Galapagos diving has over 500 species of fish, of which over 80 are endemic to the islands and not found anywhere else in the world.
Galapagos is a group of small volcanic islands off the coast of Ecuador. The islands are recognised worldwide by the diving community as one of the best places to scuba dive. For divers planning to visit the area, the remote islands of Darwin and Wolf are a ‘must dive’ due to the quality, diversity and quantity of marine life at the sites. The Galapagos diving liveaboards are the only way to be able to reach and dive at the islands.
The diving conditions can be a challenge and divers should be comfortable in choppy conditions, cold water and strong currents. Despite these hurdles, the rewards are well worth the effort. Predictable sightings of hammerheads, whale sharks, manta rays, along with many mammals such as sea lions and dolphins are a magnificent reward. Rare treats include sightings of many endemic species only found on your cruise. They include Galapagos sharks and seahorses, marine iguanas and fur seals.
The entire Galapagos Island are under the protection of the marine park and their strict rules. protection is also for terrestrial life on the Galapagos Island.
Take a look at the Liveaboard Cruise options below.
Galapagos Diving - 11 LIVEABOARDS
Danubio Azul liveaboard in Galapagos is 22 metres in length and built for just ten guests in her five cabins to offer a personalised service. Launched in 2016 she is one of the newer cruisers in Galapagos. The alfresco dining area is the perfect setting for relaxing and enjoying a meal with a view, and the sundeck is ideal for between dives. A diving naturalist guide is on every trip to ensure each guest makes the most of the cruise.Book Now
Nemo II in Galapagos islands is the first-class catamaran cruises. Guests stay in beautiful double cabins with private bathrooms. During your trip to Ecuador on board Nemo II, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy delicious cuisine in the form of three plates each day made by the most talented chefs.Book Now
Nortada Liveaboard in Galapagos is offers something rare in the Galapagos. By accommodating only eight guests this leverages encounters with marine wildlife and enhances diver supervision. This results in a safer, more personalised dive experience: a signature product unavailable from any other boat.Book Now
The huge variety and diversity is found here where the ocean currents meet, raises the bar for all other dive destinations.
Shark diving in the Galapagos is well known, but there is so much more also to be found in these diverse waters. With mola mola, sea lions, penguins, whale sharks and iguanas on the list of sightings, the Galapagos marine park is high on all divers lists of places to visit.
Tourist numbers are restricted on Galapagos liveaboards so bookings should be made in advance to ensure your travel dates and requirements.
Best Places to Dive in The Galapagos
The Galapagos liveaboards offer spectacular dives at the famous islands of Darwin and Wolf, considered to be the best diving in the Galapagos itself. They are only accessible to divers via the liveaboards due to the considerable distance from the main islands.
Located to the North of the Galapagos Islands diving here has such tremendous biodiversity it is unique worldwide. Large schools of sharks such as hammerheads, Galapagos, silky and white tips are commonplace, Whale sharks visit in high numbers during the dry season. Rays such as manta, mobula, eagle and cow nose are frequently seen. Impressive sized groupers and batfish complement these marine fish. Mammals are also present in large numbers, with seals and dolphins seen very often on safety stops in the shallow water.
Outside Darwin and Wolf, diving is still impressive with mola mola, penguins, frogfish and seahorses. The shark diving is always at every site.
Best Dive Sites in The Galapagos
On Wolf Island sharks and turtles are commonplace. Hammerhead and white tip reef sharks along with eagle rays are seen at the cave exit. It is possible for divers to shelter from the currents to view the fantastic Galapagos sharks that are often circling the area. The safety stop usually has bottlenose dolphins making an appearance close to the surface.
Not only renowned for the shark encounters but also for the endemic sea lions. This site is the best opportunity to see these amazing creatures up close in the Galapagos. Schooling hammerhead sharks are frequently joined by Galapagos and silky sharks along with tuna and barracuda.
This is the only dive site at Darwin island. Hammerhead sharks parade with the occasional sighting of a Galapagos shark. During the drifting safety stop, sea lions may make a playful appearance.
Punta Vicente Roca
One of the cold water sites, has mola mola along with the red lipped batfish and the rare Galapagos bull shark. If this is not enough, often sea lions and penguins are found here.
There are sea lions, hammerheads and white tip reef sharks, but this site is known for the sightings of various rays.
Manta rays enjoy a cleaning station here in the shallower turbulent water, small schools of mobula rays are often seen as are the cow nose rays.
Galapagos Scuba Diving Highlights
- Common sightings - Hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, whale sharks, turtles, dolphins
- Special sightings - Penguins, seals, seahorses, mola mola, marine iguanas
- Topography - Rocky outcrops, boulders, shady areas, caves
- Visibility - 10- 20m usually can be higher
- General information - In general the dive sites of the Galapagos require guests to have experience of deep diving in choppy conditions with strong currents. Nitrox is highly recommended, especially for Darwin and Wolf dive sites.
- Onboard options - Island visits
Best Time to Go
The Galapagos diving season is divided into two with a wet and dry season, the dates between each blur a little and can change year to year.
The wet season runs January to June, at this time the water temperature is warmer at between 20 and 25 Celsius. There can be periods of spectacularly heavy rain during this time, but they have sunshine either side of the downpours. The sea can be a bit calmer especially for the crossing to Darwin and Wolf.
The dry season is July to December where the water temperature drops to 19 to 23 Celsius. This is usually the busiest time of year with the highest frequency of whale shark sightings occur at this time. Crossings to Darwin and Wolf can be more uncomfortable at this time of year with the seas being more choppy than in the wet season.
A guideline for the best time to visit is usually January to May when the water is warmer, and marine encounters with hammerhead sharks and manta rays are high. Whale sharks are less predictable at this time. The whale shark season is June to November in the Galapagos.
Divers should be prepared for the colder water with adequate exposure protection. Gloves and hoodies are recommended even in the wet season as some sites have cooler water due to oceanic currents and upwellings.
How to Get There
Guests will need to arrive in Ecuador at either Quito or Guayaquil international airports, from there a connecting local flight will arrive at either of the two airports the Galapagos. Please ensure you arrive at the correct airport for your departure.
The majority of the liveaboards have set flight arrivals that they use at the start and end of each trip and have reserved block tickets on these flights. They will be happy to assist with purchasing the tickets on your behalf. If you arrive on a designated flight, the transfers are included in your cruise cost.
Local time vs GMT
What to pack
Food and drink
On entry for most nationalities
Spanish and English is spoken widely
Balta (GPS) and San Cristobal Airport (SCY)
Suncream, lightweight casual clothing, light raincoat, walking boots for land excursions
26 - 31 C daytime, 19 - 24 C evenings
South American flavours with seafood