Scuba Diving in Galapagos
Follow Darwin’s exploration of the Galapagos Islands and dive in the unique selection of big pelagic fish that this location offers.
Galapagos is one of the most dreamed scuba destinations, unique destination to see big pelagic fish and animated schools of reef fish. Galapagos Islands are well preserved thanks to the authorities that control the number of guests that visit the islands yearly and by closely inspecting that no one introduces new species that could threaten the remote and fragile ecosystem.
Galapagos is an archipelago of 18 main islands and hundreds of rocks and minor islands. All the islands are part of the national park and biological marine reserve. In all islands there are just few little villages where the hotels and houses are grouped, the rest of the islands are covered by vegetation and it’s only possible to explore few preset paths, always accompanied by an authorized guide. This is aimed to prevent – or at least reduce – the environmental impact.
These marvelous islands lay 920 km west of the Ecuadorian coast, they straddle the equator and are part of the hammerheads triangle, formed between Galapagos, Malpelo and Cocos Islands.
Arriving and moving around
Around the island it’s either possible to walk – distances are fairly short – or to move around with a taxi, that are usually quite cheap. If you need to move between islands, your main option is to use what they call a “Lancia”, or a “wanna-be” speedboat that is far from comfortable. The other solution would be hiring a seaplane, obviously it would be a quite more expensive option.
In Galapagos the local time is GMT +7, one hour more than the rest of Ecuador.
Currency and prices
US Dollar is the official currency and even though the facilities are rather basic, the prices don’t reflect this minimalistic approach. The cost per service will result a bit too high than expected but still remaining reasonable.
Best time to go and dive
Galapagos Islands are an all-year-round destination. It depends on your preference of time of traveling.
December to May
This is the warm and rainy season. Both water and air are warmer, even if in this period quick but intense showers happen almost daily. This is also the time of the year when sun lovers would enjoy their time as best.
Due to the warmer water there aren’t as many fish as during the rest of the year. This is the time when most of the animals mate. You may enjoy the fascinating mating rituals of many land birds. The unique nature of the Galapagos Islands provides seabirds with a prominent place in the local fauna.
Also turtles, sea lions and land tortoise mate in this season. Tortoises, after whom the Islands are named, have particularly sensitive mating methods as some giant males are weighing up to 60 stones (approx. 380 Kg) and have to be careful not to crush the female.
February to April is when the sea is at its calmest and flowers start to blossom, providing the islands with stunning color brushstrokes.
The water temperature in this season ranges from 22 to 30 degrees Celsius. A 5mm wetsuit to a semi-dry suit is recommended.
If you like warm water and sun, this is the best time for you.
June to November
This is the “cold” and dry season. The Humboldt Current brings its cold water, rich of nutriment. This attracts fish and birds. Days are mainly cloudy but rain is very rare. The wind is slightly stronger and sea is rougher.
The water temperature in this season ranges from 15 to 24 degrees Celsius. A semi-dry to a dry suit is recommended.
If you’re a demanding diver that doesn’t fear cold water this is the best time for you.
Scuba Diving in Galapagos
Diving in just amazing, whether you like big pelagic or huge schools of fish, this is the destination for you. It’s not the closest destination for many, nor it’s probably the most comfortable trip, but every single dive you do, you’ll be happy you have travelled so far.
Many dive sites in Galapagos are fairly easy and moderately protected from currents. Gordon Rocks, Darwin, Wolf and other sites could be, depending on the day, quite challenging though.
All the dives are drift dives, conducted from the boat. There are many wall dives around the coastline and rocks.
The variety and abundance of sea life is impressive. Depending on the location and the period you chose to go, you may come across sea lions, hammerheads, black-tip and white-tip reef sharks, galapagos sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, whale sharks, killer whales, sea iguanas, penguins and sea horses. Just to mention a few.
What else to do
Galapagos is also a great destination for snorkeling, there are many accessible beaches and snorkeling tours around the island. Sea lions and iguanas are laying around everywhere, grab your mask to explore the areas and meet many, many surprises.
A worth mentioning snorkeling excursion in Isabela is called Los Tunneles. Lava rocks formed underwater tunnels that host white-tip sharks, huge turtles, penguins and sea lions.
Giant land tortoise, boobies and many more species live the islands; Have a walk around and don’t forget your camera. You might come upon the most strange, sexy dance of the blue-footed boobies in their mating ritual!
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