Catalina Island is an occasional stop for cruise ships on a West Coast itinerary.
Most of the million tourists that visit each year arrive by ferry, small plane, or helicopter
from Long Beach or San Pedro.
Most of the island is controlled by the Catalina Island Conservancy, a private
nonprofit organization. Under an agreement with Los Angeles County, the Conservancy
has granted an easement to allow day hiking and mountain biking, but visitors
must first obtain a permit at the Conservancy's office (on which they declare
the parts of the island they intend to visit). Hiking permits are free,
however bicycle permits require a small fee.
The use of motor vehicles on the island is restricted; there is limit on the
number of registered cars, which translates into a 10-year-long wait list to
bring a car to the island. Most residents move around via golf cart. Tourists
can hire a taxi from Catalina Transportation Services. Bicycles are also a
popular mode of transportation. There are a number of bicycle and golf cart
rental agencies on the island. Only the city of Avalon is open to the public
Glass bottom boats tour the reefs and shipwrecks of the area, and scuba
diving and snorkeling are popular in the clear water. Lover's Cove, to the
east of town, and Descanso Beach, to the west of the Casino, are popular
places to dive. The area is famous for the schools of flyingfish and the
bright orange Garibaldi which teem in local waters. Bus tours are given of