Diving and Snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands

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Diving in the Galapagos Islands

Diving in the Galapagos Islands strictly follows the rules and regulations set by the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD). The Galapagos Marine Reserve covers an area of 120,00 square metres, and the various passing currents (Humboldt, Panama and Cromwell) attract big fish from July to December and extremely colourful tropical fish from January to June. If you’re looking to swim alongside sharks, massive tunas and even whales, you are in luck! 

A map of the top 10 diving spots in the Galapagos Archipelago.

Map for Galapagos dive sites

Diving Cruises & Ships

The Galapagos diving cruises and safaris are 8 days and 7 nights long. Diving safaris often begin from Baltra Island and end on San Cristóbal Island. At the moment, there are seven diving cruises (as shown below) with similar routings.

Nortada (first class) – 12 passengers – Baltra Island (return) to Wolf and Darwin Islands.

Majestic (first class) – 16 passengers – San Cristóbal Island (return) to Wolf and Darwin Islands.

Aggressor III (luxury class) – 16 passengers – Baltra Island (return) to Wolf and Darwin Islands.

Humboldt Explorer (luxury class) – 16 passengers – Baltra Island (return) to Wolf and Darwin Islands.

Galapagos Sky (luxury class) – 16 passengers – San Cristóbal Island  (return) to Wolf and Darwin Islands.

Danubio Azul (tourist class) – 9 passengers – Baltra Island (return) to the inner areas of the archipelago *alternating with nature cruise tours

Pingüino (tourist class) – 9 passengers –  Baltra Island (return) to Wolf and Darwin Islands *alternating with nature cruise tours

 

With unpredictable sea conditions, strong waves and currents in the Galapagos Archipelago, it can be a challenge even for experienced divers. Those who are interested in diving in the Galapagos Islands must have at least 40 logged dives. If you have slightly less than the required number, you may hire a diving guide, who will accompany you on your personalised diving itinerary.

The first two days on board a dive safari is for you to familiarise and get comfortable with the terrain. Please note that the itineraries include few or no excursions on the islands, rather you will be spending most of the time underwater. Both Wolf and Darwin Islands are reserved for researchers. We strongly recommend you to spend a few days on an island after the dive safari to experience a different side of the Galapagos Islands.

Darwin Island is a remote divers paradise in the Galapagos Islands

Foto: Insel Darwin

Diving Day Tours – an alternative to Dive Safaris

It is also possible to explore the Galapagos Archipelago with a diving day tour instead. We work closely with renowned diving operators based in Santa Cruz Island and San Cristóbal Island. There are flexible diving day tours where you can book a boat for you and your partner or even just for yourself. The best diving spots in the inner areas of the archipelago are Punta Cormorant (Floreana Island), Gordon Rocks and Mosquera and Bartolomé Islands. These fantastic diving spots are all easily within reach.

Plan your personalised and tailor-made diving day tour now!

Click here for our guide on the best diving season & in-flight diving equipment regulations

Dive into the world’s best diving spots!

The diving experience which the Galapagos offer will leave you yearning to come back! The main highlights of the Galapagos underwater world are enormous swarms of exotic fish, the Galapagos Shark, and the Hammerhead shark. Depending on the season, schools of dolphins, whales, and even the sunfish can be a show stealer as well. The best way to experience the underwater world is to travel on the diving safari cruise. It is designed to bring you to the best diving spots such as the outlying Wolf Island and Darwin Island. You can choose from our 8 days diving cruise to/from San Cristóbal Island or the central island of Baltra. We also offer other alternatives and day tours for those who would like to combine land excursions with their diving trips.

Popular Diving Spots

With indented coasts at North Seymour Island and steep rock faces at Mosquera Island, they are the optimal place for you to spot hammerhead sharks, flying mobula rays and many more magnificent sea creatures. When the sea lions are not busy sunbathing, they love frolicking in the waters with divers. The Galapagos shark and the oceanic whitetip sharks are frequently sighted, and large schools of snappers, Carangidae and countless varieties of fish make their rounds around the Galapagos Islands. The excitement does not end as you surface above water. You can catch a glimpse of the vibrant frigatebirds and the pelicans on the islands as well.
 
Wolf Island and Darwin Island are the absolute epitomai if you are looking to engage in shark and large fish diving. With challenging water conditions and strong currents around these islands, it is the centre of attraction for everything big and majestic on the Galapagos Islands. Lurking in the waters are hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks and even the gigantic whale sharks. Dolphins and sea lions often join divers who stop to observe the breathtaking schools of sharks and fish. Massive tuna, schools of mackerel and eagle rays also inhabit the heavenly underwater ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands.

Diving Spots around Isabela Island

There are also several other remarkable diving spots around the largest island of the Galapagos Archipelago, Isabela, in the north.
 
Vicente Roca, located on the northern tip of Isabela, unfolds a very different side of the Galapagos Islands. With cooler mineral-rich waters, it is a prime location for sea lions, penguins, turtles as well as the red-lipped batfish discovered by Darwin. The mola sunfish frequent this area regularly as well.
 
Cousin Rock Island and Bartolomé Island are well known for their impressive small marine wildlife. They host delicate seahorses, glistening angelfish, and a variety of slugs. You can also observe the golden cow-nose rays and eagle rays gliding swiftly by, or even cross path with the massive Galapagos sharks. Also, the islands are also home to turtles and schools of barracuda.
 
Cape Douglas is an iconic diving location near Fernandina Island for spotting marine iguanas grazing on the rocks and beach or underwater among seaweeds. The Iguanas often sunbathe on the beach to heat up their bodies due to colder water temperatures. They also enjoy spitting seawater out of their nose, which is a somewhat bewildering sight. Turtles and sea lions are also found here.

When is the best time for diving in the Galapagos Islands?

As various exciting things are happening in the underwater world during different seasons, the best time for diving depends on your preferences, what you want to experience and capture with your camera. Diving and snorkelling in Galapagos Islands are indeed a once in a lifetime experience.
 

Summer months (January to June)

The summer months have the longest daylight and the waters are rather calm. Occasional heavy showers will also be expected as the temperature remains between 25-35°. On the western side of Isabela Island, the water temperatures are at a comfortable level of 23-25°c. Water temperatures at outlying islands like Darwin Island and Wolf Island are usually between 24-27°C.
 

Winter months (July to December)

The cold Humboldt current flowing in from Antarctica brings down the temperature in the Galapagos Islands. With colder water temperatures come stronger winds and choppier waves. Temperatures are around 20-25°C during this season. This is the time where whale sharks return, and their numbers increase dramatically with the colder water currents. Diving with these majestic creatures is an experience you would not want to miss out.
 
Every season has its own advantages and as far as the weather goes, information provided about each season can only serve as a rough guideline. It is possible that January is still rather cold and the summer heat lingers into August.
 
While large fishes and sea lions are sighted all year round, all forms of animal sightings cannot be certain or guaranteed. Of course, the longer time you spend on the Galapagos Islands, the higher your chances are to encounter the fascinating marine creatures of the underwater world.

Travelling with Diving Equipment

“Which diving equipment is allowed in-flight?”

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by both professional and casual divers. Tips and tricks for packing your diving equipment and bringing them onboard according to airline guidelines can be answered by us.
 
Further readings and details on travelling and specifically diving at the Galapagos can be found in “Dive and Travel Galapagos”, a book by Steve Rosenberg and Greg Bassett. Information about sustainable tourism and the challenges which the Galapagos ecosystem face can also be found in the following book “Science and Conservation in the Galapagos Islands: Frameworks & Perspectives” by Stephen J. Walsh, Carlos F. Mena.
 
We are eager to answer any further enquiries you may have and help you put together an unrivalled diving trip in the Galapagos Islands.

Diving Tours

Diving with a whale shark

Galapagos Dive Tour: Compact Santa Cruz Return

Duration: 5 - 7 days
Highlights: World Famous Dive Sites, 6 Dives, 5 Islands, Mosquera and Daphne Islands, Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz Highlands, Sharks - Rays, Sea Lions

A minimum of 6 Dives in 6 Locations. 5 Islands with Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station

From 1320,- USD
Price per person
Sea Lions

Galapagos for Divers - Daily Tours

Duration: 7 - 8 days
Highlights: World Famous Dive Sites, Different Sites Every Day, Night Diving, Optional Land Excursions, Rays, Iguanas and Sharks, From East to West, San Cristóbal to Isabela, Huge Hammerhead Shark Swarms

World class diving sites and pristine beaches. The Galapagos Islands are primed for ticking things off your bucket list.

From 2490,- USD
Price per person
Exterior view

Cruise onboard the "Blue Spirit" to/from Baltra

Duration: 4 - 8 days
Highlights: €€€, Luxurious Yacht , Outdoor area , 16 Passengers , 10 Cabins , Kayaks , Snorkeling equipment

Explore the Galapagos Archipelago onboard the "Blue Spirit"

From 2960,- USD
Price per person
Beautiful Seafloor

Galapagos Dive Tours with Darwin and Wolf

Duration: 8 - 8 days
Highlights: Dive boat, World famous Darwin and Wolf, Nortada or Humboldt, Aggressor or Lonesome George, Sharks and rays, Isabela North, Experienced diving guides, Majestic Explorer

Discover the most exotic dives in the Galapagos Marine Reserve on a unique diving cruise

From 4230,- USD
Price per person
Fever of Stingrays

Galapagos Dive Tour: San Cristóbal Return Cruises

Duration: 8 - 8 days
Highlights: Diving safaris to Darwin and Wolf, Diving cruises, "Mecca of sharks", Various Dives Each Day, Colorful Fish Schools, Large Fevers of Stingrays

Discover the most beautiful places of the unique marine reserve during an unforgettable diving cruise.

From 5910,- USD
Price per person

✪ Diving Tours ✪

Diving with a whale shark

Galapagos Dive Tour: Compact Santa Cruz Return

Duration: 5 - 7 days
Highlights: World Famous Dive Sites, 6 Dives, 5 Islands, Mosquera and Daphne Islands, Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz Highlands, Sharks - Rays, Sea Lions

A minimum of 6 Dives in 6 Locations. 5 Islands with Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station

From 1320,- USD
Price per person
Sea Lions

Galapagos for Divers - Daily Tours

Duration: 7 - 8 days
Highlights: World Famous Dive Sites, Different Sites Every Day, Night Diving, Optional Land Excursions, Rays, Iguanas and Sharks, From East to West, San Cristóbal to Isabela, Huge Hammerhead Shark Swarms

World class diving sites and pristine beaches. The Galapagos Islands are primed for ticking things off your bucket list.

From 2490,- USD
Price per person
Exterior view

Cruise onboard the "Blue Spirit" to/from Baltra

Duration: 4 - 8 days
Highlights: €€€, Luxurious Yacht , Outdoor area , 16 Passengers , 10 Cabins , Kayaks , Snorkeling equipment

Explore the Galapagos Archipelago onboard the "Blue Spirit"

From 2960,- USD
Price per person
Beautiful Seafloor

Galapagos Dive Tours with Darwin and Wolf

Duration: 8 - 8 days
Highlights: Dive boat, World famous Darwin and Wolf, Nortada or Humboldt, Aggressor or Lonesome George, Sharks and rays, Isabela North, Experienced diving guides, Majestic Explorer

Discover the most exotic dives in the Galapagos Marine Reserve on a unique diving cruise

From 4230,- USD
Price per person
Fever of Stingrays

Galapagos Dive Tour: San Cristóbal Return Cruises

Duration: 8 - 8 days
Highlights: Diving safaris to Darwin and Wolf, Diving cruises, "Mecca of sharks", Various Dives Each Day, Colorful Fish Schools, Large Fevers of Stingrays

Discover the most beautiful places of the unique marine reserve during an unforgettable diving cruise.

From 5910,- USD
Price per person