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Cerro Dragon/Dragon Hill Visitor Site - Hiking - Ecuador

The aptly named Cerro Dragón (“Dragon Hill”) is a memorable visitor site and one of the best places in the islands to see the land iguana. The site is on the other side of the island from Puerto Ayora and consists of a trail in a sort of lasso shape: a trail leads inland to the hill, up and around the hill, and then back out the same trail to the beach.

Along the trail, it is possible to see land iguanas and several species of birds. It's lucky that there are land iguanas on Santa Cruz at all. As the most inhabited island, it is also the one most plagued by introduced species such as goats, cats and dogs, all of which wreak havoc on land iguana populations. Goats eat up all the available vegetation, cats eat baby iguanas and eggs, and a pack of dogs can gobble a fully grown iguana.

These introduced pests were devastating the Santa Cruz iguana population, to the point that researchers and park service officials relocated some of the iguanas to a nearby islet (with no dogs, cats or goats) so that if the Santa Cruz population were wiped out, they would be able to repopulate it.

Fortunately, intensive efforts to remove the offending introduced species have been successful, and the resident “dragons” are no longer seriously threatened. Efforts to control introduced plants and animals on this part of Santa Cruz are ongoing, and Cerro Dragon is one of few places on the islands where tourists and scientists may cross paths.

The path is one of the longer ones in Galapagos. From the top of the small hill is a nice view, and the trail itself goes through Palo Santo trees and cacti forests. There is a saltwater lagoon where lucky visitors may see Pintail Ducks or Flamingos.

Hike Difficulty: 4/5 A relatively long hike that includes some rocky scrambles. Infirm hikers may want to check with the guides before attempting it. It can get a little muddy during the rainy season.

Highly Probable to see:

  1. Land Iguanas
  2. Marine Iguanas
  3. Flamingos
  4. Sally Lightfoot Crabs

Probable to see:

  • Galapagos Pintail Duck
  • Galapagos Mockingbirds
  • Darwin Finches
  • Galapagos flycatcher

Possible to see:

  • Lava Herons
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • Grey Plover
  • Least Sandpiper
  • Wandering tattler
  • Whimbrel
  • Franklin Gull
  • Laughing Gull


Here are other activities in and around Galápagos Island Visitor Sites that may be of interest: Santiago Island Visitor Site: Sullivan Bay, More Isabela Visitor Sites, Lava Tunnels, Sierra Negra Volcano, La Playa de los Alemanes, Las Grietas, Nearby Beaches, Los Gemelos, Punta Moreno, Cerro Crocker and El Chato Reserve.

View Galápagos Island Visitor Sites Map

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