Las Grietas Galapagos is the best swimming hole on Santa Cruz island, close to Puerto Ayora town.. Three crystal clear pools lie in a picturesque setting, sandwiched in a crevasse between high volcanic walls. Locals and tourists alike flock here to cool off while enjoying the spectacular views. Whether swimming, snorkeling or cliff diving, Las Grietas is a wonderful spot to wile away a few relaxing hours!
Read on for everything you need to know to plan your visit to Las Grietas Galapagos. How to get there? When to go? What to take along with you? Plus lots of other interesting information about Las Grietas.
In English “Grieta” translates as Crevasse. So Las Grietas is a long crevasse, or fissure canyon, with high volcanic walls, filled with ermerald green waters. Quite the dramatic setting!
The water at Las Grietas is a mix of seawater that enters from one end, and freshwater that filters in from the other. The protected walls mean that the water is crystal clear and very calm with no current – perfect for a relaxing swim.
Due to the brackish water there is not a great abundance of marine life to spot here, it's more a place to cool off on a hot tropcial day. Kean eyed visitors can spot plenty of other Galapagos wildlife along the path to La Grietas. The mangroves and Opuntia cacti along the trail are buzzing with activity. Busy little Galapagos finches flit from plant to plant, while flycatchers and woodpeckers do their thing. Galapagos Hawks and Short-eared owls may be tougher to spot, but they also like to frequent this area. Large brown pelicans are also a fairly common sight, as are lava lizards hiding between rocks.
One of the great things about Las Grietas is that it is so easy to visit. This is a pristine site where no tour guide is required. Just pack your swim suit and towel and head on out for a cheap (free) Galapagos activity.
Where is Las Grietas?
How to get there?
Getting to Las Grietas is part of the fun. You’ll need to take a short water taxi ride across the bay, then trek a short trail hike past beach and cactus.
The first step is to head down to Puerto Ayora’s municipal pier. Regular water taxi’s ferry people to the other side of the bay for 50 or 60c per person. Tell the driver you wish to disembark at Finch Bay.
Next, follow the signs to Finch Bay Hotel, keeping the ocean to your left. From the hotel pick up the trail that is signposted to Las Grietas. This trail leads through varied habitats, from beach to lava field and cactus forest, and even past old salta mines. Boardwalks lead across pink, salty waters of wetland habitat, where migratory Galapagos birds are often spotted. In total it should take about 15-20 minutes at a regular pace to reach Las Grietas. Wooden steps then lead down into the crevasse straight to the inviting waters.
There are three consecutive pools to explore. Most people hang out at the first pool, which can become crowded. So we recommend heading on over to second pool by swimming to the far end and climbing over some rocks. Getting to the third pool is more of a challenge. Again swim to the far end, then look for the hole to swim through – it’s about 1 meter from the bottom on the right hand side. This tunnel is just over 1 meter long, so hold your breath and you’ll be straight through to the final pool. You’ll often have this area to yourself, so enjoy this peaceful setting away from the crowds. The waters are nice and cool, plus shady thanks to the high lave walls. A refreshing dip makes a very welcome break from the hot tropical sun, especially during the warm and wet season months from January through to April.
• Las Grietas is a popular and busy site, especially at weekends. We recommend starting early to avoid the crowds and mid-day sun. Without people Las Grietas is a magical experience, like entering your very own secret cove.
• There is no need to take much along with you. Travel light with drinking water, swimming gear, towel, sun protection and some small change for the water taxi. There is a national park guard on duty, so remember to take your entry park ticket in case he/s she request to see it.
• The path is flat and fairly easy going, but it’s best to wear closed toe shoes as the lava rocks are pointy and sharp.
• The water at Las Grietas is around 10 meters deep, and 7 meters wide. There is no lifeguard on duty so only enter the water if you are a good swimmer, or with a floating device.
• People love to dive into the water from the cliff ledges. But this can be dangerous and is not recommended.
• For nice views into Las Grietas there is an extended path leading right along the top of the canyon. This is also a good site for scenic photos of the mangroves and opuntia forest, as well as Puerto Ayora town across the bay.
Contact us for a FREE GALAPAGOS TOUR QUOTE, or for more information to plan your Galapagos vacation.
In conclusion, Las Grietas Galapagos is a beautiful swimming hole and well worth the effort to get there. This is a trip for those who want a genuine Galapagos experience enjoying a day out with people from all over the world. The scenery is also very spectacular - it will likely be one of the most unique places you will swim at on the planet. So take your time to appreciate the La Grietas experience - the surrounding landscape and wildlife, and above all enjoy a wonderfully relaxing swim!