Swimming at Las Grietas on Santa Cruz
Las Grietas are beautiful, photogenic natural pools with shimmering emerald water surrounded by steep, dark lava cliffs. Las Grietas are located on Santa Cruz. We were jumping into the chilly water after our short 30 minute hike in the sun which was unbelievable refreshing. And then we found the most exciting part - hidden pools and an underwater cave. This is a great free half day trip on Santa Cruz which you can plan individually as this is one of the rare things to do where you don't need a guide.
How to get there?
Our journey started around 3 p.m. from the pier of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. This was the one chance we had to see Las Grietas during our cruise as there were no activities scheduled for that afternoon. So, we had two to three hours which turned out to be enough.
We took a water taxi from the pier to Angermeyer Hotel/Las Grietas. Just ask anyone on the docks and they point you in the right direction. The water taxis go back and forth regularly - so there is no need to be at the pier at a certain time. After a very short ride (80 cents/person) we arrived at the Angermeyer Waterfront Inn hotel and followed the way. There really is only one way. The path led us to Punta Estrada, Finch Bay Hotel and some salt flats with really huge cactuses until we reached Las Grietas 20 minutes later.
Jumping into Las Grietas' crystal clear water
Once we were there, we took a glimpse from upstairs on this unique place, went down and jumped right into the chilly water. It was so refreshing after the hike and it is so impressive - crystal clear water in this really deep channel. Even though we didn’t see a lot of fish the views were incredible.
While we were swimming through the pool we saw some brave people jumping off the cliffs. We reached the end of the pool and were just about to swim back but then we decided to climb over the sharp and slippery rocks just to find another pool there. Make sure you’ll be careful here and put on water shoes. These rocks are slippery and sharp but climbing over them is so worth it.
Exploring the hidden pools and underwater channel
The second pool was totally different - way smaller and less crowded. Only some children were playing around - and they seem to disappear. I mean, they took a deep breath and dived down - and just didn’t appear again. When we made our way to the very right side of the second pool we discover an underwater cave through which the children were swimming. We took a deep breath and dived through it as well. And there it was, a third hidden pool, as large as the first one. The best thing - this pool wasn’t crowded at all. Besides the children that were swimming through the cave, there was not a single person there. It was so calm.
If you don’t want to dive you can climb over the rocks as well to get to the third pool - but the underwater cave is certainly faster and easier.
After an hour or so we decided to go back as I started feeling a bit cold. So, if you want to stay a longer I recommend you bring a wetsuit. As we were getting back to the first pool and got out of the water a guide announced that Las Grietas would be closing soon. I guess around 6 p.m. - so make sure you have enough time to explore the place.
Punta Ayora, Santa Cruz
All day, closes at 6pm
Duration & Distance
At least 1,5 hours
No guide necessary
Snorkeling gear (optional)
Underwater camera (optional)
Water and snacks
Don't book a tour. It's not necessary and you will be more flexible on your own and save some money.
Get there around noon. The sun is high and shines through the crystal clear water all the way to the bottom. You get the best views and avoid the crowds.
Leave valuable belongings at your hotel. You can't really have an eye on them while you are in the water.