Baltra faces south with Santa Cruz
With a separation of only about 150 meters through the Itabaca Channel
Personnel from the Ecuadorian Navy and the Ecuadorian Air Force
21 km2 or 8 mi2
100 m or 328 ft
Baltra, also called South Seymour, is a small, flat island close to the center of the archipelago. It was created by several uplifts of submerged lava that left flat plateaus.
Before Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s visit on the USS Houston in the 1930s, when the US government attempted to set up an aviation base in the Pacific to safeguard the western approach to the Panama Canal, the island had little human interest. Baltra was chosen over San Cristóbal because of its flat topography and a central location within the archipelago, despite San Cristóbal’s water supply and people population also being considered.
The construction of the airbase started in February 1942, and a mile-long airstrip was finished in about two months.
A bowling alley was built when Eleanor Roosevelt visited the island and criticized the living conditions for the soldiers as “deplorable,” along with hangars, office buildings, an outdoor beer garden, a movie theater, and barracks for 1,000 soldiers. Many of these buildings’ foundation lines may still be seen from the air. Baltra was known among the hardest troops of the US Sixth Air Force by soldiers stationed on Galapagos as “The Rock.”
The majority of visitors to the Galapagos arrive on Baltra Island, which has one of the 2 airports that connect the archipelago with Ecuador’s main island. Buses take travelers from the airport’s immigration area to the cruise ships docked at Aeolian Bay or the dock at the Itabaca Canal, where ferries run between Baltra and the island of Santa Cruz.
The Baltra Airport started remodeling in 2007 to offer more eateries, stores, and a better visitor area. By the end of 2008, the refurbishment was anticipated to be complete. Due to its dry climate, Palo Santo trees, prickly pear cactus, and saltbush make up the majority of Baltra’s vegetation. Numerous birds, including boobies and frigatebirds, can be seen here.
On Baltra, there are no tourist attractions. However, surrounding islands including North Seymour, Mosquera, and Daphne Major have tourist attractions.