In Galapagos: Discovering Santa Cruz Lava Tunnels

Explore the volcanic Isla Santa Cruz under the ground and climb down to the old lava tunnels. A cycling trip to the highlands featuring giant turtles.

Santa Cruz is one of the islands where you can do a little exploring by yourself. We rented bikes for the day and decided to tackle the road to the highlands to see some turtles and discover the old lava tunnels. There are several shops around Puerto Ayora for renting bikes and it’s definitely a good budget option, which gives you flexibility on moving around and planning your own schedules.

Cycling is a great way to enjoy outdoors, and explore on your own paste.

Cycling in Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Exercise and fresh air

I’m not going to lie, cycling up was a little sweaty. The uphill is not huge, but the road steadily climbs up to the higher land. I knew my muscles would be aching on the next day and by the time we arrived in Santa Rosa I was craving for a sugary, cold soda. But remember to enjoy the views as well, we spotted a few giant tortoises along the road.

Cycling is made safe and pleasant with a separate cycling lane by the main road.

How to get there

1. Follow the main road out of Puerto Ayora towards the airport.

2. Santa Rosa will be on your right-hand side by the main road.
(Have lunch in Santa Rosa!)

3. Follow the smaller road through the town.

4. A little after the village, signs will point you to turn left, follow them to tunnels.

These tips are for the tunnels near Santa Rosa. There’s another place near Bellavista.

From the tunnel entrance, you take steep steps down. The cool air felt refreshing after cycling under the hot sun. With no other people on sight, we had an awesome time exploring the place on our own paste. There is a point where you actually had to crawl on the floor to keep going, but there is a rubber carpet to make it more comfortable (you can’t avoid of getting your clothes a little dirty though).

My inner Indiana Jones woke up inside me exploring these old and dark tunnels. Who knows what secrets this place might hold!

See giant turtles in Galapagos
You can see giant turtles around Santa Cruz

If you missed the turtles along the road or if you are just craving to see more, stop by at El Chato or Rancho Primicias tortoise reserve centres, they are close by.

• Santa Cruz, Ecuador

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