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The Mysterious Lagoon of the Nymphs in Santa Cruz

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. Are you looking for a place to stay on Santa Cruz? Check out the Aventura lodge.

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.

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

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

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

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 harbours 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

Laguna las nimfas in the morning

View from the other side of the lagoon

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!

About the author: Lisa Cho Lisa Cho is an expat living in Ecuador, originally from San Francisco, California. She writes about the Galapagos Islands on the Red Mangrove Galapagos Travel Blog and about her mainland Ecuador adventures on

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