People swimming in the turquoise waters of a pool between tall rock cliffs (Las Grietas), Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador

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Isla Santa Cruz (Indefatigable)

The island of Santa Cruz has the largest and most developed town in the Galápagos; almost every visitor to the islands spends at least some time here, even if it’s simply commuting from the airport on nearby Isla Baltra to a cruise ship in the harbor of Puerto Ayora. However, to anyone who stays for longer, the island of Santa Cruz is more than just a way station or place to feel connected to the modern, human-made world. It’s a destination in itself, full of visitor sites, easily accessible beaches and remote highlands in the interior, and a base for adventurous activities far from the tourism trail.

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