Tortuga Bay

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, Galápagos. Simply AMAZING!!!

A beautiful long white sandy beach where iguanas and sea lions rest, with a large blue sea of impressive marine fauna in its interior.

Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos

Tortuga Bay is considered one of the best beaches in the world, and what an honor that it is located in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

In this post I will tell you everything you need to know to enjoy this paradise.

Are you traveling to the enchanted islands?

Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos

Information about Tortuga Bay beach

Tortuga Bay beach, or in spanish Bahí Tortuga, is one of the most visited beaches in Galapagos.

Here are the most important information for your visit:

Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos

Where is it located?

Tortuga Bay is located in the southern part of Santa Cruz, about 1 hour walk from Puerto Ayora. Remember that before entering the trail that takes you to the beach, you must register.

Access is free.


Like all of Ecuador, here you will find two seasons: the hot and rainy season from January 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).

Personally, we traveled in September and found it to be a good time of the year, because unlike the beaches of continental Ecuador, which do seem cold to us in this month of the year (we are from the coast part of Ecuador), we encountered a warm but not sweltering climate.

Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos


The beach opend from 06h00 to 17h00, Monday to Sunday.

What to take to Tortuga Bay?

It all depends on how you are going to make the trip.

If you are adventurous, you will take a long walk along the trail that leads to the beach.

It’s a 45-minute hike, and if it’s a nice day, under an intense sun.

So I recommend you to bring the following:

  • Hiking shoes
  • Cap or hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Beach slippers
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Cash
  • Snacks (there are no food outlets)
  • Trash collection bag
  • Snorkeling gear

Make sure everything fits in a small and comfortable backpack. Remember that the hike is round trip.

Unless you take a boat from Playa Mansa to the dock in Puerto Ayora.

Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos

Tortuga Bay beach attractions

Remember that the Galapagos Islands are a National Park and Marine Reserve, and therefore, in most places like Tortuga beach there are NO tourist facilities selling food or handicrafts.

The trip to Tortuga Bay is beautiful.

You can do it without a guide, but I recommend that if it is your first time in this place, you do it with a certified guide because he explains every detail of the area and you will learn more about the islands.

Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos

Tortuga Bay Trail

The trail is about 2.5 km long and the walk takes approximately 45 – 50 minutes. 45 – 50 minutes. It all depends on your physical condition.

On the way you will see the vegetation of the area, which is a dry forest, with super tall endemic cactus (Opuntias), palo santo, and animal species such as mockingbirds, finches, lizards, endemic frogs, among others.

Sendero Tortuga Bay

Playa Brava and Playa Mansa

Tortuga Bay has two beaches: Playa Brava and Playa Mansa.

When the trail ends, the first beach you reach is Playa Brava.

You will be able to touch the white sand, similar to flour or talcum powder, which slips between your feet. And from a distance, you will be able to see the immense turquoise blue sea, with strong currents in this area (hence its name).

It is not recommended to go into the sea at this beach, much less when there are red flags. Or yo can do it very carefully if you know how to swim.

Mostly here you will see experienced surfers riding the incredible waves that form at this spot.

See also:

Playa Brava, Tortuga Bay
Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos

Continuing the tour to the north, you will begin to see a mangrove zone and an area where marine iguanas sunbathe.

This is the beginning of Playa Mansa.

In this first stretch of mangrove, you will be able to see blue sharks (small sharks), colorful fish or sea turtles.

Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz, Galápagos

This area is full of mangroves, small trails and a calm water bay.

Here you can swim in the crystal clear water, snorkel or kayak. Kayak rentals are $15 per person per hour (2021 costs).

You can also lay on the sand and sunbathe.

In this area of the beach there is a kind of hangers where tourists can leave their belongings. And if you are afraid to leave them (as we were), I remind you that Galapagos is super safe.

So don’t worry about it.

Playa Mansa, Tortuga Bay
Playa Mansa, Tortuga Bay

How to get to Tortuga Bay?

As we mentioned before, there are two ways to get to Playa Tortuga Bay:

1. Walking from Puerto Ayora. You can take the path that is two blocks from the boardwalk, at the end of Charles Binford Avenue, to the beginning of the trail (about 10 minutes). From there follow the trail to Playa Brava (45 minutes).

2. At the Puerto Ayora malecon, you can pay for a boat to take you to Playa Mansa. The tour lasts approximately 20 minutes and costs $25 per person (2021 costs).

They take you in the morning and pick you up at noon.

Tortuga Bay Galapagos Hotel

Lodging is in Puerto Ayora. Here are a few options:

Santa Cruz, Islas Galápagos

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