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Gardner Bay/Tortuga Rock Visitor Site

Gardner Bay is one of the best beaches in Galapagos: a stunning stretch of white sand rocked by gentle waves, which dozing sea lions will grudgingly share with you. There's not much to see in the way of wildlife and no trail to follow: just a great beach to spend a couple of lazy hours. Observe the signs, which will keep you out of a sea turtle nesting area. If you go to the far end of the beach (where the black rocks are) you have a good chance of spotting a marine iguana or two.


It's possible to snorkel in the fairly calm waters of the bay, but don't expect to see much. Sea lions may get close enough for a good look, any rays are common in the area. Stingrays lurk on the sandy bottom: look for them starting just a few feet from shore. Manta and Spotted Eagle Rays occasionally pass through. You'll see some fish as well or a sea turtle or white-tipped reef shark if you're lucky: look for fish near rocks.


Just offshore, however, is Turtle Rock, the remains of a volcanic crater that, when viewed from the right angle, looks like a turtle surfacing. The snorkeling around turtle rock is excellent. On the calme (no current) side of Turtle Rock, look carefully in the sand for camouflaged Stone Scorpionfish lurking on the sandy bottom. Although there is a current, Turtle Rock is a good place for intermediate snorkelers because one side of it is always sheltered from wind and waves. A good swimmer can make it from shore to Turtle Rock and vice-versa.



  • Highly Probable to see:
  • Sea Lions
  • Hood Mockingbirds
  • Stingrays
  • Reef Fish


Probable to see:

  • Darwin Finches
  • Hood Lava Lizard


Possible to see:

  • Manta Ray
  • Spotted Eagle Ray
  • Sea turtle
  • White-tipped Reef Shark
  • Marine iguana
  • Stone Scorpionfish

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Galápagos Island Visitor Sites: Champion Islet Visitor Site, Buccaneer Cove, Punta Cormorant - Floreana Visitor Site, Puerto Egas Visitor Site, Post Office Bay Visitor Site, Floreana Visitor Site: La Loberia/Sea Lions Area, More Isabela Visitor Sites and Punta Suarez.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
27 Jan 2010

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