DIY! Las Grietas and Tortuga bay (Santa Cruz)

DIY = do it yourself. A lot of tours and activities are offered by several agencies. They will all tell you that their tour is the best, and if you don’t go, you won’t see the real Galapagos. A lot of places it is mandatory to have a guide, and off course it is important to respect the laws of the National Park. Still there is several things that you can do on your own: visit the ranch El Chato and the lava tunnel (like we did on the bicycles), las Grietas, Tortuga bay and all the smaller beaches (bring snorkeling gear). We spend one day visiting Las Grietas and Tortuga bay.

Las Grietas (The Crevices)

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You have to take a water taxi (1 USD per person – totally overpriced for distance) to where to trail begins. From there the trail passes by lagoons, a beach, and the residential zone until reaching the cliffs of Las Grietas. Esben going all in to take some great photos underwater.

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Here it is possible to observe two very distinct levels of water – fresh water at the surface and the salt water of the sea at the bottom. It is a great place to go for a swim. The time limit for the visit is 30 min, because of the many tourists. We visited in low season and the place was not crowded, and we could stay 45 min. I can imagine that the place will get really crowed in high season – so get there early.

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There is a spot were you can dive underneath some rock to get t the next pool – pretty cool! You go past the first rock formation, make sure you climb on the dry rock, because the wet rock are really slippery! You swim forward in the next pool, here you will meet the rock formation, that you see in the bottom of the right picture. You can dive underneath the rocks in the right side of the canyon. If you can’t find it, try from the other side, where it is easier to find it from the other side!

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Spotted a school of fish

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After the swim in Las Grietas we walked all the way to Tortuga bay, which takes about an hour each way. As soon as you get out of town you reach a trail (walking only) that takes you through an impassable landscape, all the way to the ocean.

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You take a right turn on the beach, and follow the beach until you reach Tortuga bay. At the far end of Tortuga bay we rented a kayak (10 USD per person).

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I controlled the kayak and Esben could jump into the water. Okay the kayak had an anchor, but the water was pretty cold. I could also spot sea turtles popping up their heads to breath. This day we got our fist picture of a sea turtle while it swam underneath the kayak. We had awesome day – so why is their no picture of the sea turtle? Because later on our Galapagos adventure, it got so much better!

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Esben also got a few good pictures underwater. In the left picture a marble ray with two bullseye puffer fish. In the right picture a spotted tiger eel wlEmoticon-winkingsmile DIY! Las Grietas and Tortuga bay (Santa Cruz)

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