Are you planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands and wondering where to explore? The list below will get you covered. Of course, there are many more incredible places to visit beyond the list, but these are the highlights to help you plan your dream Galapagos getaway. From the stunning Tortuga Bay of Santa Cruz to the remote Punta Cormorant home to flamingos and the historic Tagus Cove, here are the coolest places to visit in the Galapagos.
#1 – Tortuga Bay
Santa Cruz Island is one of those places you’ll likely visit in the Galapagos. It’s home to Tortuga Bay, a stunning beach ideal for snorkelling, swimming, and discovering fascinating wildlife species. Tortuga Bay’s remote location makes it stand out from the other beaches in the Galapagos. Plus, you can visit it without a guide, offering an incredible beach getaway experience.
Tortuga Bay is the perfect place for snorkelling in the Galapagos. Thanks to the lush mangroves lining the bay, it attracts colourful little fish that fascinating marine life would feed on, such as iguanas, sea turtles, and white-tipped reef sharks. You can expect to see these animals up close on your snorkelling adventure.
Kayaking is popular in Tortuga Bay, with several establishments offering kayak rentals nearby. Thanks to its calm water, paddling around the bay is easy. Plus, the abundant amount of wildlife will make your kayaking adventure more enjoyable.
The wildlife will be the highlight of your visit to Tortuga Bay. You could stumble upon lizards and different kinds of birds as you walk along the shores. You will also find cactuses believed to be over a hundred years old.
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#2 – Wall of Tears
While the Galapagos is famous for its wildlife and stunning natural landscapes, it’s also home to some historical sites worth checking out, perfect for those seeking the coolest places to visit here. One such attraction is the Wall of Tears or El Muro de las Lágrimas in Spanish. It is a historic site about 6 km from Villamil Town and a popular hiking spot in the Galapagos Islands. The path will take you towards the town centre, passing along the Villamil cemetery, containing the graves of some of the islands’ first settlers.
Halfway through the hike is a lovely white sand beach surrounded by beautiful lagoons hosting all four mangrove species native to the Galapagos. Your walk continues towards the arid area, where you’ll see the Wall of Tears. The area is close to the site of the penal colony built on the island between 1944 and 1959.
According to history, prisoners were forced to construct the wall as a punishment. The Wall of Tears is around 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide, running over a length of 300 feet. Made entirely by hand, the walls consist of sharp lava rocks. The hard labour in building the walls has resulted in many deaths, thus the name “wall of tears.”
#3 – Punta Cormorant
Cormorant Point lies along southern Floreana Island, one of the coolest spots in the Galapagos Islands. It’s a collection of volcanic crystals coming out of the Earth’s mantle, consisting of silica, aluminium, magnesium, and iron – all these are the reason behind the sand’s unusual colour.
Not far inland, you’ll see a lake home to coastal and migratory birds, including abundant Galapagos Flamingos, making it a perfect spot to admire these beautiful birds. These birds migrate from one island to another to seek food but will not attempt to fly towards mainland Ecuador. However, their ancestors originally came from the Caribbean.
Punta Cormorant has a walking trail leading to a white sand beach, considered a significant nesting site for sea turtles. Be sure you avoid walking close to the water since sting rays may lurk in the sand and can be dangerous if you accidentally step on them. Head to the beach to spot sea turtles up close and other fascinating wildlife plunging into the water. If you’re lucky, you can even spot small reef sharks along the shoreline searching for food!
#4 – La Lobería
Nestled along the western shores of Floreana Island is La Loberia, a gorgeous beach that locals love to visit for its fantastic atmosphere. It also has a walking path of about half a mile that takes you towards a National Park, passing over incredible rock formations and beautiful sandy beaches. For those looking to tour the Galapagos Islands, this is an excellent place to visit.
La Loberia is famous for its resident sea lions. Here, you’ll see them sunbathing along the shore and not bothered by the presence of humans. La Loberia is also an ideal spot for hitting the waves. The area has several places to surf, snorkel, and swim. But be sure to stay far from the sea lions. Alpha males tend to be territorial and can get aggressive if threatened.
The isolated stretch of sand is a fun place to hang around. Aside from the sea lions, you can spot other wild animals, such as iguanas, frigates, lava lizards, and other fascinating creatures. La Loberia beach is free to visit. However, no permanent facilities are on site, and you must bring your gear if you plan to snorkel.
#5 – Tagus Cove
Lying along the north-western coast of Isabela, Tagus Cove is a historical site made famous by Charles Darwin in 1835. Its name came from the British ship that visited the Galapagos Islands in 1800 in search of giant tortoises. The cove has a fascinating history, believed to be a hideaway for pirates and whalers.
Tagus Cove is a fun place to enjoy activities like snorkelling and hiking along its scenic trails with lush mangroves. The walk is pretty scenic, taking you towards Darwin Lake, a magnificent crater lagoon filled with saltwater. Walking is short but steep, and you can marvel at the stunning views as you get close to the ridge.
Tagus Cove offers incredible snorkelling opportunities. Expect to see different fish and marine life, from turtles to sharks. Some cruises will take you here on a panga boat ride, and there’s also the opportunity to see some fascinating wildlife up close.