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Tortuga Bay

Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos

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Tortuga Bay

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  • Following Charles Binford street to the Tortuga Bay entrance.- Tortuga Bay
  • Tortuga Bay Trailhead.- Tortuga Bay
  • Tortuga Bay Trail.- Tortuga Bay
  • Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) heading out to sea at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) covered in salt from dried ocean water at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Galápagos brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis urinator) at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) swimming at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • A grapsus grapsus crab perched on a marine iguana at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Yellow warbler at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Grapsus grapsus crab at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • An American oystercatcher at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • An American oystercatcher at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Galápagos brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis urinator) floating at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • A Galápagos finch at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Tortuga Bay
  • Great blue heron in Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus Cristatus) at Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
  • Leaving Tortuga Bay on the cobblestone trail.- Tortuga Bay
  • Cacti along the Tortuga Bay Trail.- Tortuga Bay
  • Tortuga Bay.- Tortuga Bay
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Fantastic terrestrial and marine wildlife. Snorkeling and kayaking options.
Cons: 
Limited amenities at the beach.
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Region:
Other,
Congestion: 
Low
Location type: 
Sandy beach
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

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Tortuga Bay is located on the southern coast of Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos, making it convenient walking distance from the largest population center of Puerto Ayora. Given the range of land and sea creatures that can be found at this white sandy beach, it is a must-see destination in the archipelago.

The trail to Tortuga Bay is approximately 3 kilometers, and going by foot is your only option. At the gated entry, all visitors are required to sign in and sign out at the Galápagos Park Service station, which is for the protection of the animals and their natural habitat. Walking the entire path will take you approximately 30 minutes each way, and the beach remains accessible from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For those unfamiliar with the latitude of the Galápagos’, the sun sets near to 6:00 each night all year long because of its close proximity to the equator.

Upon reaching the beach you will see an extensive range of wildlife in the ocean, on the beach, and covering the volcanic rocks on the shoreline and in the air. Some of the many varieties of marine and terrestrial life found at Tortuga Bay include sea turtles, reef and pelagic fish, rays, white-tipped reef sharks, crabs, marine iguanas, frigate birds, pelicans and blue-footed boobies. It is the prevalence of sea turtles at this location that gave name to the beach, with Tortuga being the Spanish word for sea turtle.

In addition to enjoying the wildlife viewing and sandy white beaches, Tortuga Bay is an exceptional destination for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and kayaking. For the protection of the marine animals, these activities are limited to each of the far ends of Tortuga Bay, but this still leaves ample space to enjoy all activities. While snorkel and surf equipment is not available for rent at the beach (bring your own), a $20 kayak rental will score you a three-hour excursion.

Overall, as the Galápagos Islands usually make for a big check on a person’s vacation bucket list, this is certainly a destination where you can also check off many of the top wildlife attractions. From the unique birds and iguanas to swimming with sharks and sea turtles, Tortuga Bay is a truly world-class travel destination. 

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(4 within a 30 mile radius)

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