One of Santa Cruz’s most peaceful and tranquil settings, the 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of sand that compose El Garrapatero Beach is a tropical paradise. It is about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) northeast of Puerto Ayora, and is well worth the trip. Surrounded by beautiful mangrove trees, the beach is home to an incredible array of birds, most notably, flamingos and mockingbirds. You can also find marine iguanas, shrimp, Galapagos penguins, oystercatchers, and patillos amongst the white sands and clear blue water. There’s also a freshwater lake nearby that is home to even more tropical animals, such as herons, grebes, and many of shore birds.
Enjoy the wonderful swimming and snorkeling opportunities, and take advantage of the lovely picnic area, complete with grills. If you find yourself wanting more of this beautiful beach, look into a campsite.
Sitting on the north side of Santa Cruz, El Garrapatero is most easily accessed from Puetro Ayora. After a 30-minute taxi ride from the city, a 15-minute walk (about 1 kilometer, or about 2/3 of a mile) will get you from the parking area to the beach.