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Pinzón Island (also called Duncan Island) is one of the best snorkeling locations you can access with day tours from Santa Cruz. In the sandy channel between the main island and a small islet, you will encounter many sharks, turtles, sea lions, and large shoals of tropical fish.

Whitetip sharks in Pinzon Island
Whitetip sharks are found in numbers in Pinzon, where they are mostly seen resting on the seafloor.

How to get to Pinzón Island snorkeling location?

Pinzón Island is located approximately 6 miles west of Santa Cruz Island. Pinzón is uninhabited and accessible only by day boat tours from Puerto Ayora or Baltra (about $140-$180 per person), or via multi-day naturalist cruises including snorkeling at Pinzón in their itineraries.

Some tours combine snorkeling at Pinzón Island and Daphne Major.

Pinzon Island snorkeling map, Galapagos
Pinzón Island snorkeling map.

Water entrance for snorkeling Pinzón Island?

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 in Pinzón is around a small islet just off the northeastern coast of the island.

Galapagos sea turtle in Pizon Island
A Galápagos green sea turtle in Pinzón Island.

This snorkeling area comprises the shallow sandy channel between the islet and the main island, as well as rocky seabeds and a small mangrove patch.

Depending on sea conditions and instructions from the National Park, the snorkeling session can be moved to a nearby area around Pinzón.

Snorkelers observing a Galapagos sea lion in Pinzon Island
Pinzón Island is a good location for swimming with Galápagos sea lions.

Pinzón offers fantastic Galápagos marine life watching opportunities. Along its shore, you’ll encounter many sea turtles feeding on the seaweed, but also groups of whitetip sharks resting in the shadows. The best chances of spotting these two species are at the edge of the mangrove patch (see map).

Sea lions, very playful, regularly join the visitors, and it is also possible to spot Galápagos penguins, especially during winter months.

A spotted snake eel at Pinzon Island
A spotted snake eel.

King angelfish, schools of bluebarred parrotfish and razor surgeonfish… The aggregation of sea life around Pinzón offers a fabulous show, only matched by a few other snorkeling spots in the archipelago.

Restaurants and accommodations nearby

Pinzón is an uninhabited island, entirely natural, and protected by the Galápagos National Park. Tours generally include 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 $140pp.) 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.