Tortuga Bay Galapagos (Bahia Tortuga) is a dreamy stretch of white coral sand with clear turquoise waters. It is an easy beach to visit on Santa Cruz island, making a fun day out without hurting your wallet.
One of the best things about Tortuga Bay is that you don’t even need to hire a guide or transport.
The beach is walkable from Puerto Ayora town, and you’ll have complete freedom to explore by yourself.
The Tortuga Bay Galapagos wildlife is varied and plentiful. Visitors can enjoy activities from sunbathing to snorkelling and kayaking. We highly recommend a trip to discover Tortuga Bay beach.
Why is it called
The name chosen for this bay is because the Green Sea Turtles of the Galapagos Islands nest here, it is the ideal place for observing the fauna, mainly sea lions, flamingos, iguanas, and some other species.
Location: Tortuga Bay in the Galapagos Islands, also known as Turtle Beach, is located approximately 50 minutes walking from Puerto Ayora.
Climate: It has 2 seasons, a dry season, from January to May and a rainy season, from June to December. Temperatures range between 18 and 29º C (65º F – 85º F).
Flora: You can find exuberant dry-type vegetation where a species of cactus predominates that is unique in the Galapagos Islands, as well as many other native and endemic species. In this place, you will know a small sample of what the Galapagos has to show you.
Take, for instance, the Galapagos Opuntias. Cactus finches need the flowers, seeds, and fruits of these trees. Its pads and fruits are part of the diet of iguanas and Galapagos tortoises.
Fauna: The sea turtles, who gave the place its name, lay their eggs seasonally, as well as the marine iguanas that you can also find in the place, and birds such as pelicans, Darwin’s finches, mockingbirds and pigeons.
HOW TO GET TO TORTUGA BAY?
Tortuga Bay beach is located on the south coast of Santa Cruz island, just a few kilometres away from Puerto Ayora town.
The Tortuga Bay trailhead starts at the end of Charles Binford Avenue, a few blocks behind the main tourist dock area.
Just follow the path for about a mile and a half (30-45 minutes from the trailhead) to arrive. The trail is paved, flat and easy, leading through an old lava field colonised by Palo Santo trees and Opuntia cacti.
It is a pleasant walk, accompanied by Darwin’s Finches and Galapagos Mockingbirds flitting between the trees, and the melodic tunes of Yellow Warblers. Don’t forget to look to the ground too, where red-throated lava lizards scurry around the dry brush habitat.
It is also possible to take a boat ride to Tortuga Bay beach from the Puerto Ayora docks. The journey takes about 20 minutes at an approximate cost of US$10 per person.
PLAYA BRAVA VS PLAYA MANSA
Tortuga Bay is split into two parts: the angry (brava) beach, and the calm (Mansa) beach.
As you reach the end of the trail arriving in Tortuga Bay, your first sight of white sand will be Playa Brava. The water currents here are very strong and most suitable for surfing. This is a strictly no swimming zone as it can be dangerous.
Playa Mansa is a more protected beach, ideal for swimming or sunbathing. A path leads to the right-hand side through the mangroves for around 20 minutes to reach Playa Mansa, or just follow the beach.
Playa Mansa begins with a peaceful tidal lagoon at the far end of the bay – these calm & protected waters are often a great spot to snorkel with small reef sharks and marine iguanas.
The main Mansa beach is further round to the right from this lagoon. Snorkelling and swimming are also fun at Playa Mansa, and kayaks can also be rented by the hour.