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Do Not Miss These Three Santa Cruz Must-Visit Beaches

13 Apr 2017, Posted by Nathalie Moeller in Galapagos Islands Blog
Tortuga Playa Brava at Tortuga Bay

Three Santa Cruz Must-Visit Beaches

Santa Cruz is home to some beautiful spots you certainly have to visit during your stay at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. Even though you will be staying at the only beach-front hotel of the island, these three other locations should be on your Santa Cruz must-visit beaches.

Garrapatero Beach

Garrapatero beach is but a 20 minute bus-ride from town. Going through the highlands of Santa Cruz, you will pass the town of Bellavista. Enjoy a different view made up of above-the-shoreline flora that will grab your attention, like the beautiful scalesia tree –a giant member of the daisy family!

Once you’re at the entrance of the beach, get prepared for a pretty easy 15 minute walk to the sandy shore. Local fauna and flora will be waiting to surprise you along the way. Finches, lava lizards, mangroves and the very common Poison Apple tree make up most of the landscape. Right before reaching the beach you will see a small pond where many species stop to find food. Almost any time of the year, you will be able to see pink flamingos, herons, oyster catchers and ducks.

Garrapatero Beach

Garrapatero Beach. Photo by: Sally Taylor

You will get a glimpse of the beach right away. So make sure to apply sunscreen, take off your shoes or sandals to feel the sand between your toes, find a nice place to place your towel, and go for a relaxing swim amidst the waves.

Las Grietas

This really is a magical location! Picture yourself swimming amongst lava crevasses – where its Spanish name comes from – in crystal clear water. Sound like an image right out of paradise? Lucky for us, this place actually exists and it is just a 20- minute walk away from Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel!

A trail that could perfectly belong on Mars leads the way to this site, but not without first going through a forest of beautiful Opuntia cacti that have grown as tall as trees. When you reach the spot you won’t immediately see the three, rectangular-shaped pools right away. You will have to go down a set of artificial stairs, from which you will get a nice view of what awaits you. Just be careful when you reach the rocky bottom of the crevasse: sandals, backpacks and sun glasses have been known to slip down into the rock’s unreachable crannies. Get ready for a refreshing plunge through emerald waters!

las grietas, galapagos, visitor

Las Grietas

Tortuga Bay

It is no surprise that Tortuga Bay came in at #10 on Trip Advisor’s Top 25 Beaches in the World. Go up the stairs to the entrance of the protected area, which is only a 5-minute taxi ride away from the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel. Make sure you register yourself before going, as this is a requirement by the Galapagos National Park whenever you visit a protected area without a naturalist guide.

A scenic path will lead you to the first beach called Playa Brava (Angry beach). It is a 30 minute walk but it is totally worth it. From this first beach, where guests and visitors are advised not to swim in due to the force of the currents and the waves – hence the name of the beach – it will take another 25 minutes to get to Tortuga Bay. This second, more secluded bay with mangrove-covered shores will welcome you. Its calm waters strongly contrasted with those of its neighbour and are perfect for a nice, long swim. Find a shadowy spot under one of the many Poison Apple trees, and get ready to have native finches steal some of your snacks. Have your snorkel equipment ready, too! You won’t want to miss what’s hidden underwater, amongst the mangrove’s roots. Did someone say white-tip reef shark?

Marine iguana at Tortuga Bay, one of Santa Cruz must-visit beaches

Marine iguana at Tortuga Bay, one of Santa Cruz must-visit beaches

Nathalie Moeller is of Ecuadorian and German descent. As a child she spent her summers in the Galapagos Islands, where her mother grew up, and from a very young age learned to love the beauty and uniqueness of the archipelago. She studied Journalism and Humanities in Barcelona, after living in Madrid and Germany for a couple of years. This gave her a culturally broader view of the world, which is reflected in everything she does. Blogging gives her the opportunity to combine her passion for travelling and writing.

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