What a lot of people don’t know about the Galapagos, is that it’s beaches offer the same sort of variety and beauty that its wildlife do. From long stretches of pristine white sand to hidden coves of black, green and red sand beauties, the beaches of Galapagos are some of the world’s most special. If you’re planning on visiting the islands, make sure you spend some time exploring as many of these top 5 Galapagos beaches.
Gardner Bay, located at the northern end of Espanola Island was voted as one of the top 20 beaches in the world by CNN in 2016 (recently updated to the top 100 beaches). Here, instead of sharing the sand with hordes of sunbathers, you’ll find sea lions sleeping and playing in the shallow waters of this bay. There’s also manta rays, albatross and blue-footed boobies on display. Whether you feel like relaxing on the sand or heading out to kayak, snorkel or dive, Gardner Bay exemplifies everything that is the Galapagos!
Charles Darwin describes his visit to Santiago Island and James Bay in The Voyage of the Beagle. This landing site welcomes us with one of the most outstanding volcanic sites in the Galapagos, with intriguing eroded rock formations that surround a fascinating jet-black sand beach. As opposed to white sand beaches that are made up of churned reef coral, the black sand at James Bay is a result of the erosion over thousands of years of solidified lava flows. James Bay is also the access point to the famous Fur seal Grottos, one of the few places in Galapagos that allow you to see these beautiful marine mammals during a land excursion.
At the geologic center of the Galapagos and with its striking colors, Rabida Island presents a very different look from the other islands around the archipelago. The volcanic rock of the Island is so high in iron content that the rock rusts when exposed to air, turning beaches and soil red. Its reddish beach and cliffs, and steep, sloping volcanic cinder-cones are home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including Flamingos, sea lions and Darwin finches. Visitors to Rabida are greeted by a noisy colony of sea lions that have made its mesmerizing red sand beach their home. A thin bush line behind the beach hides a small hyper-saline lagoon where flamingos are frequently found. Snorkeling along the rocks at the east end of the beach reveals many reef fish common to these waters around Rabida Island in the Galapagos.
Cormorant Point Beach is one of the most peculiar Galapagos beaches due to the distinctive green color of its sand. Located on the Northern side of Floreana Island, the sand at Cormorant Point is rich in olivine crystals, which give it that greenish tint that glitters in the sun. Floreana Island is one of the archipelago’s most colorful with its rich history. Pirates, whalers, convicts, and a small band of somewhat peculiar colonists called this island their home in the past, including a self proclaimed Baroness among them, who chose a Robinson Crusoe’s existence that ended in mystery and death. In Floreana we also find the famous Post Office barrel set up in 1793 by British whalers, to send letters home on passing ships. The tradition continues to this day, simply by dropping a post card into the barrel without a stamp. The catch is you must take a post card from the barrel and see that it gets to the right place. That is how the system began and continues to this day.
Far-removed from the inhabited Islands of the archipelago, Genovesa Island is one of the most exclusive and pristine Islands in Galapagos due to its remote location. On the southern side of the island we find Darwin Bay Beach, set into a collapsed, shielded volcanic crater. It is a bird haven! With soft white sand, guests who visit Darwin Bay can enjoy watching great frigates, red-footed boobies, lava herons and more. It’s a great spot for snorkeling as well, as the nutrient-rich waters attract sea lions, turtles and manta rays. And if you are brave enough, you may even be able to snorkel with sharks along the volcanic inner wall!
While the world’s got plenty of nice beaches, there’s nothing like the unique beauty and wildlife experience of Galapagos beaches. To visit one of these top 5 Galapagos beaches, cruise with us on M/V Evolution or M/Y Grace. To start planning your trip today, simply send us an inquiry below!