The easternmost of the Galápagos Islands, San Cristóbal is comprised of 3-4 extinct volcanoes and is home to the oldest permanent settlement on the islands. It is also the island where Darwin first went ashore.
In the 1880s, a penal colony was built on the island for prisoners from mainland Ecuador. Convicts were often treated horribly and put to work on the sugar plantations that sprung up. Eventually those prisoners revolted, assassinated the brutal governor, and escaped.
Today, most residents make a living through tourism, government jobs, or fishing. With an airport that connects to the mainland, these locals have a big challenge in keeping out invasive species. Don’t be offended when they search your bag and ask questions at the airport. They’re just trying to keep their island healthy for the endemic species.
Overall, San Cristóbal is an enthralling island with colorful history, fascinating culture, and beautiful natural scenery.