| The specialized magazine Rodale's Scuba Diving rated the Galapagos Islands as the best destination in the world for big animal encounters. The diving
conditions in the Galapagos are ruled by the convergence of six rich oceanic currents
that allows for a large diversity in marine species, many of which
Manta rays, sea turtles, sea lions, dolphins, whales and hammerhead sharks will accompany you on this trip.
What is "Scuba"diving?
It is the act of entering into the water and remaining below the surface
using a Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
Entering into the world of diving means penetrating an environment
to which we are not adapted. Throughout history, diving has made scientific, geological, archaeological
and historical contributions. It has also turned into an activity
of great attraction for tourists. The submarine habitat provides tranquillity,
diversion, adventure and aesthetic beauty characterized by a wondrous
flora and fauna.
Levels and recommended
times of the year
There are three main options for diving in the Galapagos Islands: day
trips where all of the equipment is provided by the operating company.
Boats generally leave from Puerto Ayora or Puerto Baquerizo
Moreno; Scuba diving cruises on "live-aboards;" and lastly, for qualified divers to bring their
own equipment. Local operators provide transport and guides.
Diving trips available in the Galapagos range from beginners, which includes diving courses
of a few days in duration, up to advanced, for divers with a lot of
The best time of the year for diving is from November
to April, during which time the ocean is pretty calm and the temperature
of the water is warmer.
What to take?
If you take your own equipment, don't forget: wet suit, regulator,
buoyancy control device, fins, mask, hoses and diving computer for
controlling internal and external conditions.
In Galapagos, there are almost 30 diving sites approved by the National
Park Service. Among the most visited are:
Santa Fé Island
Underneath the tranquil waters one can enjoy caves and rocky reefs
while enjoying games with the fishes, manta rays, eels and sharks.
North Seymour Island
Species of large proportions can be found here such as the giant manta
rays, sea lions, reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, humpback whales and
a wide variety of invertebrates.
There are several small islets around this site each with their own
special characteristics and scenery. Enderby has sharks, tunas and
sea turtles. Champion has a small crater with colonies of sea lions
and boobies nesting in the crater. Other small islands are the home
of whales, sharks, giant manta rays, sea lions, sea horses, eels,
as well as several types of invertebrates.
This area is wavy with aggressive currents, recommended exclusively
for experienced divers. It is famous for its hammerhead sharks, as
well as for its barracudas, sea turtles, octopi, moray eels, invertebrates
and large whales.
Darwin & Wolf
These two removed islands are available for charter trips only and are consiered the best places to see whales and other large marine animals.
In the last few years, scuba diving in Ecuador has extended its
boundaries. Not only is it available in the Galapagos but it is now offered on
Ecuador's Pacific coast in the Province of Guayas and in the National Park
Recommendations and Prohibitions
The currents in Galapagos can be very strong. Many sites are recommended
for intermediate to advanced divers only. Never dive alone and pay
attention to all of the indications provided by your guide.
Always consult specialized guides for the conditions of the currents. The diver should possess enough skill
to manage in cold water with difficult visibility and sudden changes
in currents. Due to the compression to which you are exposed, divers should
be alert to any possibility to be affected by this. It is recommended
that you stay an extra day in the Islands to recover from the dives.
In addition to all of this, the Galapagos National
Park sets forth a series of rules that should be followed to promote
the balance and well being of the ecosystem:
Do not touch the animals
Do not destroy or remove specimens of the marine flora and fauna
Do not take live animals such as coral home as souvenirs.