Baltra Island - Galapagos
For most visitors, Baltra is their entry point into the Galapagos. It was once a North American airbase and the airline TAME flies to and from here on a daily basis. The island has drier and more desolate vegetation than elsewhere so you should not let this affect your expectations of the Galapagos Islands.
From the airport you will be greeted by a guide and showed to buses that take you to where you meet your boat:
To Baltra Harbour: Just a 10 min bus ride to the docks and your boat.
To Puerto Ayora: First the bus takes you on a 30 min bus ride to the southern tip of Baltra Island. When the bus reaches the narrow Itabaca Channel, which separates the islands of Baltra and Santa Cruz, you cross via passenger ferry to Santa Cruz, where another bus awaits you and takes you in further 45 min to Puerto Ayora.
During W.W.II Baltra was established as a US Air Force Base. Crews stationed at Baltra patrolled the Pacific for enemy submarines, and protected the mouth of the Panama Canal. After the war the facilities were given to the government of Ecuador. Today the island continues as an official military base.
Until 1986, Baltra was the only airport serving the Galapagos. Now one of two airports, those passengers arriving on Tame will land here. Upon arrival Galapagos Park Fees (or the receipt of paid Park Fees) is collected at the Kiosk. Arriving visitors are the met by their naturalist-guide or other crewmember holding a sign with the name of the boat. A short bus ride from the airport is the harbor where the boats wait for passengers to begin their tours. Baltra does not have any visitor sites.
Land transfer services are available from Baltra to nearby Santa Cruz. Those visitors planning land based visit Staying on Santa Cruz board the bus departing the airport for the Itabaca Cannel (approximately a 10-minute ride). A ferry takes passengers and their belongings across the water to the CITTEG bus waiting at the other side. Then an hour-long bus ride crosses Santa Cruz, cutting through the highlands and passing many farms before finally reaching Puerto Ayora.
Baltra Land Iguana
In 1932-1933 scientists decided to move 70 of Baltra's Land Iguanas from Baltra to North Seymour as part of an experiment. This move would prove lucky for scientists. As shortly thereafter the military base was established, the Baltra Land Iguanas became extinct on their native island. In 1980 a couple of Iguanas from North Seymour were brought to the breeding center on Santa Cruz. Where the Iguanas bred, and in 1991 Iguanas were once again reintroduced to Baltra. As of 1997 scientists counted 97 iguanas living on Baltra, 13 of which were born on the island.