Turtle Bay / Bahia de la Tortuga

–Stunning beach, good snorkeling, kayaking, iguanas and small reef sharks and other fish

– FREE.

Iguanas on Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Los Galápagos
Iguanas on Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Los Galápagos

Tortuga Bay is definitely not to be missed. It’s a bit of a walk from the centre, especially in the heat, but it’s oh so worth it. You walk for about 25minutes along a path through dry stark landscape surrounded by cacti and lizards. Then the beach appears: a huge stretch of gorgeous white sand dotted with striking black iguanas. The water is clear and sparkling, just like a postcard. You are not allowed to swim on the first beach because of the strong currents. However, make sure you walk along the waters’ edge to see the small white-tipped reef sharks swimming in the shallow water. Keep walking and you will come to a small rock pool where the water is super clear and safe to paddle or snorkel. There are lots of little colourful fish and reef sharks here. The next bay is more enclosed and therefore safe for swimming. The water is very still, but was very murky when we were there. The further out you go, the clearer the water and the more fish you will see.  Along the mangroves, you can come across rays and more reef sharks.

The sun is very strong and can get extremely hot. There is some shade under the trees on the swimming beach. There are no services or shops at Tortuga Bay so make sure you take all you need with you, including plenty of water and sun protection.

For snorkelling, make sure you hire your kit at any of the tour operators in the town before you set off. A snorkel and mask will cost you $5 for the day.

Kayaks are available to hire on the swimming beach, but the price I’m not sure of.

Heron at Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Heron at Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos

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