Tortuga Bay

Tortuga bay is one of the most popular destinations in Santa Cruz – due to its very fine beach, which is located in a sheltered bay and so is spared from the wind and waves that make a lot of the Galapagos beaches a bit rough for snorkelling and swimming.

It can be accessed without a guide, and is around a 45 minute walk from the edge of town where the trail starts. The walk is really nice with lava and cactuses all around – it’s also paved so it’s a very easy trail. If you want to be lazy and just get straight to the beach, you can also take a water-taxi from the centre of town – yes of course we didn’t do that! 🙂

The trail to Tortuga Bay.
Giant cactuses line the trail.
PB next to a cactus.
On the way we saw a Galapagos flycatcher.
CC has made it to the beach!

The first beach that you arrive at is a huge white sand beach. This beach is not the sheltered one, and is quite wild and windy. Swimming and snorkelling are not allowed here – partly so as not to disturb the wildlife, and partly to stop people from drowning in the rough conditions.

This beach is really scenic – there are hardly any people on it, and lots of marine iguanas :-). You have to walk the length of this beach and go around the corner in order to get to the sheltered swimming and snorkelling beach.

The view inland from the beach, with the highlands visible in the distance.
View out to sea over lava rocks.
The beach is lovely and deserted – just how we like it! 🙂
We met a marine iguana couple on the beach.
There are marine iguanas everywhere you go…
Iguanas crossing the beach.
Iguanas hanging out by the sign that tells tourists not to touch the iguanas.

The second beach is very nice as well – it’s not as big – but it has beautiful, clear, perfectly still water. Of course, this also means that it has tons of tourists sitting by it.

The tranquil waters at the back of Tortuga Bay. A peninsula protects this beach from the ravages of the ocean.

We had a quick walk along the beach – which was a bit too crowded for our liking – and then headed to a small trail that makes a loop around the peninsula between the two beaches. This trail was AWESOME! Lots of cactuses, good views all around, and green turtles visible in the water! 🙂

View of the highlands from the peninsula.
Cactuses on the trail.
Looking back on the beach. Yes – it probably doesn’t look that crowded to you! 🙂 But in the Galapagos at this time of year, we are used to having things to ourselves! 🙂
Our turtle viewing area.
Two green turtles swimming past! 🙂
The end of the trail. Blocked by a STOP sign and a beautifully coloured marine iguana.
To me, this marine iguana looks pleased with himself.

After a very enjoyable morning, it was time to head back down the trail to town. On the trail on the way, we had spotted a tortoise hiding in the bush. The tortoises usually live in the highlands, but apparently when the wet season starts they make their way to lower ground. We were at the very end of the dry season, so this tortoise had obviously gotten an early start…we were really pleased to spot it again on the way back! 🙂

Galapagos tortoise in the bushes.
The tortoise was having a snack.
Back on the trail to town.

We arrived back to town after a really nice morning, and definitely ready for a big lunch…

View of the outskirts of Puerto Ayora – the main town of Santa Cruz.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *