The Mysterious Lagoon of the Nymphs in Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Santa Cruz Island, Things to Do

One of the less-visited sites on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos is Laguna de las Ninfas (Lagoon of the Nymphs) a beautiful place where you can see an ecosystem of mangroves, shorebirds, and fish. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the center of town.

If you have a free day in Puerto Ayora, you can easily see the lagoon independently and do some souvenir shopping in the morning, followed by a trip to Las Grietas natural swimming hole or Tortuga Bay in the afternoon.

There are a number of cool spots like this to visit independently on your Galapagos vacation.

Lagoon of the Nymphs at Dusk

I arrived at Laguna de las Ninfas as it was getting dark. Within minutes I could see why the legends about this lagoon abound.

The lagoon at dusk, when the nymphs come out to play?

Mysterious bubbles would ripple across the surface of the lagoon inexplicably, every couple of minutes.

Lagoon of the Nymphs in the morning

After visiting the lagoon at dusk and seeing the bubbles, I decided to come back during the day to see beneath the surface, but there was nothing….no bubbles, no ripples, just crystal clear water and schools of small fish. Whether the bubbles I saw are nymphs, spirits of ghosts pasts (read about the bloody history of the Galapagos here) or just big fish is up to you to decide.

By day the lagoon is simply a calm place to take in a unique Galapagos scene; turquoise water harbors a variety of small fish, while different species of mangroves border the lagoon, and Candelabra cactus populate the rocky crags above the lagoon. A long wooden pathway borders the lagoon and makes for a relaxing afternoon stroll.

Laguna las nimfas in the morning

View from the other side of the lagoon

Have you been to Laguna Las Nimfas in the Galapagos? At dusk? Did you see anything? Let us know in comments!

Meet the Author

Lisa Cho is an expat living in Ecuador, originally from San Francisco, California. She writes about the Galapagos Islands on this site and about her mainland Ecuador adventures on

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