Between the white sand, the black rocks, the turquoise water, or the pink flamingos, Las Bachas offers strikingly colorful and contrasted views. This wild site, located north of the Santa Cruz Island, is only accessible by sea. The shallow seabed close to the beach lends itself nicely to beautiful explorations using fins, mask, and snorkel. The program includes green turtles, rays, parrotfish, and even some silvertip sharks.

Snorkeling with sea turtle in Las Bachas, Galapagos

How to get there?

Las Bachas beach is located on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, facing Baltra Island. Although Santa Cruz is an inhabited island, the site, located in a protected and wild zone of the island, cannot be reached by road. It is accessible, however, either by one-day boat trip from Puerto Ayora (the tour commonly offered includes a visit of North Seymour Island and a stop at Las Bachas, costing $200-$250/person – equipment included), or via multi-day naturalist cruise, often with a visit of Las Bachas included. Make sure when booking your boat-trip or cruise, that a stop on the site is scheduled. Be careful, excursions are not always available. They are only organized on certain days and have a limited number of spaces.

Water entrance

Enter the water directly from the sand beach, close to the rocks.

Las Bachas beach snorkeling map, Santa Cruz

Exploration

The recommended snorkeling area covers the tip of the black rocks, on the western extremity of the beach.

When leaving the beach, you will be swimming through a shallow area (0.5-1.5m/1,5-5ft). The seabed is of no great interest here but is an ideal place to observe close up butterflyfish, parrotfish, and dusky wrasses. If you scan the rocks carefully, you may also spot numerous large-banded blennies, which are very ubiquitous in the Galapagos.

Shark snorkeling in Las Bachas, Galapagos

As you swim away further from the beach close to the rocks, the height of the water will gradually increase, and the underwater landscape will diversify. It is there, in the rocky areas at medium depth (2-4m/6-12ft), that the underwater life is most abundant.

It is in this calm water that Galápagos green turtles also come and feed on the algae-covered rocks. Very common on this site (Las Bachas is an important egg-laying site for these species), it is easy to get up close and take pictures of them.

Butterflyfish in Las Bachas, Galapagos

Throughout your exploration, you will also be able to encounter large schools of smallmouth grunts – endemic species in the Galápagos Islands, Mexican hogfish, or even big porcupinefish, that hide under the rocks when you get too close. It is also not uncommon to see a silvertip shark swimming along the rocky point or above the sand.
Offering easy access directly from the beach and being a rather shallow spot, this snorkeling spot is perfectly suitable for beginners and for children.

Restaurant and accommodation

Las Bachas is a beach located on the uninhabited area of the Santa Cruz Island and is only accessible by the sea. Food and beverages are taken care by cruise and boat-trip operators. Bring water with you to the beach.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaParque Nacional Galápagos
  • Maximum depth12ft/4m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsTour or cruise price
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.