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El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve, Puerto Ayora

4.6
#1 of 260 in Wildlife in Ecuador
Nature / Park · Wildlife Area
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Get up close to the Galapagos wildlife as you hike through El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve. For bio-protection and your own comfort, the reserve will issue you boots before you head out onto the trails, so you don't track in foreign substances. The reserve has two areas, Caseta and Chato; while trail difficulty ranges from easy to medium, expect a more challenging route through Caseta. During dry season, you can see the fascinating Galapagos turtles in the wild. Other animals such as the short-eared owl, Darwin's finches, and yellow warblers also reside here. Don't miss the opportunity to walk through the island's lava tube. If not up to hiking the whole island, you can arrange to ride horses on the reserve as well. To find out how to plan a trip to Puerto Ayora, use our trip itinerary maker.
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El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
1,969 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Interesting place to have watch free Santa Cruz tortoises with a guide who friendly shares up-to-date knowledge about Galapagos and its inland fauna. 
    Interesting place to have watch free Santa Cruz tortoises with a guide who friendly shares up-to-date knowledge about Galapagos and its inland fauna.  more »
  • We took a taxi from Puerto Ayora for 40 USD round trip. This also included waiting time at the ranch. The entrance fee was 10USD per person. A guide will take you around to see the lava tunnels and.....  more
    We took a taxi from Puerto Ayora for 40 USD round trip. This also included waiting time at the ranch. The entrance fee was 10USD per person. A guide will take you around to see the lava tunnels and.....  more »
  • Great close up viewing of tortoises in a natural setting. Even an empty shell to crawl under for a photo opportunity. Good cafe on site also. 
    Great close up viewing of tortoises in a natural setting. Even an empty shell to crawl under for a photo opportunity. Good cafe on site also.  more »
Google
  • Great place to see giant tortoises in Santa Cruz. We visited the place as a group and had our own guide. Rubber boots were provided. Short walk 30-40 minutes to see the huge turtles and the lava tunnel. Decent lunch was included. Impressive giant tortoises.
  • It was cool to see these giant tortoises, and the setting is different than the rest of the islands we saw. The bathrooms were clean, and they had refreshments and food for purchase. I like that they provided boots for us to wear because it can get so wet and muddy. There was a lava cave which was cool to see. It was probably our least favorite excursion though.
  • The entry cost $5 with an additional tip you have to pay to your guide (we left $15 for a group of 3 people). You can eat here (we recommend the muchines) and drink tea or coffee for free. Very nice staff. We loved meeting the Gal├ípagos turtles.
  • The El Chato Ranch is a beautiful place to walk around and see the famous giant tortoises of the Galapagos. We met several of the tortoises and we were able to get within about 6 meters of them per the rules of El Chato (no closer, don't disturb the wildlife). We took a bus in and we had a nice time walking around the ranch and then walking through the Lava Tunnels
  • Great tour. Guides are knowledgeable and friendly. Lava tunnel is long and has 1 tight spot. Empanadas and beers at the end was a great way to end the adventure.

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