The Galapagos Islands stand out on many lists and have many names. Darwin’s Playground tops the charts for its wildlife, fragile eco-system, striking landscapes, and the intriguing circumstances that brought both the creatures and the early settlers to the archipelago. One aspect of Galapagos Islands travel that is often overlooked is the tropical beaches found along their shores.
The 2018 World Travel Awards have helped to set matters straight-The Galapagos Islands won South America’s Leading Beach Destination award from a list of contenders that included Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Mancora in Peru, and San Andres Island in Colombia. Keep reading for the best beaches in the archipelago for sun lovers and intrepid adventurers.
Tortuga Bay-Santa Cruz
Tortuga Bay is a perennial beach highlighted in international publications for its stunning beauty, windswept stretches of sand, and its surfing, kayaking, and wildlife.
After a short walk from the trailhead at the edge of Puerto Ayora, the first of two beaches comes into sight where surfers take to the waves early in the morning, and beach lovers relax during time away from the cold winds of home.
Further down the coast, a second beach welcomes those eager to explore the mangroves along the coast by kayak where sea lions, rays, and sea turtles swim alongside, or beneath, the boats.
The protective cove is home to a marine iguana colony, and many of the island’s birds, including finches, fly overhead or nest in the brush behind the waters of the coast.
Punta Carola-San Cristobal
Another favorite of sun lovers, surfers, and outdoor adventurers is Punta Carola, north of the main town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno-where government buildings and airline offices are edged out by some of the islands best restaurants.
Also known as Lovers Beach, the small, sandy cove is less trafficked than others closer to town, and sea lions are friendly companions for those who make the trek. It’s a great place to kick back, unwind, watch the sunset, and enjoy the tropical breeze in a far off destination where people and nature walk hand in hand.
One of the most popular forms of Galapagos Islands travel is by boat, and many cruises and day trip from Santa Cruz island stop at La Rabida island. The uninhabited island is known for its surreal red beach, where sea lions greet visitors along a stunning swath of sand.
It isn’t a typical spot for laying down a towel and soaking up the sun but has its charms none the less.
Green Beach-Floreana Island
Floreana Island is the site of one of the earliest settlements in the Galapagos Islands. The people who lived here quickly moved on for the friendlier confines of the neighboring San Cristobal. Today the island has the smallest population of the inhabited islands in the archipelago.
The green beach is one of the island’s most visited attractions. Its olivine crystals shine in the sun against the turquoise backdrop of the tropical waters. Nearby a lagoon is often the spot to find flamingos searching for shrimp in the shallow waters. A short walk away takes you to a white sand beach where sea turtles lay their eggs during their nesting season.
Keep an eye on the open waters off the shore, like rays, dolphins, and sometimes sharks swim nearby to feed.
Puerto Villamil Beach, Isabela Island
Puerto Villamil Beach in front of the small portside town of the same name on Isabela Island is a favorite and comes in at the top of the list for Galapagos Islands travel. Surfing, a long stretch of sand, open-air bars, hammocks, and wildlife including penguins are but a few of the reasons to spend a lazy morning or afternoon here during a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
The largest and one of the youngest of the islands, Isabela was the home to a large settlement of early settlers. Today, it’s a favorite of those who live in and visit the islands as it is less crowded than the other populated islands and retains its remote charm.
Happy Gringo Travel specializes in creating tailor-made trips to the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador that work with your budget, style of travel, and interests. For more information about destinations for sun lovers in and around the country, contact a member of our team to start making plans for your next adventure.