King Angelfish, Galápagos Islands

Galapagos Islands’ Best Snorkeling Sites – No Cruise Required

This is the third article of a three-part series about the Galapagos Islands’ best snorkeling sites, to help you plan your dream vacation.

The previous two parts of this special series about the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands focused on the Eastern / Central and Western parts of the archipelago.

But if you suffer from extreme seasickness that prevents you from even taking a day cruise (let alone a multi-day cruise), you won’t be left out of the action. You will still be able to explore the Galapagos’ underwater world by snorkeling.

On each of the major islands, there are sites worthy of a snorkeling excursion, with no guide needed. Each of these islands is connected by air flights, thus allowing you to avoid taking the local ferries.


San Cristobal Island

Near Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the main town on this island and the capital of Galapagos Province, are several beaches suitable for swimming and snorkeling: Playa de Oro, Playa de los Marinos and Playa El Cañón. A bit further on, though, are cleaner, more tranquil spots for underwater exploration.

Playa Mann

Playa Mann is located just west of downtown Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and Playa de Oro. This white beach of crushed shells fringes clear waters perfect for snorkeling. This is also a wonderful spot to catch the sunset.

La Lobería

A great site to observe myriads of tropical fish, rays, sea turtles and – as its name suggests – lots of sea lions. On the coral-sand beach you’ll see marine iguanas, finches and other birds. La Lobería is 10 minutes from the airport, southeast of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. You can walk there or take a taxi.

Punta Tijeretas

Punta Tijeretas is at the foot of Cerro Tijeretas, 3.5 kilometers (two miles) from Puerto Baquerizo. If you are a strong swimmer, you can snorkel with sea lions and tropical fish. Also, take time to enjoy the fantastic views of León Dormido rock from atop the hill.

Punta Carola

This famous golden beach is another place to snorkel with sea lions and marine iguanas as well as other marine life. Follow Avenida Alsacio Northía northward from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno; also accessible by trail from Cerro Tijeretas.


Santa Cruz Island

Tortuga Bay

This paradisaical bay has two beaches. The trail emerges at Playa Brava, which has strong currents. Walk to your right up the beach until you come to a small cove, which is named Playa Mansa. In these tranquil waters, you can see sea turtles, sea lions, rays and many colorful fish. Located about five kilometers (three miles) from downtown Puerto Ayora (45-60 minutes walking).

Las Grietas

These narrow channels are a delightful place to check out white-tipped sharks and a variety of tropical fish. To arrive to the trail to Las Grietas, you will have to take a water taxi across Puerto Ayora’s Academy Bay (about five minutes).


Isabela Island

Concha de Perla

Concha de Perla is a small lagoon edged by a narrow beach backed by mangroves. Within its calm waters lie wonderful creatures like chocolate chip starfish, rays, sea horses and lots of fish. You may even bump into sea turtles, white-tipped sharks, sea lions or even a penguin! The 250-meter (820-foot) trail to Concha de Perla is midways between the port and the town of Puerto Villamil. This is a popular spot, so go early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.


Did we miss any Galapagos Island sites for incredible snorkeling? Tell us about it in the comments below!


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Photo credit: Derek Keats

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