Galapagos attracts outdoor adventurers of all sorts, as the islands are known for first-class SCUBA diving, snorkeling, hiking and birdwatching. There is even an annual marathon in Galapagos which attracts runners from all over the world! But what about surfing? It turns out that Galapagos is a great surf destination as well. Here’s what you’ll need to know to surf Galapagos!
Where are the surf sites?
Of the three main inhabited islands (Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela), San Cristóbal is by far the best place to surf. There are a good half-dozen great surfing spots on the island including La Carola, Lobería and Tongo Reef.
When to Go:
You can surf in the islands year-round, but between December and May is the best time, when northern swells and sunny weather make for world-class surfing conditions. Between April and June there are good southwest swells. From June to December the weather is cooler and it is windier, but there are still some South swells worth surfing. All in all, the surf is pretty consistent.
What to Bring:
The waters in Galapagos are cooler than most people expect, so bring a light wetsuit even if you come in the warm season (December-June). If it’s the cool season, you may want a full or semi-full 3mm suit.
You can rent boards and wetsuits in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal) and in Puerto Ayora, but not in Puerto Villamil.
Stuff like wax, leashes, sunscreen, etc. are available but expensive in the Islands: bring plenty with you.
A couple of the best surfing spots on San Cristóbal Island are technically on the military base, so you’ll need permission to visit them. It’s not that difficult to get and well worth it.
Surfing in Montañita
Galapagos might not be well-known as a surf destination, but Montañita, on the Ecuadorian coast, definitely is. It’s easy to book a combination tour to surf both Montañita and the Islands. In fact, if your Galapagos flight stops in Guayaquil (most do) you’ll only be a couple of hours away from Montañita!
Need more convincing?
Here are some more great reasons to surf Galapagos:
Lack of crowds. Galapagos is not really known as an international surf destination, and most locals do not surf. In other words, there are very few surfers there at any given time and you’ll have the waves to yourself. If you go on a weekday to one of the popular San Cristobal spots in low season, chances are very good that there will be no one else there at all.
Other Galapagos Activities. There’s a lot more to do in Galapagos besides surfing. There are tours, hiking, snorkeling, SCUBA diving and of course, the wildlife that Galapagos is famous for. Surfers who travel with non-surfers or who want to do lots of activities will know that this is an important bonus!