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If the small Pinzón Island (also called Duncan Island) is not one of the most popular in the Galápagos, it offers some of the best snorkeling in the archipelago. If you have the chance to approach its shore (it is not allowed to land on the island without a special permit), do not hesitate a second to wear your mask and swim fins and jump in the water! Below the surface, you will encounter many sharks, turtles and sea lions, as well as huge shoals of tropical fish.

Snorkeling with whitetip sharks in Pinzon Island

How to get to Pinzón Island for snorkeling?

Pinzón Island is located approximately 10 kilometers West of Santa Cruz Island. Pinzón is uninhabited and accessible only by day boat tours from Puerto Ayora or Baltra (about $130-$180 per person), or via multi-day naturalist cruises – some cruises including snorkeling stops at Pinzón in their itineraries. Pinzón Island has no visitor sites and a special permit is required to land on the island. Make sure when booking your tour or cruise that snorkeling stops in Pinzón are included.

Pinzon Island snorkeling map, Galapagos

How to get into the water?

It is not allowed to land on Pinzón without a special permit. You will enter the water directly from the boat.

Pinzón snorkeling tips and recommendations

The best snorkeling area in Pinzón extends along the northeastern coast of the island. It encompasses a sheltered and shallow bay, and a small islet laying just a few dozen meters from the main island. Depending on sea conditions and instructions from the National Park, the snorkeling session can be moved to a nearby area around Pinzón.

Snorkeling with Galapagos sea turtles in Pizon Island

On this spot, the seabed alternates between sand (particularly between the coast and the islet) and rocks covered with different kinds of seaweed (↕1-4m / 3-12ft). Pinzón offers fantastic Galápagos marine life watching opportunities. Along its coast, you’ll encounter many sea turtles, feeding on the seaweed, but also groups of whitetip sharks resting in the shadows, surrounded by hundreds of tiny blacktip cardinalfish. Sea lions, very playful, regularly join the visitors, and it is also possible to come face to face with Galápagos penguins, especially during winter months. King angelfish, schools of blue-barred parrotfish and razor surgeonfish … The aggregation of sea life around Pinzón offers a fabulous show, only matched by few other snorkeling spots in the archipelago.

School of parrotfish in Pinzon Island

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Rabida is an uninhabited island, entirely natural, and protected by the Galápagos National Park. Tours generally includes lunch and refreshments served on board. All multi-day cruises are full board.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Protected areaParque Nacional Galápagos
  • Maximum depth18ft/6m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsSnorkeling tour (from $130pp.) or cruise

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

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.