We show you the top 10 ten tourist places in Galapagos, a paradisiacal archipelago of Ecuador made up of thirteen islands of volcanic origin and more than a hundred islets and rocky outcrops.
1- Tortuga Bay in Santa Cruz Island
Starting the list of the best tourist places in the Galapagos, is Bahía Tortuga, also known as Tortuga Bay, a paradisiacal beach with white sands and turquoise waters, so called because it is an important nesting site for the black turtle.
In addition to its scenic beauty, this beach is attractive for the variety of species that can be seen walking on its sands, with colorful crabs, marine iguanas and a variety of birds being sighted frequently. It has an area of rough waters and another of calm waters, the latter, privileged for snorkeling.
2- The Tunnels in Isabela Island
Accessible only through boats that leave from Puerto Villamil, they correspond to a true labyrinth of lava tunnels, which emerge above and below the water, giving home to an impressive biodiversity of species.
The Tunnels are considered among the best places in the archipelago for snorkeling and surface diving, being possible to swim with turtles, sharks, rays and even seahorses. On the rocks, a variety of birds have built their nests, including the exotic blue-footed boobies.
3- Sleeping Lion on San Cristóbal Island
Also known as Kicker Rock, they correspond to two immense volcanic rocks, which rise more than 100 meters above the sea, accessible by boat from Puerto Baquerizo. Its curious name comes from the resemblance to a sleeping lion, when looking at them from afar.
This site is another of the most famous tourist places in the Galapagos for snorkeling and diving, allowing you to swim with manta rays, sharks, sea lions and schools of fish. Its sharp rocks are also home to large colonies of birds, with species such as blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and pelicans living together.
4- Santa Cruz Island Ranches
Although there are breeding centers for giant tortoises on several Galapagos islands, there is no more fascinating alternative than watching them in a state of freedom, an experience that ranches and haciendas allow in the highlands of Santa Cruz.
Some of these ranches are El Chato, Manzanillo and Primicias, with ecological trails, where these immense animals can easily be seen in their natural habitat. It is important to consider that, during the months of June to August, the turtles usually go down to the lowlands of the island to nest, reducing the possibility of observing them.
5- North Seymour Island Trail
The small island of North Seymour is considered one of the best tourist places in Galapagos for bird watching, hosting the largest colony of royal frigate birds in the archipelago, as well as blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls.
The island has only one enabled trail, which, approximately two kilometers long, allows you to explore its arid landscapes, where only small bushes and cacti grow, spotting countless birds and land iguanas along the way.
6- The Lobería in San Cristóbal Island
One of the most photographed corners of the Galapagos is this beautiful beach with coral sands and turquoise waters, so called because of the large number of sea lions that can frequently be seen, resting among the rocks or diving into the sea.
In addition to sea lions, turtles and marine iguanas are common on the beach, along with various types of birds, such as the Maria canary, frigate birds and various species of finches. On the beach, you can also snorkel and, if you are lucky, swim with one of the sea lions.
7- La Escalera Natural Viewpoint on Bartolomé Island
Natural viewpoint located on the top of a hill, more than 100 meters high, from where one of the best-known postcards of the Galapagos is obtained, given by a narrow strip of land that separates the sea into two bays, with the coasts of neighboring Santiago Island as a backdrop and a stone pinnacle rising from one of its ends.
After enjoying the views, it is possible to go down to the beautiful beaches of the island, where it is possible to practice surface diving and snorkeling. The two main species of Bartolomé correspond to the sea turtles, which choose this place as a nesting site, and the graceful Galapagos penguins.
8- Gardner Bay in Española Island
Gardner Bay is another of the wonderful beaches that are hidden in the archipelago, with little more than a kilometer of white sand and turquoise waters, famous for the colonies of sea lions that are usually found resting a few meters from the sea.
Like practically all tourist places in the Galapagos, it is possible to delight the eye with the biodiversity of birds that roam the area, finding three endemic species of Darwin’s finches here.
9- Punta Espinoza in Fernandina Island
Punta Espinoza corresponds to a narrow ledge of lava and sand, which connects the Fernandina volcano with the sea, known for its huge colony of marine iguanas, whose large number sometimes makes it difficult to walk among them.
They coexist with iguanas, penguins, sea lions, crabs and the flightless cormorant, the latter, a species only possible to see in Fernandina and Isabela, of special curiosity, for being the only cormorant that has lost the ability to fly. The surrounding landscape is made up of dark lava fields from the island’s volcano, one of the most active on the planet.
10- Sullivan Bay in Santiago Island
Completing this list of the best tourist places in the Galapagos is Sullivan Bay, home to one of the most exotic natural settings in the archipelago, with impressive solidified lava fields in a wavy shape, resembling a lunar landscape.
A path of approximately one and a half kilometers long, allows you to visit the main places of interest in the Bay, appreciating impressive geological samples, among which are molds of what were once trees, before being calcined by the volcanic eruptions of the island.