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With its white sand, black rocks, turquoise water and pink flamingos, Las Bachas offers strikingly colorful scenery. This wild site, located north of Santa Cruz Island, is only accessible by sea. The shallow seabed close to the beach is visited by green sea turtles, rays, parrotfish, and some whitetip reef sharks.

Snorkeling with sea turtle in Las Bachas, Galapagos
Green sea turtles are very common at this location.

How to go snorkeling at Las Bachas?

Las Bachas beach is located on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, in front of 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 day boat trip from Puerto Ayora (the tour commonly offered includes a visit of North Seymour Island and a stop at Las Bachas, and costs $200-$250 pp.- equipment included), or via a naturalist cruise including a stop in Las Bachas.

Las Bachas beach snorkeling map, Santa Cruz

How to get into the water to snorkel Las Bachas?

Enter the water directly from the sand beach, near the rocks.

Las Bachas snorkeling tips and recommendations

The recommended snorkeling area covers the rocky point at the western tip of the beach.

From the beach, you will first swim in a shallow area (0.5-1.5m/1,5-5ft). The seabed is poor but it is a good location to spot butterflyfish, parrotfish, and dusky wrasses. If you closely look at the rocks, you may also spot large-banded blennies, which are very common in the islands.

Shark snorkeling in Las Bachas, Galapagos
A whitetip reef shark in Las Bachas.

Swimming further away from the beach, the depth will gradually increase, and the underwater landscape become more diverse. It is in these rocky areas (2-4m/6-12ft) that sea life is more abundant.

You will probably encounter here Galápagos green turtles feeding on the algae-covered rocks. Very common at this spot (Las Bachas is an important nesting site for this species), they are not shy and it is easy to take pictures of them.

Butterflyfish in Las Bachas, Galapagos
A threebanded butterflyfish noted in the rocks.

Snorkeling the area, you may also spot large schools of smallmouth grunts, Mexican hogfish, as well as large porcupinefish sheltering under the rocks when you get too close. It is also frequent to spot whitetip reef sharks near the rocky point or in the sandy areas.

Offering easy access directly from the beach and being a rather shallow spot, Las Bachas is suitable for beginners and for children.

Restaurant and accommodation nearby

Las Bachas is a beach located in an uninhabited area of Santa Cruz Island and is only accessible by the sea. Food and beverages are provided by cruise and day trip operators.

 

  • 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.