Not too far from the small, comfortable corner that the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel occupies in Puerto Ayora is Garrapatero Beach. Granted, it takes a good 20-minutes and a set of wheels to get you there, but the journey is definitely worth it for any and all beach lovers that are interested in exploring the full gamut of beaches available on Santa Cruz Island.
Journey to Garrapatero Beach
As part of our offered activities, the journey to Garrapatero begins at the hotel and then crosses over into Puerto Ayora, where our driver will pick us up and take us into the highlands of Santa Cruz, past the small town of Bellavista (about 20-minutes) to the beach entrance. The drive there is rather pleasant, as the farms that pepper the highlands of Santa Cruz provide sweeping views of just how different flora can be up above the shoreline.
One we arrive at the entrance, it’s a 15-minute walk to pure shores, but fear not — the brick pathway is filled with beautiful moments and numerous things to spot. Along the way, you’ll get to admire the hundreds of mangroves and Poison Apple trees that cover the area while gradually soaking in the dramatic change that occurs in floral diversity as you get closer to the beach. Not all that far from the beach itself, there’s a small lagoon that’s decorated with lush vegetation and often serves as a giant wading pool for pink flamingos, ducks, herons, stilts, oystercatchers and crabs.
Walk a little further and you’ll arrive at our final destination, Garrapatero Beach. The shores here occupy a protected cove and are framed by black, volcanic rock formations (that are typically peppered with bright red, Sally Lightfoot crabs). A number of terrestrial critters skitter across the fine white sand, too, including marine iguanas. Turquoise waters lap against the white canvas of beach, beckoning all newcomers to cool down and dip into its enchanting hues. Note that one can also take a dip into the warmer waters that are present in the lagoon, if they wish.
But if underwater life is what you’re looking for, be sure to bring along your snorkeling gear! The calm waters here give snorkelers crystal clear views of the world and life present under the sea. Occasionally you’ll even get to spot Pacific green turtles in the bay.
The beach, too, serves as the perfect place for kids to play, with tidal pools serving as tiny science labs. But whether you plan on exploring the beach, its waters or simply relaxing on its soft sand, we encourage all guests to bring plenty of sunscreen and water!
Keen on getting the chance to explore even more beaches throughout the archipelago? Be sure to check out the wide array of Galapagos cruises that we offer!