San Cristobal Highlands, Galapagos: El Junco Lake

When visiting San Cristobal in the Galapagos, the Highlands are a very different environment than the main town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. You may experience cold and mist at this elevation of up to 2,400’, so bringing a rain jacket or extra layer. There are three typical destinations on a tour of San Cristobal’s highlands: El Junco Lake, Galapaguera Tortoise Breeding Center, and Puerto Chino Beach. You can go on a tour group or rent a private driver for the day – the latter of which is approximately $60.

We left Puerto Baquerizo Moreno at 9AM, which turned out to be the golden time because at each destination we were beating the crowds. We were the first people up El Junco Lake, via an earthen staircase which takes about ten minutes for a physically fit person.

Once you gain some elevation, the flora is astoundingly beautiful.

The area was a bit overgrown this past winter, but find the little path down to take a closer look at the water.

Fresh rain water filled a collapsed caldera of an extinct volcano, forming the lake – which is one of the few of its size in the Galapagos. Watch frigate birds skim the surface and clean the salt from their wings.

Head back up and find the faintly worn path which circles around the lake.

The morning was foggy, but even over our short time spent in this location it began to clear up.

At the highest point along the hike there was a vantage point which almost captured the entirety of the lake, perfectly oblong.

All in all we did not spend more than an hour here, but it was a lovely morning walk and interesting surroundings to explore.

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