We have had the opportunity to visit some beaches in South and Central America. But there are no words to describe our arrival at Tortuga Bay beach in Santa Cruz, Galapagos.
A lovely long white sandy beach where iguanas and sea lions rest, surrounded by a vast blue sea teeming with amazing marine species.
Tortuga Bay is thought to be one of the best beaches in the world, and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador are lucky to have it.
In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to enjoy this paradise.
Traveling to Galapagos?
Information about Tortuga Bay beach
Tortuga Bay beach, or in spanish Bahía Tortuga, is one of the most popular beaches in Galapagos.
Here are the most important information for your visit:
Where is it located?
Tortuga Bay is located in southern Santa Cruz, about an hour’s walk from Puerto Ayora.
Before accessing the trail that leads to the shore, registration is required.
Beach access is free.
Galapagos, like the rest of Ecuador, has two seasons: the hot and rainy season from December to May, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F).
And the dry season, which runs from June to December and ranges from 17°C to 21°C (62°F to 70°F).
We visited in September, and the weather was great. Not too cold and not too hot.
This does not occur on mainland Ecuador’s beaches, which are cold in September (particularly for us coast residents).
Also read: Best time to visit Galapagos Islands
The beach opend from 06h00 to 17h00, Monday to Sunday.
What should you bring to Tortuga Bay?
It all depends on how you want to get to the beach.
If you are feeling brave, you can take a long walk down the road that goes to the beach.
It’s a 45-minute hike in the sun if the weather is favorable.
Unless you want to skip the walk and pay for a boat taxi from the Puerto Ayora dock to Playa Mansa (round trip).
So I suggest you bring the following:
- Hiking shoes
- Cap or hat
- Water bottle
- Beach slippers
- Snacks (there are no food outlets)
- Trash collection bag
- Snorkeling gear
Make sure everything fits in a tiny, comfortable backpack. Keep in mind that if you decide to go on foot, the tour is a round trip.
Want to visit another beach in Santa Cruz? El Garrapatero beach
Tortuga Bay beach attractions
Before embarking on this journey, keep in mind that the Galapagos Islands are a National Park and Marine Reserve; thus, there are no tourist facilities offering food or handicrafts in most spots, including Tortuga Beach.
Traveling to Tortuga Bay is a scenic adventure.
You can do it without a guide, but if it’s your first time in this location, I recommend you do it with a certified guide so you can learn more about the islands and every aspect of the area.
Tortuga Bay Trail
The route is roughly 2.5 kilometers long and takes 45 to 50 minutes to walk.
It all depends on your physical state.
Along the route, you will view the area’s vegetation, which is a dry forest with extremely tall indigenous cactus (Opuntias), palo santo, and animal species like as mockingbirds, finches, lizards, and endemic frogs, among others.
Playa Brava and Playa Mansa
There are two beaches in Tortuga Bay: Playa Brava and Playa Mansa.
Playa Brava is the first beach you come across as the route ends.
You’ll be able to feel the white sand, which feels like flour or talcum powder that slides between your toes.
And from a distance, you will be able to see the vast, turquoise-colored ocean with strong currents (hence the name “Playa Brava“).
At this beach, especially when there are red flags, swimming is not advised. Alternatively, if you know how to swim, you may do it very cautiously.
Only the most experienced surfers will be able to ride the enormous waves that occur here.
As you continue your journey to the north, you will notice a mangrove zone and an area where marine iguanas sunbathe.
This marks the start of Playa Mansa.
You may spot blue sharks (small sharks), colorful fish, or sea turtles in this first stretch of mangrove.
This location is rich in mangroves, little pathways, and a calm water bay.
Here you may kayak, snorkel, or swim. Kayak rentals cost $15 per person per hour (costs in 2021).
You may also sunbathe on the sand.
There are hangers in this section of the beach where travelers may store their stuff.
And if you are hesitant to leave them (as we were), I would like to remind you that Galapagos is extremely secure.
So don’t worry about it.
How to get to Tortuga Bay?
As we mentioned before, there are two ways to get to Tortuga Bay beach:
1) Taking a walk from Puerto Ayora. You may walk two blocks from the boardwalk at the end of Charles Binford Avenue to the trailhead (approximately ten minutes).
From there, take the trail to Playa Brava (45 minutes).
2) You may pay for a taxi-boat to carry you directly to Playa Mansa from the dock at Puerto Ayora. The trip lasts around 20 minutes and costs $25 per person.
They drop you off in the morning and pick you up at lunchtime.
Tortuga Bay Galapagos Hotel
Lodging is in Puerto Ayora. Here are some few options: