The place that sparked Darwin’s theory of evolution can also spark your surf jones. A surprisingly large cluster of islands (big enough to block swell from sections of Costa Rica) made of lava, the Galapagos picks up plenty of swell. Sitting just south of the equator, it’s hard to assign seasons to the Galapagos. The easiest way to tell is by noting which side of the islands are picking up swell. Southern Hemisphere swell hits the south-facing breaks May-September while the north shores up North Pacific swell November – April.
Despite being on the equator, water temperatures are consistently in the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit in the Galapagos due to the cold north-to-south Humboldt current. Air temps are consistently in the 70s and 80s with occasional spikes into the 90s when the easterly trade winds stop blowing.
During the wait for sports betting to go live in Canada with TheScore Bet sportsbook and more, why not take up some surfing and sun?
Galapagos surfing spots and beaches
Santo Tomas, Isla Santa Cruz, Isla San Cristobal and Isabela Island hold the most surf spots on the island with Isabela being favoured for beginner surfers. Some breaks in the Galapagos are only accessible via boat.
El Faro on Isabela Island is a wide open beach break that picks up south swells and works best in offshore conditions, mainly winds forecast out of the northwest. Cerro Gallina on Santa Cruz Island turns picks up south swells and blows offshore on north winds. It’s a series of uncrowded left and right reef breaks with abundant wildlife splashing around. Carola on Isla San Cristobal is a quality right-hand reef break that gets crowded when it’s working. Best surf report is when the swell direction is from the southeast and the wind is from the north.
Galapagos Islands surf schools and guide tours
The best way to explore the surf of the Galapagos is through a guide. Lavawave leads excursions through the islands and pride themselves on finding the best waves. Seven day stays for two person occupancy start at $1900. Their surf school provides equipment, snacks and ISA certified instructors starting at $107 for individual half-day lessons.
Galapogos Islands Surf Camp has eight-day stays starting at $1750. The will pick you up from the San Cristobal Airport and then guide you to the best breaks on the island. Stay includes breakfast, surf guide and snorkelling adventures.
Surf Galapagos will shuttle you around to explore the optimal surf spots according to conditions as assessed by their crew. This camp offers five-day stays and is super accommodating, customising your trip according to your skill level.
On San Cristobal the bay view La Zayapa offers a smart, modern stay near some of the island’s best surf. A nearby ferry shuttles visitors to adjacent sights and the hotel has a mellow, removed feel despite being centrally located on the main bay. Snorkeling and Stand Up Paddling are right out your doorstep, as well as hiking to take in the amazing wild scenery. Rooms start at 97€.
Cheap surf camps on Galapagos
Hospedaja Sarita is a funky low-key stay on Isabella with affordable cheap rooms starting at 20€. All rooms come with private bathroom, air conditioning and WiFi. Great for the surfers from all over the world. There’s a 24-hour desk attendant for late night entries. The hotel got rave reviews from solo travellers for its hospitality and location. Puerto Villamil is the heart of Isabela Island and the jumping off point for a host of other activities across the archipelago.
Located next to the Visitor Centre of Galapagos National Park, Hostal Aquamarine has stays starting at 71€. The clean, quaint, somewhat perfunctory establishment offers the basics but scores points for location, as it’s near all that beautiful wildlife that springs to mind when we hear the words Galapagos Islands. And yes, the surf of Tortuga Bay is within a 10-minute drive.
Galapagos Islands is a great vacation place for water sports activities. For Canadians the best way to get there is through LAX airport or other major connecting flight hubs.
Galapagos Islands surfing guide and tips prepared by Bryan Dickerson (wavepoolmag.com) for Dailystoke.com’s surf guides.
Photo by Luna Zhang