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How to Hike to Tortuga Bay Galapagos Beach

Distance: 4.6 mi    Elevation: 134 ft.    Difficulty: Easy

We headed to Tortuga Bay in the afternoon after all the planned activities with Galapagos Alternative. It was a nice, free activity that you can take at your own pace. It was also not just another tourist spot. We saw a lot of the locals hang out here!

Overall, the flat terrain is an easy walk, but it is LONG! (Tips for your hike are at the bottom of the post).

We saw a lot of giant cactuses that looked like trees and discovered that they are the only opuntia cactus species that can grow like that. They hold a lot of water and can grow directly on volcanic rock. They are the habitat for the cactus finch.
Tortuga Bay Galapagos Islands.Pin
Hike to Tortuga Bay Ecuador.Pin
Once you reach the end of the pathway you pour out into a beautiful beach. This portion of the beach is actually protected and is a no-swimming section, but we did see several swimmers and surfers.
Tortuga Bay Galapagos Islands.Pin
Tortuga Bay Ecuador.Pin
Tortuga Bay Ecuador.Pin
Tortuga Bay Galapagos Islands.Pin
It was so tempting to stop, but we decided to be good law abiding citizens and headed another 20 minutes down to the cove where you’re allowed to snorkel and swim.
Tortuga Bay Galapagos Islands.Pin
Tortuga Bay is a spot where people have seen white tip reef sharks and occasionally tiger sharks, but when we tried snorkeling, the water was murky and all the fish were chased away from all the activity earlier in the day.
Snorkeling at Tortuga Bay Santa Cruz Galapagos Islands.Pin
Marine Iguana - Galapagos Animals.Pin
Galapagos Marine Iguana.Pin
We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out along the beach taking photos of marine iguanas and various shore birds. I’m not much of a bird watcher, but it’s funny how going to a different country can make you look at everything with awe and wonder. I even spent a good amount of time capturing some of the birds that we apparently have back in the States. That’s what I get for not knowing my birds. :P

Check out these teeny tiny crabs!
Tiny Crabs at Santa Cruz Galapagos Islands.Pin
Tiny Crabs at Santa Cruz Galapagos Islands.Pin
Tortuga Bay Ecuador.
Tortuga Bay Ecuador.Pin
Marine Iguana - Galapagos Animals.Pin
Marine Iguana - Galapagos Animals.Pin
Galapagos Iguana.Pin
These sand dunes are the highest part of the beach and are where green marine tortoises bury their eggs in the sand.
Galapagos Marine Iguana - Galapagos Animals.Pin

Lava Gulls:
Lava Gull - Galapagos Birds.Pin
Lava Gull - Galapagos Birds.Pin
Sanderling - Galapagos Birds.Pin
The brown pelican:
Brown Pelican - Galapagos Birds.Pin
Brown Pelican - Galapagos Birds.Pin
Brown Pelican - Galapagos Birds.Pin
Darwin’s finches. These little guys are responsible for Darwin’s theory of evolution!
Charles Darwin Finches.Pin
Darwins FInches.Pin
Charles Darwin Finches - Galapagos Birds.Pin
Darwins Finches.Pin
Great Blue Heron:
Great Blue Heron - Galapagos Birds.Pin
Great Blue Herons - Galapagos Birds.Pin
Tortuga Bay Ecuador.Pin
All photos above were taken with a Canon 5D Mark III, 35 mm / 1.4L, and 70-200mm / 2.8L lens.

Tips for your excursion at Tortuga Bay Galapagos Beach:
  • Trail length: 2500 m (1.56 miles)
  • Hours of Operation – 6 AM-6 PM
  • The entrance is located just on the city’s outskirts and is definitely walkable (we did). If you’re not up for the extra walk, you can take a short cab ride there.
  • Must register at the gate so they can keep track of people entering and leaving.
  • Wear sunscreen and bring lots of water (see all our favorite travel water bottles here). There isn’t much shade on the way there.
  • Go earlier in the day if you want to snorkel. If it’s later, don’t bother taking your snorkeling gear.
  • You can even rent kayaks in the cove, but they have no set schedule when they’re there. You either see them, or you don’t. Gotta love foreign countries!

Check out 13 Things to do in the Galapagos Islands here.

What’s your favorite thing to do at the beach? 

xoxo estherJacob

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Alison Pirtle

    Ohhh the Galapagos Islands. So gorgeous. I want to go SOOOO BAD.

    1. esther julee

      I think everyone should have it on their travel list!! :) Especially if you love animals. There’s so many unique animals that you get to see in their natural habitat. Usually the only place I see animals at all is in a zoo.

  2. I love all the pictures of the birds! I especially love the pelican on the sign…awesome shot!

  3. Amy

    as ALWAYS i am blown away by your photographs…seriously so stunning! i love the bird on the sign! :)

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