi, I just read a thread from 3 years ago but felt like asking again. We arrive in Balta on Sat. 7-3-21. I was thinking we'd right away take the ferry to Isabela and stay 3 nights, but my son is debating out us staying 4 nights there and then the last two nights on SC.

My husband and daughter fly out on 7-9 and my son and I stay two nights longer. My husband wanted to end the trip on SC to simplify catching the flight back to Guayaquil-makes sense. Anyway, should we just do 3 and 3 or 4 on Isabela and 2 on SC, keep in mind my son and I will end up with two extra nights on SC regardless.

Thanks for any tips!!

2 replies to this topic
Flushing, New York
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39 posts
18 reviews
34 helpful votes
1. Re: Santa Cruz VS Isabela-6 nights total
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It really depends which day tours you're interested in doing.

I spent 5 nights on Isabela with day 1 being travel/arrival day. I walked to the Wall of Tears by myself then did day trips to Tintoreras, Los Tuneles & Sierra Negra. The heat got to me so I really didn't go out in the afternoon but there's also the breeding center, flamingos, a sulfur mine tour and probably some diving tours. I really recommend Pahoehoe for Los Tuneles. Technically, I think you could do the tours and still get the evening ferry to Santa Cruz, I think we usually came back by 1p. Might be too stressful though. I liked that since I booked directly with the company and I think the guides worked for the company, everyone met or were picked up pretty quickly and started the tours quickly. The guides for Pahoehoe also took pictures and videos with their GoPro which they transferred to our phones.

I spent 3 days in Santa Cruz with the arrival day walking around & then in Las Grietas with friends I met on one of the Isabela tours. They also went to Tortuga Bay after. My day tours were to Pinzon and Floreana. What we disliked was that we were told to be ready around 8am and we were walked to the meeting area. But then we sat around for over an hour waiting for other people to show up, with the tours starting after 9;30am. We figured out that someone was trying to find out if other people would go on the tours - the Pinzon tour ended up with 11 people and the Floreana tour only had 2. You don't know which boat or which naturalist you'll get. And, honestly, I liked my Isabela guides much more. They interacted more with the groups and in giving information. The SC guides gave some info and helped when snorkeling but seemed to just sit and be in their own world when in the boat.

There are other tours in Santa Cruz but I did those islands on my 4-day cruise. You should also consider what kind of environment you want. Isabela is definitely quieter and can be boring when you're not out on a day tour. Food options are pretty much the same. My hotel wifi was decent but I had no data signal otherwise. Santa Cruz has more you can do on your own, has more food and shopping options, has multiple ATMs. It was easier to find cheaper food on Santa Cruz. Data signal was a little better.

I did feel that after my Isabela portion, I experienced a little of everything and would've been happy to go home then. But I'm glad I got to experience all the other islands and see all the animals. Wow this was long. Hope it helps.

Clarkston, Michigan
Level Contributor
3 posts
13 reviews
9 helpful votes
2. Re: Santa Cruz VS Isabela-6 nights total
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yes, thank you for the helpful information!

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