It’s one of the most interesting places to visit on earth, boasting unique wildlife, sunny skies, and beautiful landscapes–a location high on every traveller’s bucket list. But what’s it like as a surf destination? Well, thanks to Galapagos’ position to receive both North and South Pacific swells, there are plenty of waves here. Most waves are powerful volcanic reef breaks, reminiscent of Hawaii or the Canary Islands. In this article, we dive into everything you need to know for surfing in the Galapagos.
Table of Contents
Best Time of Year to Surf in Galapagos
It depends on the break. Most of the best spots work during the northern hemisphere winter (October – April), whereas other breaks work from April to October. We’ll dive into some of the best Galapagan surf spots and when they work below.
Galapagos Surf Spots
Northern Hemisphere Breaks
The best wave in the Galapagos– a fast powerful right-hander, which on the right swells is a freight train barreling right. A ship that landed on the reef a while ago actually improved the shape of this wave. however, with such quality, the place gets super crowded!
Defined by the canon statue on the headland. Canon is a fun left point that can work and hold larger swells.
On the SE tip of San Cristobal is a fun wave that can be worth a check if its too small for Carola and the other northern hemisphere breaks.
Southern Hemisphere Waves
El Tongo is a long walk (unless you organise a boat) past a military checkpoint (and a heap of sea lions, lizards and classic Galpagan wildlife). It’s a fun left reef that’s actually split into three sections. El Pico, El Medio, El Bajito. You need to provide some ID at the checkpoint and then you have a 45-minute walk around the coast.
If you’re after something powerful and consistent, Lobeira is the place to get it! Only accessible via boat or a very long walk, but there are almost always waves here if you make the mission. With a long wally right and short punchy left finishing on near-dry reef, this is a great option if the swell is smaller.
Tortuga Bay is one of the only beach breaks in the Galapagos and serves as a refreshing break from the otherwise powerful volcanic reefs. The waves here can still get solid though, with out back providing punchy peaks for advanced surfers and the inside (with coaching/guidance) can be awesome for beginners.
Galapagos Surf Spot Map
A Unique Surf Experience
Surfing in the Galapagos is a truly unique and wonderful experience. I mean you’re sharing the lineup with sea lions, turtles, baby sharks, and all manner of fish and bird species. Note, that although there are some well-established surf spots across the islands, most of the archipelago is a national park and many lesser-known breaks are off-access.
These breaks are only accessible by organised boat. The potential for exploration here is insane, so if you’ve got a boat or know someone who has, you’ll be able to score so many more waves. If your funds allow it, adding the Galapagos onto a larger Ecuador surf trip, is a great way to maximize your wave count and adventure in the country.
How to Get There
Jump on a domestic flight from Quito or Guayaquil. From further afield, you’ll need to fly to these cities anyway and then get a connecting flight. Check out Kayak Flights for the cheapest flight to the Galapagos. You can fly to Puerto Ayora or San Cristobal (where the best waves are). Once you arrive in the Galapagos, you’ll need to pay the mandatory national park entry fee of $100usd in cash.
In San Cristobal, you can easily get around on foot. From the airport, you can walk into town, and walk between your hotel, some of the surf spots and all the restaurants.
You could hire a car and drive around the island but to be honest, unless you’re not concerned about budget, this isn’t necessary.
If you want to island hop and explore across soem of the different islands, you’ll need to take the ferry. You can easily book Galapagos Island ferries at kiosks in the main towns.
Where to Stay?
While there are a handful of hostels in the Galapagos, I couldn’t find too many online, so you have to do your digging to find the cheapest stays. However, here is a mix of affordable privates and dorm accommodations.
Casa de Alexita
Casa de Alexita – One of the more affordable stays on San Cristobal, you can score private rooms here for $13 per night. With free wifi and a kitchen, you’ll be able to cook your food and keep costs down here and walk into town. A great budget option.
Hotel San Francisco
Hotel San Francisco – This is where I stayed on my surf trip to the Galapagos. A basic, budget-friendly hotel room that did the job just fine. Clean, quiet and just a minute’s walk from the harbour. Private rooms from $25usd per night.
Galapagos Best Hostel
Located in Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the Galapagos, Galapagos best hostel is one of the cheapest places to stay on the islands. Right in town, you can find dorm rooms here for $18.99 per night. Which for the Galapagos (Not one of the world’s cheapest surf destinations) is pretty good. Check out Galapagos Best Hostel here.
Lonesome George EcoLodge
Right in the harbour of Puerto Ayora, Lonesome George is a great and affordable palace to stay for surfing in the Galapagos. From here, you’ll be close to the harbour, for boat rides to surf breaks and you’ll be able to walk out to the beach break. Dorms from $40 per night.
Galapagos Surf Trip Cost Breakdown
Flight from Ecuador = $250
National park entry fee = $100
Hostel for 7 x nights = $140
Food for 1 x week = $100
Snorkelling trip = $100
Rough total for 1 week surfing in the Galapagos = $690 (Approx)
The Galapagos isn’t just a surf trip, it’s a full adventure! I mean, it’s one of the most sort after and unique places on earth, so aside from surfing there are some super unique things to check out.
Something I loved about the Galapagos was that to see the famous wildlife, you didn’t need to find it, just in the San Cristobal harbour, you can find sea lions, (waddling the streets), sharks, turtles, lizards and rays, all within metres of each other. You can spend hours wandering the harbour (I did) checking all this out…
Something else worth doing is going to the Gaint Tortoise Sanctuary. An endangered species only found in this one park. I booked a tour to see them, as it only cost around $15 and I learned heaps about the islands and the tortoise.
Without a doubt, surfing in the Galapagos is a true surf adventure destination, While there are many word-class waves, that are crowded and well-established, the Galapagos allows you to go off and find your waves. But the islands just mix surf adventure, with amazing wildlife, and climate and will no doubt give you one of the most memorable surf trips of your life!