Diving, surfing, biking: take your pick.
For nice swimming and snorkeling, head to Las Grietas, a water-filled crevice in the rocks. Talented and fearless locals climb the nearly vertical walls to plunge gracefully (and sometimes clumsily) into the water below. Take a water taxi (per person $0.80 from 6am to 7pm) to the dock for the Angermeyer Point restaurant, then walk past the Finch Bay Hotel, then past an interesting salt mine, and finally up and around a lava-rock-strewn path to the water. Good shoes are recommended for the 700m walk from the dock. Keep an eye on any valuables that you leave on the rocks.
Because live-aboards are costly and space is limited, most divers experience the underwater wonders of the Galápagos on day trips booked from Puerto Ayora. These are suitable for intermediate to advanced divers – currents can be strong and most are drift dives.
Gordon Rocks, Caamaño Islet, La Lobería, Punta Estrada and Punta Carrión are popular dives sites, as is North Seymour Island, a short boat trip from Isla Baltra. Devil’s Crown, Enderby or Champion off the northern tip of Isla Santa María are good for barracudas, rays and sharks. One of the recommended sites for those with a few dives under their belt is Academy Bay off the Puerto Ayora harbor.
The standard rate for two boat dives is $210 to $250 (about $20 less if booked ‘last minute’); all offer PADI certification courses to newcomers and have English-speaking divemasters.
There are several good surf breaks near Puerto Ayora itself, including La Ratonera and Bazán near the Charles Darwin Research Station beach. If hauling your board a few kilometers is no problem, Tortuga Bay has several good breaks.
An hour or so by boat takes you to Punta Blanca and further north to Cerro Gallina, Las Palmas Chica and Las Palmas Grande, considered to be three of the best breaks in the Galápagos. There are also several breaks off the west side of Isla Baltra.
A ciclovia (bicycle path) runs from Puerto Ayora up to Bellavista and Santa Rosa, but it's a long, tough climb to the highlands. A good DIY adventure is to hire a bike and take a taxi up to either Los Gemelos or El Camote, then bike back. Returning from Los Gemelos, you can stop in El Chato and the lava tunnels. Another option is to taxi instead to El Camote, from which you can continue by bike down to El Garrapatero Beach for a full day's outing. Many shops in town offer rentals by the hour, half-day or full day.