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Puerto Chino Beach
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A GNP certified guide is not required to visit this site.
Puerto Chino is an attractive swimming beach located on the south east side of San Cristobal island. It is a popular weekend destination for local farming families in the area, and well worth a visit by tourists for its natural beauty. Come prepared to swim. You’ll surely want to cool off, after the 15 to 20 minute hike from the parking lot. Luckily the hike to the beach is on a well constructed paved path. But it is mostly down hill, so be sure conserve some energy for the walk back! Along the way you’ll see impressive fields of cactus trees, and loads of finches, and when you reach the beach, you’ll be impressed by its beauty.
Puerto Chino beach has sparking white sand beach with the finest grains, like icing sugar. However, at times you can find the shoreline of the beach is not white, but mysteriously green. This is some type of algae that gets washed up. The water is clear and generally quite calm at the waters edge, but there is a bit of swell farther out, making for decent boogie boarding at times.
The mangroves surrounding the back of the beach are full of finches. If you bring any food to eat, don’t be surprised if all of a sudden you are surrounded by 30-40 finches looking for scraps. You’re not supposed to feed them, because you’re upsetting the balance of nature. But who can resist when they are hopping onto your hand or sitting on your shoe, hoping for a crumb to fall.
On the right of Puerto Chino beach is a rocky point, which is fun to climb, for a great view out to sea and overlooking the beach. There are a couple of small caves in this outcrop.
To the left, is a long stretch of lava rock boulders separating the beach from some pretty rock pools, where you’ll see sealions, and get a great view looking back toward the beach.
When I visited Puerto Chino, I found a massive whale neck bone, weighing at least 200 lbs, washed up to the back of the lava rocks. I could not move it at all. Its size and weight is quite astonishing. I hope its still there when you visit.
There is not much natural shade here, except around the mangroves at the back of the beach. So come prepared with good sun protection, hats and if possible an umbrella. Plus lots of water. Locals often bring small tents. If you’re getting a bit crispy, you can hide behind the rocky outcrop. You may find a few Sealions doing the same. Be careful to keep your distance from them, on land.
To reach Puerto Chino, you’ll need your own transportation, or a taxi. Be sure to make pickup arrangements, so you don’t get stranded, there is no bus service, and you won’t find taxis looking for fares, because the beach is at the end of a long dirt road, that goes nowhere but here. A good way to visit Puerto Chino, is as part of a day tour visiting El Junco and the giant tortoise reserve at Galapaguera Cerro Colorado – A great day out, and inexpensive too. A small group can hire a taxi for a day for $60-80 depending on how hard you negotiate!