Discover the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands, an archipelago of volcanic islands straddling the equator in the Pacific Ocean, are famous for their endemic species and for Charles Darwin’s studies that led to the theory of evolution.

Today, the islands are not only a haven for scientists and researchers but also a paradise for adventure seekers and marine life enthusiasts.

Among the many activities, snorkeling stands out as a must-do, offering a unique opportunity to swim alongside a diverse range of marine life, some of which cannot be found anywhere else on earth.

Below we highlight some of the best snorkeling sites across the Galapagos Islands, including Santa Cruz Island, Bartolome Island, Santa Fe Island, South Plaza Island, and Isabela Island.

It’s worth remembering that many of these snorkeling sites are in the National Park and so can only be visited as part of an official tour (see Our Safaris).


Santa Cruz

Punta Carrion

At the northeastern tip of Santa Cruz Island, Punta Carrion offers snorkelers a gentle introduction to the Galapagos marine life.

The calm and shallow waters of this area, combined with the reefs off the rocky shores, attract an incredible diversity of marine life, including playful sea lions that often accompany snorkelers.


Garrapatera Beach

Garrapatera Beach, on the southeast coast of Santa Cruz is a lesser-known bay that many of our guests enjoy visiting. The clear waters provide an ideal setting for observing sea turtles, rays, and colorful fish in their natural habitat.

On our land-based safaris, guests have the option of biking to this beach from camp (a fun 8km – mostly downhill! – adventure for active families and travelers).


Las Grietas

Las Grietas, a unique geological formation near Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz’ southern coast, is a series of water crevices set between high lava walls. This natural swimming hole offers a magical snorkeling experience as you float through the cool, turquoise waters surrounded by an abundance of marine life.

Note: it can get very crowded, especially at weekends.


Bachas Beach

Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz’s northern coastline is a picturesque spot known for its soft white sand. The shallow waters and the nearby brackish lagoon offer snorkelers the chance to see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and a variety of small fish and sea turtles.

Snorkeling at Bachas beach is often included on our North Seymour safari.

Discover Santa Cruz Island


Bartolome Island

Bartolome Island is famous for its Pinnacle Rock and moon-like volcanic landscapes. The waters around the island are among the clearest in the Galapagos, providing snorkelers with the opportunity to swim with Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles, and colorful tropical fish.

Discover Bartolome Island


Santa Fe Island

Santa Fe offers one of the most picturesque anchorage spots in the Galapagos. Snorkelers can expect to swim with playful sea lions, spotted eagle rays, sea turtles, and schools of tropical fish.

Discover Santa Fe Island


South Plaza Island

The clear waters surrounding South Plaza Island are home to a variety of sharks, rays, and colorful reef fish. The steep cliffs provide a home for numerous seabirds, adding to the snorkeling adventure.

Discover South Plaza Island


Isabela Island

Isabela Island is the largest island in the Galapagos and its waters are usually cooler than the rest of the archipelago due to the ocean currents.


Located just off the coast of Puerto Villamil, Tintoreras is a set of small islets known for their calm, turquoise waters and shallow channels. It’s an ideal spot for snorkeling with white-tipped reef sharks, penguins, sea turtles, marine iguanas and sea lions.

Los Tuneles

Los Tuneles is perhaps the most magical snorkeling site in the Galapagos. This area is characterized by its unique lava formations creating arches and tunnels both above and below the water. Snorkeling in this labyrinth is like entering another world, with opportunities to see penguins, seahorses, rays, turtles, and a myriad of fish species.

Discover Isabela Island


The Galapagos Islands offer some of the best snorkeling spots in the world, where adventurers can get up close with an incredible variety of marine life in pristine waters. Each site has its unique charm and array of species, making snorkeling in the Galapagos a truly unforgettable experience.

For more information on how you can include some of these snorkeling sites in your Galapagos tour, see our personalised Safaris.