With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder it offers explorers an abundance of things to do in the Galapagos-from swimming with Sea Turtles in Divine Bay to see all three species of resident boobies. For history buffs, there is comparing WWII images with current ones on Baltra Island, learning about the penal colony at the Wall of Tears, to finding Charles Darwin Busts on San Cristobal Island.

1. Compare WWII images with current ones on Baltra Island

Baltra Island, also called South Seymour Island, is one of the smaller Galápagos Islands. Before volcanic faulting occurred, the island was a part of Santa Cruz Island. During World War II, Ecuador permitted the United States to establish an Air Force base. With the growth of tourism, the Ecuadoran government renovated the airfield, which is now the main point of entry for visitors to the islands. If your list of things to do in Galapgaos includes learning about the history of the islands, Baltra is the place for it!

2. Admire the oceanic uplift of Urbina Bay on Isabela Island

Urbina Bay is located at the base of Alcedo Volcano on the west coast of Isabela Island, between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. An oceanic uplift in 1954 caused the land to rise over 16 feet, leaving a large coral reef that appeared above sea level. Urbina Bay has a wide variety of plant life which changes depending on the season. The coast expanded half a mile out, leaving marine life stranded on the new shore. This area is one of the few places where you’ll frequently see giant tortoises in their natural habitat and Galapagos Land Iguanas. 

3. See all three species of resident boobies

The blue-footed booby has bright blue feet and unique rituals. Their intricate foot-stepping mating rituals and unique coloring make them the center of attention on any island. They are usually seen in pairs with their bills down and tails up, facing each other and prancing meticulously with their blue feet. You can see foraging blue-footed boobies on most islands and colonies in North Seymour, Española, and San Cristobal island.

The Nazca booby is one of the largest boobies in the world. It is often seen nesting on cliffs and is easily identified by its long, bright-yellow beak and black and white feathers. You can spot foraging Nazca boobies in most Islands and their breeding colonies in Genovesa and Española Islands

Galapagos Red-footed boobies, with their bright red feet and blue beaks, are rather peculiar-looking birds. The world’s largest colony of Galapagos red-footed boobies is on Genovesa Island, making it the best location to observe this bird on land. Nevertheless, the red-footed booby is a marine bird and spends most of its time at sea. Only in Punta Pitt, you’ll see all three species of boobies. This is one of the things to do in Galapagos Islands that are not to be missed!

4. Photograph all species of resident mangroves: Red, white, black, and button

The black mangrove has the highest salt tolerance. It can be identified by its short aerial roots and small tentacle roots that grow up the side of the tree. The most common mangrove in the Galapagos is the red mangrove. They can be identified by their reddish bark and tend to grow in low tidal areas. This species of mangrove is used to make charcoal. White mangroves have stilted roots and pneumatophores. The name comes from their delicate white flowers. Buttonwood mangroves are not genetically classified as true mangroves but share many of the same characteristics. This species grows in higher-elevation mangrove habitats and has roots that grow above ground.

The gardens of Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel are made up of buttonwood mangroves. Take advantage of your visit to the Galapagos Islands to see these beautiful and unique plants. Fernandina Island, Tortuga Bay, and Northern Floreana are great places to see red, white, and black mangroves! The beach area surrounding Finch Bay is also a great place to take a peaceful walk around and see different mangrove species. They can also be seen while kayaking in the playa de los Alemanes.

5. Capture on film/photo the moment a brown noddy sits on a Galapagos brown pelican’s head

Here is another of the things to do in Galapagos Islands! Watch brown noddies swoop in and perch on pelicans’ heads to capture whatever fish has managed to escape the gular pouches bill of the feeding pelican. It resembles a pigeon, with a greyish-white cap at the top of their heads that fades into the dark brown feathers covering the rest of its body. This symbiotic behavior can be seen in most islands, anywhere where Galapagos brown pelicans hunt for fish.

6. Watch a giant tortoise perform the “stilting behavior” at the Puerto Villamil Tortoise Breeding Station

A family selfie with a Galapagos Giant Tortoise

The Galapagos tortoises are endemic to the Galapagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago. The symbiosis observed between land birds (like small Darwin finches and mockingbirds) signals their interest in collecting ectoparasites off the thick skin of tortoises and Iguanas. Then the reptile responds by stretching its neck and four limbs to expose as much skin as possible to the avian partners. Visit the Puerto Villamil Tortoise Breeding Station to watch them in their natural habitat.

7. Learn about the penal colony at the Wall of Tears on Isabela Island

From 1945 to 1959, a penal colony hosted prisoners forced to build this wall, stone by stone, in isolation. This now historical site (El Muro de las Lágrimas), towering at 65 feet (25m) high, took the lives of thousands during its construction. Locals claim to hear cries emanating from the heavy energy surrounding the site.

8. Find the Southern Cross

When you observe the sky from the equator, you can discover the stars in both hemispheres. You might recognize the Big Dipper, but have you ever admired the Southern Cross? In the Galapagos Islands, we can reconnect with the universe one star at a time. Visit Santa Cruz island’s only beach-front hotel and discover it for yourself. These are just a few of the things to do in Galapagos Islands.

9. Look for the resting, white-tipped reef sharks along the trail of Tintoreras, Puerto Villamil

Puerto Villamil is a tiny town on the island of Isabela. Isabela was formed by six volcanoes merging, five of which are still active. The abundant bird, animal, and marine life are staggering, and the island is home to more wild tortoises than anywhere else. Other notable species include penguins, marine iguanas, Galapagos land iguanas, boobies, and many more. As you make your way through the rocky-looking lava along the trail of Tintoreras, look for the white-tip reef sharks. You can watch them sleeping below as you hike along part of the trail.

10. Seek the extremely rare hybrid iguana in South Plaza Island

South Plaza is the southern half of two small crescent-shaped islands, which lie just off the eastern coast of Santa Cruz Island. South Plaza is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago, but rich in flora and fauna. Further up the shore on South Plaza, a carpet of scarlet-colored sesuvium succulents serve as the ground cover for a grove of green, prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-gray land iguanas sit and crawl around under these cacti. Among the things to do in Galapagos Islands, you may even see a rare hybrid iguana as you walk along the trails. These hybrids result from intergeneric breeding between a male marine iguana and a female land iguana. They overlap in a small area on South Plaza, hence the accidental hybrids.

11. Find 3 of the 4 resident and endemic iguanas of Galapagos: Marine, land, and Santa Fe iguanas (the pink iguana on Wolf volcano is off-limits)

The land iguana is the most ubiquitous of the three species of land iguanas. They can be seen on various islands throughout the archipelago, including Fernandina, Isabela, Santa Cruz, South Plaza, Baltra, Santiago, and North Seymour Island. The Charles Darwin Research Station has a captive breeding program of land iguanas.

The Santa Fe land iguana differs from the land iguana because it is paler and has a more tapered snout. It is a member of our BIG15 group of iconic species in the Galapagos. It is endemic to the island of Santa Fe, one of the tours offered on your Sea Lion yacht.

The marine iguana is the only lizard in the world able to live and forage at sea and is endemic to the Archipelago. Marine iguanas are excellent swimmers moving quickly through the water as they feed on algae. They can be seen on every island in the Galapagos. Consider this one of the best things to do in Galapagos Islands!

12. Learn the tricks on how to identify male frigates among the two resident species

The Male’s impressive red throat pouch inflates into bright red heart-shaped balloons. It takes around a half hour for the sacks to increase. While our guides will help you pick out which is which, great frigate males inflate a slightly shorter gular sack of a warmer red color. Additionally, great male frigates have a green sheen on their feathers, while magnificent males have a purple sheen. Juveniles and females are the easiest to tell apart: magnificent frigate females have a black triangle of feathers running down from the chin to the center of their white chests. Great frigate females have white up their chins. Juvenile magnificent frigates have a white head, while great frigate juveniles have a rusty tone. All Galapagos locations have frigatebirds flying around, but the top places to see their nesting colonies include San Cristóbal, Española, and Genovesa Island.

13. Swim with the world’s smallest pinniped, the Galapagos Fur seals in North Seymour

Galapagos fur seals, the smallest of all the pinnipeds, weigh between 30 and 80 kg and are generally under 5 feet long in adulthood, making them unique. Pinnipeds mean they have finlike feet. Also, they inhabit rocky and ragged shorelines exclusively, with direct access to the ocean. Seal colonies are found on Isabela and Fernandina islands. However, we encounter these incredible seals in North Seymour, Genovesa, Rábida, Santiago, and Punta Pitt on San Cristobal Island. This is one of the most thrilling things to do in Galapagos Islands!

14. Swim with Sea Turtles and Sea Lions in Divine Bay

Sea turtle photo

Located close to Academy Bay and Puerto Ayora, you’ll find the quiet and wildlife-rich Divine Bay, a beautiful cove protected from the swells by natural reefs. Both majestic and passive in their demeanor, sea turtles are a treat to swim beside while snorkeling in Galapagos. Their slow and laid-back movement makes it possible for humans to get a great picture.

One of the most playful creatures when it comes to snorkeling in Galapagos, sea lions are a spectacle. These adept swimmers won’t hesitate to get close to you to check you out! They’re quick and skillful with their movement and will swim at you full speed before doing an underwater “somersault” of sorts and swimming away reluctantly. As one of the fun things to do in Galapagos Islands, you can enjoy swimming with sea turtles and sea lions.

15. Snorkel with the northern-most penguin in the world on Bartolomé island

A Galapagos penguin in Bartolome Islands

The Galápagos penguin is the world’s northernmost penguin species and the only one that spends all its life on the equator. Given that penguins favor cold waters, they are mostly found on the westernmost islands, between the islands of Isabela and Fernandina.

They are often spotted on Bartolomé Island, where you will have the opportunity to snorkel at a site where you can find penguins on one of the nearby rocks or alongside you underwater. The main snorkeling site is around Pinnacle Rock. Here explorers share the ocean with penguins, playful sea lions, handsome reef sharks, rays, and tropical fish species. Snorkeling here ought to be at the top of your list of things to do in Galapagos Islands.

16. Find the diurnal Galapagos short-eared owl on Genovesa Island

This is one of the three resident birds of prey in the Galapagos. In islands where the Galapagos hawk is absent, the endemic subspecies of the short-eared owl has become diurnal. The best place to spot them is at Prince Philip Steps on Genovesa Island. The Genovesa short-eared owl lives among lava rock up on the clifftop, and the visitor trail takes you close to their habitat. Genovesa also has a large resident storm-petrel colony, popular prey for owls.

17. Open an account on e-bird and submit your daily bird lists

Galapagos hawk description

EBird is an online database of bird observations providing scientists, researchers, and amateur naturalists with real-time data about bird distribution and abundance. It is ideal for recording bird observations and learning more about the birds you summit daily. Like the Magnificent Frigatebird, Flightless Cormorant, Red-footed booby, Galapagos Flamingo, Darwin’s Finches, and more.

18. Find two Charles Darwin Busts on San Cristobal Island

Of all the things to do in Galapagos Islands, look for the two Charles Darwin busts on San Cristobal Island. In 1935, Victor Von Hagen requested a plaster copy of the bust for a monument he erected on San Cristóbal in the Galapagos Islands to celebrate Darwin’s arrival. The Darwin Statue is located on San Cristóbal Island in remembrance of one of the world’s greatest naturalists.

19. Count the “red balloons” at the breeding colony of Frigates in North Seymour

Magnificent frigatebird in the Galapagos Islands

North Seymour Island is packed with wildlife surrounding visitors as they walk along the island’s trails. Prepare to be greeted by the lounging Galapagos sea lions and some of the most iconic Galapagos birds displaying their feathers and colors. North Seymour is home to some of the archipelago’s largest colonies of frigate birds and blue-footed boobies! The Galapagos frigatebird is part of our BIG15 Group of Iconic Species. This is one of the best things to do in Galapagos!

The male is all black with a purple or green sheen on their shoulder feathers, depending on the species, and a large red throat pouch inflated during the breeding season. The female is slightly larger and has a white chest and a black head.

20. Try to capture the image of a leaping Mobula Ray when sailing between islands

Here is another of the fun things to do in Galapagos Islands! Look out for a leaping Mobula Ray when sailing between islands.  There are two types of Mobula Rays in Galápagos, commonly encountered swimming in the waters around the Galápagos Islands. The Mobula Birostris (Giant Oceanic Manta Ray) and the Mobula Japanica (Spinetail Devil Ray). They can often be located very close up and in large schools. Galápagos Manta Rays can sometimes be seen leaping out of the water and landing with a surprisingly loud slap. Manta rays are constantly moving around the Galapagos islands. You will likely spot them when sailing between islands en route to or from South Plaza, Bartolome, and Santa Fe islands.

21. Take a selfie on the Lava fields of Sullivan Bay

Sullivan Bay has an impressive enormous field of young pahoehoe lava (the last eruption was only 130 years ago). The remarkable flow connected old scoria mounts with Santiago Island and would have almost engulfed Bartolomé if the eruption had continued only a few more days. Let your imagination go wild for selfies over lava swirls, patched ropy lava, or empty pockets of thin lava crust.

22. Count and submit the number of Flamingos in Humedales by Puerto Villamil

The Wetlands are located on the outskirts of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. This area includes lagoons, marshes, and mangroves and is home to a unique variety of bird species, such as curlews, ducklings, and flamingos. Eruptions and lava subsidence caused the formation of several lagoons, giving rise to the most representative wetlands of the Galapagos Islands. Various salt and brackish lagoons house an impressive variety of coastal and sea birds to the west of Puerto Villamil. Here visitors can also find the largest concentration of flamingos in the Galapagos. This is one of the best things to do in Galapagos Islands!  We recommend going to the lagoon early in the morning because you will observe the most flamingos roaming over the shallow waters.

23. Find the “Godzilla” subspecies of marine iguana in Punta Pitt, San Cristobal Island

Punta Pitt is located at the eastern end of San Cristobal Island, with a beach of approximately 90 meters and several natural viewpoints overlooking an eroded hill of volcanic tuff. The marine iguanas are classified into 11 different types of sub-species. Among the species discovered is the Amblyrhynchus cristatus godzila. This subspecies is over one meter in length, and was named Godzilla Marine Iguana. Galapagos marine iguanas can be spotted all year round in the Galapagos archipelago. During December and January, see marine iguanas turn bright red and green.

24. Listen and enjoy the chants of the Galapagos shearwaters as they swirl on the cliffs of South Plaza

The South Plaza cliffs provide the perfect habitat for nesting seabird colonies. Try to spot Blue-footed boobies, Shearwaters, Swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca Boobies, and the beautiful, Red-billed Tropicbird. The walk along the sea cliffs is a wonderful experience, with Galapagos Shearwaters and Red-billed Tropicbirds gliding by while chanting their territorial melodies.

25. Watch sea lions surf the radiating waves of Punta Suarez, Española Island

Punta Suarez is located at the western end of Española Island and is considered the oldest island in the Galapagos archipelago, approximately 5 million years old. This is one of the best things to do in Galapagos!  Passengers will observe sea lions, marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the beautiful scenery where water shoots 75 ft (23 m) up into the air. The dramatic setting among the black cliffs, the never-ending rolling and crashing of the waves below, and the elaborate courtship rituals of the albatross. After a short walk to a sandy beach, you’ll see frolicking sea lions, lounging, or riding the waves.

26. See the Green Flash at sunset

A cloudless night and a clear horizon in Galapagos might surprise you. Just as the sun sets below the horizon, a flash of green light might appear. It is magical to look at the sunset and suddenly see a momentary flash of green.

27. Find the tiny pioneer plant “mollugo” on the young lava fields of Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island

As for fun things to do in Galapagos Islands, Sullivan Bay is a fascinating volcanic site located on Santiago Island. There are easy-to-spot tuff cones, miniature spatter cones, and the imprints of tree branches in the once-molten rock all over the island. Pioneer plants such as Brachycereus cactus and the endemic herb Mollugo have started to colonize the dark grey rocks and lava, preparing the way for other plant species. Mollugo, this endemic plant grows on many lava fields, looks more like a weed and is the most widely-distributed colonizer in the Galapagos.

28. Find the islet shaped like a turtle on Gardner Bay, Española Island

The beach at Gardner Bay offers one of the best beaches to experience a “relaxing time” in Galapagos. Visitors can swim or snorkel along the rocks in the shallow water near the beach until they find the islet shaped like a turtle.  If you’re looking for things to do in Galapagos, make sure Española Island is at the top of your list.

You may also like: Best beaches in Ecuador 

29. Take a photo of 0° 0′ 0.0000” on the ship’s GPS when crossing the equator line

Of all the things to do in Galapagos Islands, this is a great option. When going on an exploration cruise, remember to ask if you’re going to cross the equator line. So, you can take a photo of the ship’s GPS, and you’ll always remember it.

30. Take a selfie on these colored beaches: red sand in Rabida; green sand in Floreana; white sand in Tortuga Bay; black sand in Puerto Egas; golden sand in Bartolomé.

Rábida’s red sands come from the scoria created by molten lava meeting colder seawater. The scoria’s high iron content results in the island’s red hues. The green sand beach at Cormorant Point on Floreana Island is a known nesting area for sea turtles. The green tinge in the sand is due to the large number of olivine crystals expelled from nearby tuff cones by the wind.

Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz Island is a long, fantastic stretch of white sand. This lovely beach is named for its black sea turtles that nest here. Beach Puerto Egas is located on the island of Santiago and is rich in deposits of volcanic tuff, which promotes the formation of black sand. For a good reason, Bartolome is the most photographed island in Galapagos. The vivid black & red lava, green vegetation, deep blue sea, and golden sand contrast beautifully.

31. Find whale bones on Mosquera Islet

Mosquera Islet is a small Galapagos Island with a white sand beach, black lava rocks, and crystal-clear waters. It is ideally located between North Seymour and Baltra. It features multiple coral reefs, making it ideal for snorkeling and seeing marine life. You might find the bleached bones of a pilot whale making for a haunting photo.

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Hiking excursions in Galapagos vary from island to island and give visitors a chance to learn first-hand about geology. The island is packed with wildlife that surround visitors as they walk along its trails. Prepare to be greeted by the lounging sea lions and some of the most iconic Galapagos birds. Here you will find some of the most unique and diverse landscapes, which make for breathtakingly beautiful hikes.


Trekking at Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any restrictions for hiking in Galapagos?

Yes, visitors are required to follow certain rules when exploring the islands. These include going with a guide and staying on marked trails.

What kind of hiking gear should I bring to Galapagos?

You should always bring hiking boots and comfortable clothing that you are okay with getting a little dirty! A hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a water bottle are essential items to pack.

Where do these hiking excursions take place?

Hiking in Galapagos varies, and there’s something for every type of explorer! You can explore forests, beaches, or craters while looking for diverse wildlife. Plenty of guided tours are available, offering a comprehensive look at what the island offers and providing more detailed information about the local flora and fauna.

What wildlife will I see while hiking in Galapagos?

Galapagos is home to an extraordinary range of wildlife! From giant tortoises and sea lions to Darwin’s finches. Hiking in Galapagos offers the opportunity to encounter some of nature’s most beautiful creatures.

Hiking in Galapagos

Hiking in Galapagos is an unforgettable experience. It can be a safe and enjoyable adventure! With hiking trails ranging from easy to challenging, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to pack the appropriate hiking gear and follow any safety guidelines that are in place to ensure a safe and memorable experience.

Make sure to ask your Destination Expert about including this activity into your schedule.



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Stroll The Streets




Breathtaking landscapes and incredible biodiversity await you on your journey to the Galapagos Islands. From lush tropical vegetation, exotic wildlife, and crystal-clear waters teaming with vibrant marine life – this archipelago has it all. Here, you can wander through quaint towns, explore white-sand beaches, or stroll along the streets. Get ready to immerse yourself in a unique experience.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I stroll the streets of Galapagos?

Absolutely! It’s perfectly safe to stroll around the streets of Galapagos. Be sure to bring a water bottle and sun protection!

What should I wear when strolling the streets in Galapagos?

Comfortable clothes and walking shoes so you can make the most of your experience of strolling through the streets of this unique archipelago.

What Is The Best Time To Visit? 

During the day, appreciate the distinct natural environments you can find throughout the archipelago! At night, admire the laidback restaurants, bars, stores, and serene Galapagos waters.

What places can I visit?

Strolling the streets in the Galapagos islands allows you to enjoy other parts of this fantastic place. Like walking down, the boardwalk, the Santa Cruz fish market, the Charles Darwin station, La Laguna de las Ninfas or visiting local museums.

Exploring Galapagos

Make sure to bring your camera and some comfortable walking shoes because a stroll through the streets of Galapagos is an experience like no other. Picturesque spots are perfect for taking photos, discovering local gastronomic delights, and seeing everything up close. Are you ready to explore the Galapagos Islands like never before?

Make sure to ask your Destination Expert about including this activity into your schedule.



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Garrapatero Beach




One of the best places to relax on Santa Cruz Island is Garrapatero Beach. Once you arrive at the entrance to the beach, you´ll enjoy a short 15-minute walk on a concrete trail to the fine white sand of Garrapatero. One of its highlights is the brackish lagoon nearby, home of the rare Galapagos variety of the American Flamingo, as well as several seasonal waders and interesting coastal vegetation.  



Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get there?

Garrapatero beach is a 20-minute bus ride from town. Going through the highlands of Santa Cruz, you will pass the town of Bellavista where you will enjoy the view made up of beautiful scalesia trees. Then a 15-minute walk to the sandy shore, where local flora and fauna will be waiting to surprise you.  

What is the best time to visit?

Early in the morning, youll enjoy the sunshine and admire marine iguanas soaking in the warmth on top of the volcanic rock before they slide in for a refreshing dip in the crystalline waters 

What species can I see?

Finches, lava lizards, mangroves, and the common Poison Apple tree make up most of the landscape. 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 see pink flamingos, herons, oystercatchers, and ducks 

What activities are availabie at Garrapatero Beach?

You can enjoy hiking at the beautiful white sand beach as well as swimming and kayaking in its crystal-clear water.  

Explore Garrapatero Beach

Garrapatero Beach is a must-see destination thanks to its crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sand. Located on Santa Cruz Island, this beach provides breathtaking views and the opportunity to observe nature at its finest. Whether you’re interested in exploring the diverse wildlife that roams there or want to spend the day relaxing under the sun, Garrapatero Beach has something for everyone.  

Make sure to ask your Destination Expert about including this activity into your schedule.  



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Tortuga Bay




Tortuga Bay is located on the north side of Santa Cruz Island, one of the most famous islands in Galapagos. It’s a popular spot for snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking. The beach at Tortuga Bay is almost two kilometers long, with fine white sand and clear waters that are perfect for swimming. It’s a great spot to spend the day soaking up the sun, walking along the shoreline, or relaxing.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe for swimming? 

The waters at Tortuga Bay are very calm and clear. Swimming is a popular activity here, and there are no strong currents or risk of dangerous animals in the area.

Is it possible to stay near Tortuga Bay? 

There are no hotels or resorts near Tortuga Bay, but there are on Santa Cruz Island, where you can stay overnight.

Is it possible to take a boat ride to Tortuga Bay? 

Yes, you can arrange a boat ride to the entrance of Tortuga Bay and from there walk to the beach.

Are there any restrictions when visiting? 

The Galapagos National Park has specific regulations to protect the local environment and wildlife. All visitors must abide by these regulations and respect the island’s natural habitat. Some activities, such as fishing or camping, are prohibited without proper permits.

Is there anything else to do in the area?

There are plenty of other activities near Tortuga Bay. You can go walking or biking around Santa Cruz Island and explore or take a boat ride to some other islands nearby. There are also several restaurants, bars, and shops.

Explore Tortuga Bay

Tortuga Bay is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery. With its white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and range of activities, it’s no wonder this destination is so popular! So, if you’re considering a trip to the Galapagos Islands, include Tortuga Bay in your plans. You won’t regret it!

Make sure to ask your Destination Expert about including this activity into your schedule.



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There are many reasons why Ecuador is a suitable place to visit, but its beaches are among the best in the world. With crystal-clear water, soft white sand, and stunning views, these beaches offer something for everyone. The best beaches in Ecuador provide a unique opportunity to experience unparalleled beauty and adventure in one place, from snorkeling alongside sea turtles to sunbathing on pristine white beaches. If you are planning a trip to Ecuador and are looking for the best beaches, look no further! Here are ten of Ecuador’s best beaches, each with unique charm and attractions.

Landscape of the Kayak experience in the FInch Bay Galapagos Hotel

1. Playa de Los Alemanes

Playa de Los Alemanes, also known as “German Beach,” is a stunning black sand beach on the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands. This beautiful beach got its name from the German settlers who lived on the island in the 1800s. The waters are crystal clear and perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities.

The terrain is also ideal for wildlife spotting, with sea turtles, iguanas, and birds often found in the area. The best time to visit Playa de Los Alemanes is during the dry season, which runs from May through October. Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel offers beachfront access to the Playa de Los Alemanes. With its stunning views and abundant wildlife, Playa de Los Alemanes is an unforgettable destination in the Galapagos Islands.

Finch Bay's access to Playa de los Alemanes in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos

2. Tortuga Bay

Tortuga Bay, located on the north side of Santa Cruz Island, is known for its crystal-clear water and stunning views. The beach is reached via a marked and cobblestoned two-kilometer path, open daily from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM. There is excellent birdwatching along the way, with plenty of Darwin’s finches and other sea birds.

The waters are calm, so it’s perfect for swimming, kayaking, and swimming. Tortuga Bay is often proclaimed one of the best beaches in the world and is a must-visit for any beach lover. From here, you can partake in snorkeling and kayaking amongst colorful fish, sea turtles, and more. It’s a great spot to spend the day soaking up the sun, walking along the shoreline, or relaxing.

You may also like: Do not miss these three Santa Cruz must-visit beaches

Couple at Tortuga Bay beach in the Galapagos Islands

3. Bartolome Island

Bartolome Island is a small, rocky island found off the east coast of Santiago Island. It’s surrounded by rugged cliffs and lush vegetation, making it feel like an oasis in the middle of nowhere. You’ll find plenty of marine life in the waters around the beach. There are sea turtles, rays, sea lions, and tropical fish.

You’ll also spot some land animals, such as iguanas and bird species. There are many activities to enjoy, like a dip in crystal-clear water, snorkeling, swimming, or relaxing. You can also explore the island on foot and experience the beauty of this untouched paradise. It’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and follow any instructions given by tour guides.

Trekking at Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands

4. El Garrapatero

An iconic spot known for its unique wildlife and stunning views is El Garrapatero Beach on Santa Cruz Island. Sea lions, sharks, rays, turtles, and birds like the great frigatebird and the blue-footed booby are some of the species that can be found here. There are also a few endemic species, such as the Galapagos mockingbird and the lava lizard.

You can enjoy various activities like fishing, kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling here. You may also take a guided tour of the island and explore some of its natural wonders. If you’re looking for something more low-key, there are plenty of places to relax on the shore or watch the waves roll in. El Garrapatero is an excellent spot for families.

You may also like: How to experience the Galapagos islands: land or sea?

Garrapatero beach at Santa Cruz Island

5. Las Bachas Beach

Las Bachas is a beautiful and secluded beach in the Galapagos Islands. This hidden gem is located at the northern end of Santa Cruz Island. Famous for its white sand beaches, palm trees, and lagoons filled with flamingos. In addition to swimming, visitors can also take part in various activities.

These include snorkeling, birdwatching, sunbathing, and exploring the nearby mangroves. There are plenty of nearby services that can supply snorkeling gear and other equipment for a fee. However, visitors must respect the environment and not disturb local wildlife or marine life. There is also an entrance fee for non-residents, which must be paid upon arrival.

Las Bachas Beach in the Galapagos Islands

From the coastline of Santa Elena to the tranquil waters of Esmeraldas, these Ecuador beaches offer something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot to relax or an adventure-filled day full of surfing and snorkeling, Ecuador has plenty of beaches that will fulfill your vacation needs. Here are some of our favorite spots for soaking up the sun:

6. Playa de Los Frailes

Los Frailes Beach is a stunning stop on Ecuador’s coastline. With crystal-clear water and soft white sand, it’s easy to see why this beach is a favorite for locals and tourists alike. Los Frailes Beach is in Machalilla National Park, about an hour and a half from Puerto Lopez. The beach itself offers plenty of activities for visitors of all ages.

Swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking are popular activities, as is simply laying out in the sun. Los Frailes Beach is open all year. However, it’s best to check the local weather conditions before planning your visit. There are several restaurants in nearby towns, and a few snack stands at the beach itself.

Los frailes

7. Montañita Beach

This beach is a surfer’s paradise in Santa Elena Province with stunning scenery, various restaurants, and nightlife spots. Montañita Beach is one of the best surfing spots, with ideal conditions for both beginner and experienced surfers. You can soak up the sun while admiring the beauty of Ecuador’s Pacific coastline! Visitors often come to sunbathe, surf, and enjoy the lively nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs.

One of its best aspects is its wide variety of restaurants, offering everything from seafood to traditional Ecuadorian dishes. There’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, Montañita Beach is the perfect spot for activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding. It’s a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere where visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of the area while still having plenty of activities.


8. La Plata Beach (Isla de la Plata)

Isla de la Plata, also known as the “Poor Man’s Galapagos,” is a small island off Ecuador’s coast in Manabí . It is known for its rich biodiversity and natural beauty, which make it an ideal destination for nature lovers. One of the highlights of Isla de la Plata is its abundant wildlife. The island is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, including many species found only in the Galapagos Islands.

Some of the most popular animals on Isla de la Plata include blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds. The island is also home to several endemic plant species, including the Isla de la Plata cactus and the Isla de la Plata daisy. Overall, Isla de la Plata is a beautiful and unique destination that offers something for everyone, whether you are interested in exploring the island’s rich biodiversity or simply relaxing on its sandy beaches.

Isla de la plata

9. Mompiche Beach

Mompiche is a small, picturesque beach on the northern coast near Esmeraldas Province. It is known for its pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters, which make it an ideal spot for surfing, swimming and sunbathing. The beach is surrounded by lush tropical rainforests and is home to various plant and animal species.

There are many hotels in the area and numerous restaurants and bars. Tour operators also offer guided tours and activities in the surrounding region, including hiking, horseback riding, and birdwatching. Overall, Mompiche Beach is a peaceful destination that offers something for everyone, whether relaxing on the beach or exploring the surrounding region.


10. Salinas Beach

Salinas Beach is a popular beach destination found on the Pacific coast of Ecuador. Its beautiful sandy beaches and clear waters make it ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and other activities, including surfing, windsurfing, and boating. One of the highlights of Salinas Beach is its location.

The beach is in a region known for its warm, tropical climate, making it an ideal destination year-round. In addition to its natural beauty, there are many hotels, restaurants, and bars. Salinas Beach has something for everyone, whether you are looking to relax on the beach, enjoy water sports, or explore the surrounding region.


Ecuador’s Beaches are worth visiting

Ecuador has plenty of beaches that offer something special for every traveler. From snorkeling with sea turtles to surfing, these beaches supply the perfect spot for all looking to experience Ecuador’s coastal beauty. We hope this list of the best beaches in Ecuador helps you plan your next beach getaway.

Ecuador beaches can make you fall in love when you meet them, especially Playa de Los Alemanes, where you can disconnect, take time for yourself, and start bonding with nature. Enjoy peace and tranquility by booking with Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel.

Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot to relax or an adventure-filled day full of surfing and snorkeling, there’s something for everyone. Remember to bring along sunscreen as you explore these stunning shores. Enjoy your time on the best beaches in Ecuador, and we wish you all the best on your travels!



Daniela Vaca


Giant Tortoise Reserve




The Giant Tortoise Reserve is a nature preserve located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, home to some of the world’s largest tortoises. The Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment manages the reserve. It was created in 1959 to protect the giant tortoise population and its habitat. The reserve is home to several species of tortoises, including the famous Galapagos Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra), the largest living tortoise species.


Galapagos giant tortoise at Manzanillo

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get there? 

The Giant tortoise reserve is located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. The trip typically takes around 30 minutes, depending on weather conditions.

What can I expect to see? 

The Giant Tortoise Reserve is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the Galapagos Giant Tortoise. Visitors can also expect to see many other animals, such as ducks, gallinules, woodpeckers, mockingbirds, and flycatchers. 

Is the reserve open year-round? 

Yes, the reserve is open year-round from 9 am to 5 pm. The best time to visit the Giant Tortoise Reserve is in the early morning or late afternoon. This will give you plenty of time to explore the area and enjoy its beauty.

Is there a fee to enter the reserve? 

Yes, there is a fee of USD 5 per person to enter the Giant Tortoise Reserve. This fee helps to maintain the reserve and protect its animals and plants.

Are there restrictions on what I can bring to the reserve? 

It is important to note that only specific items are allowed inside the reserve. These include food, water, and small personal items such as cameras.

Explore the Giant Tortoise Reserve

If you’re planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands, you need to know about the Giant Tortoise Reserve. This reserve is home to some of the world’s largest tortoises and is a must-see for any nature lover. So, plan your trip today and get ready to explore this beautiful reserve!

Make sure to ask your Destination Expert about including this activity into your schedule.



Daniela Vaca


Charles Darwin Station 




Charles Darwin Station was established in 1964 as a research center to study and protect the Galapagos Islands’ wildlife. The station is situated on Santa Cruz Island, close to Puerto Ayora. Currently, it serves both scientific and tourism purposes. It is home to a variety of educational programs for both adults and children, as well as a research center where visitors can learn about the special scientific studies conducted in the area.

For this fantastic expedition you can start by visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station. It’s a place of incredible flora and fauna that you will only find in the Galapagos Islands. Fall in love with the archipelago and its wonders, and learn more about the significant work of wildlife conservation being done.


Giant Tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to visit the station without booking a tour?

Yes! The station is open to the public and does not require visitors to book ahead of time.

Are there any special activities offered at the station?

Yes! Charles Darwin Station offers a variety of educational programs and workshops, including lectures on the history of the Galapagos Islands and guided tours of the research facilities.

How much is the entrance to Darwin’s Station?

There is no entrance fee for the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Are there any restaurants or shops at Charles Darwin Station?

Yes! There is a gift shop with souvenirs and a cafe where you can purchase snacks and beverages.

Explore Charles Darwin Station

To deepen and broaden your knowledge, make your way to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto AyoraIf you’d like to tour or attend one of their educational programs, it’s possible. The station also has a gift shop and a coffee, so you can take home souvenirs or grab a bite to eat while visiting. 

Ask your Destination Expert about including this activity in your schedule.



Daniela Vaca


Lava Tunnels




Located southwest of the village of Santa Rosa, these tunnels were formed when molten lava flowed through underground channels, leaving behind awe-inspiring tunnels that are now a popular tourist attraction. You can visit these tunnels without an official guide, but be sure to bring a flashlight. If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience during your time in the Galapagos, be sure to check out the Lava Tunnels!


Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel lava tunnels expedition

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a difficult activity?

The Lava Tunnels are easy to navigate and are located close by. The caves are dimly lit, but tour guides will bring lamps for added illumination.

What is the best time of year to go?

The Lava Tunnels can be visited year-round, but the best time to visit is during the dry season (January to May). During this time, there is less chance of rain and the temperature inside the caves is more comfortable.

Is this a family friendly activity?

Yes, the Lava Tunnels are a great activity for families. The tunnels are safe and easy to navigate. Kids will love exploring the underground caverns!

Do I need a guide?

You do not, this activity can be done on your own. However, guides are recommended because they will provide you with information about the history and geology of the area.

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. It is also recommended to bring a hat or headlamp.

Explore Lava Tunnels

Whether you are looking for a laidback hike or find yourself fascinated by geology and its particular history when it comes to the Galapagos, the Lava Tunnels are a great addition to your stay in Santa Cruz. It’s a great addition to a day of hiking around the island or the town and even a great way to work up an appetite prior to Dinner.

Make sure to ask your Destination Expert about including this activity into your schedule.



Daniela Vaca


There’s always so much to see and do in the Galapagos Islands! This natural paradise is teeming with incredible landscapes, beaches, vegetation, animals, and so much more! Nevertheless, most of the breathtaking action happens out there, in the Galapagos National Park!

To access the park, you need to be accompanied by a certified naturalist guide at all times during your excursions, which gives you only two options to explore it: staying at one of the multiple expedition vessels that sail in the archipelago, or book a day tour! Each one of these options has its specific perks and advantages!

We invite you to follow along in this blog to find out how to experience this magical paradise and how a Galapagos land-based itinerary might be precisely what you need!

Exterior of the Finch Bay, Galapagos Islands
A spectacular view of the exterior of the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel

How to Experience the Galapagos Option #1: A sea-based Galapagos tour with island stops

All islands in the Galapagos National Park are uninhabited to preserve their pristine and unique environment and fauna, so there’s no other way to stay overnight apart from an expedition vessel. This option instantly grants you access to more visitor sites in the Galapagos National Park, species, islands, and the company of an expert guide that will follow you along the whole way. Every day, you’ll disembark on a different island where you’ll hike, enjoy fascinating aquatic activities, and learn more about this paradise. It’s worth noting that a sea-based option grant guests the opportunity to visit some places that can’t be accessed by staying on land (due to how far away certain visitor sites are).

This option allows you to go further than any day tour can take you. Still, if you’re prone to seasickness (please note: there are “seasickness proof” cruises in the archipelago that help abate this symptom) or you just simply wish to enjoy a more relaxed stay, you can always opt for a Galapagos land-based tour!

All-in-all, the best part about having these two options is the fact that guests can link them together if they wish!

How to Experience the Galapagos Option #2: A Galapagos land-based tour

Staying on land is an option that caters to those more interested in experiencing the archipelago at their own pace. Picture this: you’re lounging near the pool, with an astonishing view of the ocean, with a nice drink in hand, before heading into town to soak in the local island life! You can choose how you fill your Galapagos land-based itinerary!

You can book Day Tours to nearby islands in the Galapagos National Park all over town, but if you can spare the challenging task of comparing perks, prices, and all the back and forth, do it! Some hotels in the Galapagos Islands work with third-party providers to offer their guests these services.

At the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, we own and operate a private yacht, the Sea Lion. With room for only 20 lucky guests, multiple guides for intimate excursion groups, and comfortable spaces, you’ll never feel cramped! Plus, we serve hot meals (not many day tour yachts do this), have the necessary equipment for you to snorkel or do some coastal exploration. Plus, both our hotel and yacht have the strictest safety protocols for you to enjoy at ease! 

Sea Lion Yacht in North Seymour Island and Las Bachas Beach

If you stay with us, you’ll see that ours is an expedition-focused accommodation! Located in a pedestrian-only neighborhood, the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel sits right in front of the secluded “Los Alemanes” beach (we’re the only hotel with direct access to the beach), which allows our guests to enjoy the beach at any hour of the day! Plus, you won’t have to face crowds at the hotel’s social areas since our hotel has only 27 rooms and plenty of wide-open spaces! We also have a wonderful spa, gym, and spaces for yoga for you to prepare your body for the exploration activities you’ll enjoy or to relax afterward!

We offer tours every day to the lovely islands of:

You just need to approach our Front Desk, and our Expedition Leader will take care of all the details, or you can book one of our programs that includes meals and day tours!

Island-2-Island Hopping

Expand your horizons even further with this incredible option that grants guests the ability to fly from Santa Cruz Island all the way to the largest island of the archipelago that is Isabela. Add to the number of checkmarks that you’ve built up on your Galapagos BIG15 list of iconic species and revel in an even greater amount of majestic views by standing at the rim of one of the world’s largest craters!

Isabel Espinoza

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