Exploring the Inside of a Galapagos Lava Tunnel

Places to See, Santa Cruz Island, Things to Do

The Galapagos are volcanic islands. I knew about that before our visit, but I guess I didn’t think that much about seeing evidence of volcanic activity because I was so excited about seeing all of the animals.


On our first excursion to Garrapatero Beach on Santa Cruz Island I was surprised at how taken I was by the beautiful texture of the dark black volcanic rock against the smooth light sand. Each time I looked at it I could not help but picture the red hot lava flowing down to the water’s edge and then being stopped in its tracks as it met the water, sizzling and steaming as it cooled down.

I had a rock collection when I was growing up and I thought about what an amazing addition a piece of the volcanic rock from that beach would have made, but as it’s against the rules to take anything organic from the Galapagos I let my camera do the work. I got some good texture shots;  it’s so cool to think that all those little holes were once bubbles in boiling liquid rock!

Needles to say, after my new-found fascination I was excited as we set out to walk through lava tunnels. “Lava tunnels!?” We were actually going to walk inside the earth, through the same area where molten hot liquid rock had once flowed? What was it going to be like? Would I have to get down on my hands and knees?

To my surprise the tunnel had a really high ceiling. We walked down into it on a wooden staircase and there were lights along the tunnel walls lighting our way. It was amazing to think about lava blasting through there as we walked around listening to the Naturalist Guide explain various aspects of the tunnel.


The walls were smooth and there were tiny stalactite growing down from the ceiling. We could also see levels of different colored rock and earth along both sides of the tunnel walls. One of Bryan’s uncles is a geologist and I thought about how he would have felt to be walking through that tunnel.

As soon as we got down into the tunnel I started looking for bats, I kind of like bats. I didn’t see any, but the guide said that maybe there would be some farther down where the tunnel started to narrow out.  We didn’t go down in that part of the tunnel, so we didn’t see any bats. They probably are not fans of the lights or the tourists and I guess I don’t blame them.


It was kind of dark in the tunnel so our pictures didn’t come out as well as we would have liked. But we will never forget walking inside that giant lava tunnel!

Check out: Primicias, Los Gemelos & Lava Tunnel Gallery

Meet the Author

Hi, I'm Dena Haines! I'm an traveler, photographer and Canadian entrepreneur. I'm a partner at Storyteller Media, a content marketing company for travel brands. I blog at GringosAbroad (Ecuador travel) and Click Like This (How to Use a GoPro).

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