About Baltra Island in the Galapagos
Official Name: Baltra Island
English Name: Baltra Island
Visitor Sites: None
Area: 10.4 sq. miles (27 sq km)
Max altitude: 62 feet (18.9 meters)
Approximate Age: 2 million years old
Outstanding characteristics: The first of Galapagos' two airports is found here.
Vegetation: The majority are pioneer plants.
Geology: Different parts of the island have varied origins, some with fresh lavas and spatter cones and others consisting of eroded tuff formations. Baltra Island used to be a US Air Force Base during World War II.
American soldiers in Baltra Island patrolled the nearby waters of the Pacific Ocean, including the entrance to the Panama Canal, for enemy aircraft carriers, war ships and submarines. When the war ended, the facilities in Baltra Island were handed over to the Ecuadorian Government.
Up until 1986, Baltra Island was home to the only airport in the Galapagos Islands. The airport now shares flights to the Galapagos with the San Cristobal Island airport, but it still receives the majority of flights from the mainland. Most cruise operators also start their cruise operations from Baltra Island. Also, because of its proximity to the largest port town in the Galapagos Islands (Puerto Ayora) most tourists who do island-based tours choose to arrive to the airport on Baltra Island.
Transferring from Baltra Island to Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island
If your yacht departs from Baltra Island, there is a free bus service that you must take for 5 minutes to the Baltra harbor where all yachts are anchored.
There are a few land services that offer transfers from Baltra Island to Puerto Ayora, on nearby Santa Cruz Island. For visitors who are heading to Puerto Ayora to join their Galapagos cruise there, or for those who will be doing island-based tours and are staying at a hotel in Puerto Ayora, the transfer process is very simple. All visitors must board the bus that departs for the airport and is headed for the Itabaca Canal. This is approximately a 10-minute bus ride. At the Itabaca Channel, a ferry takes visitors and their luggage across the water to the other side. Once there you have 2 options: The first is to take a taxi to Puerto Ayora, which costs about $25 - $35 (40min) and the second is to take an hour-long bus ride across Santa Cruz Island highlands before finally reaching Puerto Ayora. The cost of the bus ride is around $5.