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Last updated on January 14, 2023
The small island of Rabida, in the heart of the Galápagos Archipelago, is well known for its red sand beach and sea lions. But, its rocky coast also makes it a great snorkeling location where turtles, sea lions and dozens of brightly colored fish can be spotted.
Day trips on the island of Rabida from Puerto Ayora are not allowed by the National Park. The only way to snorkel the island is to participate in a naturalist cruise. Make sure when you book that the cruise includes snorkeling at this spot.
Water entrance is from the boat.
The main snorkeling area is along the rocky coast that extends south of the red sand beach. Depending on sea conditions and instructions from the National Park, your snorkeling may be moved to another area.
At this spot, the underwater landscape is made of large rocks (↕1-3m/3-10 ft). In places, the seabed is covered with slate pencil urchins, with brown and purple shells and grayish spines. You can also find hard corals encrusted in the rocks.
The area is home to schools of bluebarred parrotfish feeding on tiny marine algae covering the rocks. In deeper areas, you may also spot king angelfish, goatfish, and huge schools of razor surgeonfish.
On the rocks, try to find the small hawkfish waiting for careless prey to swim too close.
Rabida is a great spot to swim with Galápagos green turtles. You will see them float peacefully on the water’s surface, only a few meters from shore. Some young and inquisitive sea lions often come and play with snorkelers.
Rabida is an uninhabited island, entirely natural, and protected by the Galápagos National Park. It is only accessible through a full-board cruise.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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