Galapagos Rays

The beautiful, elegant and majestic rays of the Galapagos


There are four species of rays that are commonly seen in the waters around the Galapagos islands. You can often see rays swimming in the clear water when you are kayaking, snorkeling or traveling by panga on an excursion. If you are on a diving cruise then you will be able to get really close to these elegant creatures.

Manta Rays

Mantas have been given a variety of common names, including devil ray and devilfish. This is due to its distinctive ‘horns’ that are located on either side of its wide head.

In the Galapagos, Manta Rays can often be seen from the cliffs at South Plaza Island or even from the beach shore on Rabida Island.  They are extremely curious around humans and are fond of swimming with scuba divers and snorkelers. They will often come to the surface to investigate boats at anchor and some like being stroked! Mantas sometimes leap out of the water, landing with a loud slap. They have the biggest brains of any fish.

Golden Rays

Golden Rays are so-named because of their golden-coloured tops, but they can also be recognized by their blunt head and long, whip-like tails. They can vary in size but most are between 3 and 4 feet across from wingtip to wingtip.

Golden Rays are often seen in the Galapagos diving sites swimming alone, but they can also be found swim in large schools in quiet, shallow lagoons. The best place to see schools of golden rays is at Black Turtle Cove on Santa Cruz island.

Spotted Eagle Ray

Spotted Eagle Rays have pointed heads and long tails with a spiny tip. Their most notable attribute is the white spots that cover their otherwise black top.

In the Galapagos, Spotted Eagle Rays are also commonly sighted in large schools in smaller lagoons like Black Turtle Cove. You can also sometimes see them if your are snorkeling off the coast of Floreana Island.


Stingrays are common in the shallow beach areas and sandy-bottomed depths throughout the Galapagos. These grey rays have a long, narrow tail which ends in a nasty stinger that gives the fish its name. They vary in size and shape quite a lot, and some can grow to have a 5ft wingspan.

Stingrays can often be spotted lurking on the seabed of the shallower snorkeling sites, and sometimes amongst the surf of Post Office Bay on Floreana Island.


Photos of Galapagos Rays

Fast Facts about Galapagos Rays

  • Rays are most closely related to sharks.
  • Rays bodies contain no bones. Their skeleton is made up entirely of cartilage
  • A stingray's venom is so poisonous that even a dead stingray's tail can kill a human.
  • Manta rays can grown up to 20ft across and weigh up to 3,000lb

Where can the Galapagos Galapagos Rays be seen?

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All cruises to visit the Galapagos Rays