A few decades ago, Galapagos wasn’t a top surf destination, not even in Ecuador. It was widely known for its unique landscapes and marine life but surfers were not aware the wave paradise Galapagos really is. Surfers used to prefer Montañita or other traditional sport in the continental Ecuador for a surf trip.
Things have changed. Nowadays more a more people are discovering The Galapagos Islands as a unique surfing spot in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Even an international competition as the ALAS Latin Tour realised about the uniqueness of Galapagos and bet for it in 2018 to held the competition.
Galapagos Islands is in the Top List of Surf spots in Ecuador
Surfing in Galápagos is a great option not only for its year round world class waves, but its privileged warm weather and marine life. Also it’s uniqueness makes it a really attractive spot for your surf trip, as there is the only places where you can enjoy the waves along with sea lions and marine iguanas.
Keep reading and find everything about the best surfing spots in The Galapagos Islands, how and when to get there, faqs and more.
How much surfing experience do I need to surf in Galapagos Islands?
Galapagos has plenty of beaches where surfing is allowed. No matter what your surfing level is, you’ll find one that suits you.
However, if it’s your first time surfing in Galapagos we strongly recommend you to ask for advice from local surfers and avoid going alone the first time. You can do so when renting your surfboard.
If you have zero experience, you can get surfing lessons in the main islands. Our personal recommendation is to take the lessons in Isabela Island since the waves are better suited for beginners.
Surf Camps in Galapagos are another great way to learn how to surf in a cool and relaxed environment surrounded by the surfing community. There’s a few surf camps in Galápagos buy we recommend LavaWave and The Point in San Cristobal and Galapagos Bike and Surf in Isabela Island.
What’s the best season to surf in the Galapagos Islands?
The Galapagos Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, 1000 km away from Ecuador mainland. In this location the islands benefit from a warm weather all year (never less than 19º). The Islands also have swells from the north and south of the Pacific, assuring you good waves all year.
However, if you are able to choose the dates, the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands to surf is from december to may. During this time there’s plenty of sun (27º) and lots of waves. The rest of the year, even though it doesn’t get cold, it may get a little cloudy and rainy.
Here’s more information about the dates and what you can find:
January – February – November – December
In these months sea temperatures remain at 23º there are powerful reef breaks and there tend not to be too many people. This months (except december) are a low season for Galápagos, but you need to be careful with the sun because its very powerful (remember you are in Ecuador) so dont forget to wear sunscreen and a Long Sleeve Rashguard
From March to September
The temperature of the water drops to 20º from May and the waves start to become more inconsistent, so it is more difficult to reach them. In addition, especially the months of march and april are usually holidays seasons in Ecuador, so expecto way more people and higher prices.
Must-Have Items to Pack for a Galapagos Islands
You need to be prepared when it comes to packing for Galápagos Islands. You have to remember that there’s a few things that are not easily found there. There’s no huge malls, no beach bars, specially on isolated places where its only you, your surfboard and nature. So keep in mind this when packing.
Water Bottle: You need to be fully hydrated, the sun is very strong in Ecuador and sometimes you won’t find any place nearby to fill your bottle. So keep your water bottlealways full and always with you. You can ask at the hotel for a free refill, most of them do!
Sun Screen: You don’t want to burn out on ecuadorian sun on your first day on Galápagos and ruin the rest. Bring a waterproof 50FP sunscreen and get ready to enjoy the waves.
Surfboard carrier: In Galápagos you have to walk. A lot. Through rocky volcanic roads or sand. Always in the great company of amazing animals. But carrying your surfboard can get exhausting if you don’t have the right gadgets. With this surfboard carrier your life will be a bit easier.
Snacks: As said, there’s a lot of beaches and touristic isolated places where you can’t buy food so better to be stacked before leaving your hotel. Galapagos its a bit expensive so bring it from the mainland or even better, buy yourself a pack of protein bars because those are expensive in Ecuador (even the mainland)
Travel backpack: Where will you carry all this stuff if you don’t have the right equipment. This travel backpack will be very usefull to carry your snacks, water bottle, photography equipment and dry clothes.
Shark Repellent (no joke): It can be very nice to swim along sea lions but you may know that there’s also plenty of sharks in Galápagos and when it comes to surfing its better to be careful (especially when sharks can confuse your board with a sea lion). This magnetic shark repellent its comfortable and easy to wear and uses a magnetic technology to disrupt a shark electrical sense causing it to be deterred from the subject.
Surfing multitool: A pocket to save you from technical problems at the surfing spot. The thruster PocketTool by Leatherman has a bit driver for fins and screws, wax comb and scraper, bottle opener and a hook to attach it to your keys so its easy to carry.
Sports Camera: There’s plenty of options but we recommend Gopro because it has a lot of accessories for surfers, but if you budget is a bit tight Apeman seems like an affordable sports camera that works pretty well too!
Where to surf on each Island?
San Cristobal Island: The best place to surf in the Galapagos Islands
There’s no doubt that San Cristobal island is the best in Galapagos to practice surf. San Cristobal has many points for intermediate and advanced surfers, not recommended for beginners. You can also find a great surfing community in this island since there you can find 4 world class waves, 2 of which are square tubes. The reason why the waves in the Galapagos Islands are so special its because its exceptional location, where it gets both north and south swells from the Pacific Ocean.
There’s no doubt that San Cristobal island is the best in Galapagos to practice surf. San Cristobal has many points for intermediate and advanced surfers, not recommended for beginners. You can also find a great surfing community in this island since there you can find 4 world class waves, 2 of which are square tubes. The reason why the waves in Galapagos are so special its because its exceptional location, where it gets both north and south swells from the Pacific Ocean.
Top surfing spots in San Cristobal Island
The North-West coast beaches of the island is the one you should look for to find the top waves. There are spots for all levels. La Loberia is the best spot for surf beginners, while Tongo Reef is the spot you must head to if you are a pro surfer and look for an exciting experience.
La Lobería 0,6 – 1m waves | San Cristóbal
When the wind blows from west, and it usually does, La Lobería and Tongo Reef are our favorite spots to surf. La Lobería is the perfect spot for beginners or to warm up before ging to Tongo Reef, that is just reserved for pro surfers.
Look at this teaser video and will feel the need to surf here.
On the days when the sea is calm, it is a wonderful beach to lie down and sunbathe. The beach is one of the most beautiful in San Cristobal, and the sea lions that rest there will surely give you a smile throughout the day.
A 15 minute walk from Puerto Baquerizo. Punta Carola is one of the most popular beach among surfers. Waves com from north and from november to april its the best time to visit since waves are magnificent.Great 1-3m waves.
This spot is located in the south of the San Cristobal Island and can only be reached by boat. The boat ride is totally worth it since Tongo Reef has world class waves from north and it gets better: theres not much people and waves are very frequent.
To access this beach you’ll have to pass a military base where you will be asked for an ID document, do not forget to bring it! Once you are authorized, from there, you will have to walk around 15 minutes until you reach the beach.
On this island, north currents arrive in the beach season (from November to April) and south swell from May to October, where the temperature of the waves usually go down a little and although it does not get cold, the sky is more cloudy, It is less appetizing and there may even be drizzle.
Surfing Tortuga Bay | Santa Cruz
Tortuga Bay is on the top 10 beaches in the world according to TripAdvisor for its uniqueness. Its a great place to rest, watch galapagos tortoises, flamingos, marine iguanas an even sharks. It is a great spot to snorkel but also perfect to surf.
A small rocky beach, very special for the surfers. It’s near the Charles Darwin station in the centre of Puerto Ayora. On the way to the beach there’s a lot of marine iguanas and beautiful landscape.
There are many other spots to surf in Santa Cruz Island. Some of them very close to city centre as Playa el Bazan, Tres pico and Piedra Ahogada. You can even get there by walking.
Some others are only reachable by boat but definitely worth it. This spots are Punta Nuñez, Ola Escondida o Punta Gallina.
Surfing in Isabela Island
Isabela islandis undoubtedly one of the favorite islands for tourists who visit Galapagos. Its environment and unique landscapes make it an authentic natural paradise.
In terms of surfing, this island is ideal for beginners or people who want to learn this sport since it has wide beaches where a high level of experience is not required.
For this reason, there are many stores that offer surf lessons around the island. If you visit Isabela, we recommend the spots El Faro, El Hospital, Barahona, Los Túneles and of course, the beach of Puerto Villamil for classes focused on beginners.
Let us help with your trip!
Planning to visit Galapagos? We’ll be glad to help with tips, recommendation and also we can create a personalized itinerary for you to enjoy and make the most our of your days on the Islands. Drop us a line!
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Contact us and tell us when are you planning to go to Galápagos, what would you like to do and an estimated budget.
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