For a do it yourself adventure on San Cristobal Island, hikers will enjoy making a day delving into the area surrounding Frigate Bird Hill, also known as Cerro Tijeretas.
History lovers will enjoy starting at the interpretation center, the most informative spot I found on the archipelago especially in regards to human exploration and abuse. So much to read and learn on the environment and daily life of the people who live on the island today, I would recommend spending some time here. The trail starts right out of the back door, there is so much to see along the paved and perfectly maintained path.
Gaining a bit of elevation you can catch some of the best views on the island here.
Really the vistas of the turquoise water are top notch.
Punta Carola is a good place to take a break along on the path, an idyllic beach with a little lighthouse.
On my visit I walked over to it, intending to go to the top. At the base was a sleeping sea lion and it smelled really bad (all sea lions are stinky, but this was intense). I slipped past the snoring beast, held my breath, and made my way to the top hoping for a good view. Just as I peaked, excited to peer out – a huffing sea lion seemed to be disturbed by my presence and completely blocked my way.
You win buddy. I wish I could have seen it climb all the way to the top, but the idea of this guy climbing all the way up there was even better than a view. This beach is filled with sea lions, it would make a fun place to snorkel or swim. Heading back up the hill there is a viewpoint with a massive Charles Darwin and associates.
Yet another highlight is the 3 inch 50 caliber left over from WWII (bringing me right back to my favorite ship the USS SLATER – where I spent nearly a decade of my life).
See Shipwreck Cove from above, a favorite spot for snorkelers and hardy swimmers.
Head down with gear and stop to ‘make a snorkel’ – I had an amazing experience swimming with sea turtles here.
The flora is incredible, even in the dry season.
Keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of wildflowers.
The namesake vista of the trail is of course, Frigate Bird Hill, a magnificent view.
You will likely see magnificent and great frigate birds as well.
At this point the hike has been two miles, if you choose to continue the trail disintegrates as it descends into a craggy lava rock surface.
Sometimes speckled and sandy with marine iguanas.
One point even had surprisingly rosy coral.
Finally at the end of the road is a desolate bay. We shared the area with a whimbrel.
More marine iguanas and sea lions.
One pup particularly stole my heart, all sandy after playing in the waves along the shore sat for a moment to sun.
It is nice to pack a picnic, a beach towel, and some snorkel gear to spend time out in this beautiful place – plus relax from the long hike. You cannot do too many hikes on your own in the Galapagos, so when it comes to exploring San Cristobal solo – you can’t beat this diverse and wonderful experience.