Galapagos beaches are among the most beautiful attractions of the Galapagos Islands. From pure white to golden sand, and sometimes even green, Galapagos beaches offer the visitor gorgeous views of the ocean, varied coastal wildlife, as well as an opportunity to swim and relax. Famous large beaches such as Gardner Bay on Isla Espanola or Tortuga Bay Galapagos are great places to start your beach adventure, but there are also many smaller beaches that are just as interesting around the islands.
One of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos is Gardner Bay on Espanola Island. This beautiful stretch of white beach and turquoise water is one of the few places in the Galapagos archipelago where tourists are free to explore, within limits. Your guide will accompany you to the beach, but will wait while you swim, snorkel, and explore the beach. The wildlife on the Galapagos Islands is one of the biggest attractions, and Gardner Bay is an excellent place to interact with local animals.
There is a colony of friendly sea lions that inhabit the beach, and not only can you join them in sunbathing on the warm sand, it is also possible to swim with the sea lions. Just be careful to avoid any bull sea lions that may be around, as they can be aggressive. In the clear waters you can snorkel and swim along with manta rays and spotted eagle rays along with sea turtles and even some white-tipped reef sharks. There are several species of birds that you can see at Gardner Bay, including three species of finches and some very friendly mockingbirds, who are so bold that they may perch on your shoulder. You may also be lucky enough to spot some turtle nests with tiny baby turtles newly hatched.
On Santa Cruz Island, the most popular destination in the archipelago and home of the largest human settlement, Puerto Ayora, a very popular beach is Tortuga Bay Galapagos. The beautiful white sand beach here is about an hour's walk from Puerto Ayora, but though the journey is a bit long, it is well worth it. Visitors to Tortuga Bay Galapagos will find themselves on a secluded beach with few tourists, magnificent in its tropical beauty. Here you can sun yourself as well as swim, though be cautious of the strong undertow. Sea lions, marine iguanas and a great variety of birds make their home at the beach and the neighboring shallow salt lagoon. Surfers will be able to find waves here, as well as a calmer area at the west end of the beach to go snorkeling.
Although Tortuga Bay is the most famous beach on Santa Cruz Island, there are some smaller beaches on the island that are even more secluded, such as Conway Beach and Punta Estrada. On the other islands of the Galapagos, there are unique beaches like the dark lava rocks of Playa Negra on Floreana Island, or the olive green sand of Punta Cormorant, where pink flamingos, finches, and flycatchers flock. Other popular beaches include Playa Ochoa on San Cristobal, Playa Espumilla on Marchena, and Playa Bahia on Genovesa Island.