Top 5 dive sites in Galapagos for adventure seekers


The Galapagos Islands have many attractions, but many of them are underwater. People from all over the world come to the Galapagos exclusively to dive or snorkel. This is because a total of five ocean currents come together on the shores of the Galapagos, creating a series of natural phenomena such as different water temperatures and a spectacular outcrop rich in nutrients. This phenomenon makes these seas one of the favorites among many animals that inhabit open waters and that otherwise would be difficult to find together in one place.

Animals such as sea turtles, eagle rays, sea lions, stingrays, coral sharks are frequently seen while snorkeling and diving in the islands. Other animals such as penguins, hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, dolphins or the whale shark itself are only visible in some places.

Here are some of the best places to practice diving in the Galapagos. Some of these sites are accessible with day tours from one of the inhabited islands, others are only accessible through cruises dedicated exclusively to diving.

There is also the possibility of hiring a naturalist cruise with diving permission to enjoy the marine life and all the landscapes and wildlife that the Galapagos offers.

Cousins

On the east coast of Santiago, near Bartolomé, you can find this triangle-shaped that is all that remains of an eroded crater. The dive is done by diving in reefs with many endemic corals.

While diving here you can find Pacific seahorses, barracudas, sea lions, Galapagos sharks, white-tip sharks, sea turtles, reef fish, rays and a variety of invertebrates and mollusks.

  • Recommended level: Beginner – Intermediate
  • Is it possible to dive here with a daily tour? Yes, from Santa Cruz Island.
  • What cruises include diving on this island? M/Y Nortada, M/Y Aqua, M/Y Humboldt Explorer, M/Y Passion, M/Y Agressor Liveaboard, M/Y Majestic Explorer.

Gordon Rocks

This dive site is famous for the banks of hammerhead sharks that can regularly be found there. Strong currents carry dozens of these predators to a relatively confined area, which makes it a great place to approach sharks. Locals call this site “the washing machine” due to the strong currents that carry divers through pinnacles and channels.

  • Recommended level: Advanced
  • Is it possible to dive here with a daily tour? Yes, from Santa Cruz Island.
  • What cruises include diving on this island? None.

Darwin’s Arch

This site is found on Darwin Island, one of the most remote places in the archipelago and the one on the to-do list for every diving enthusiast. Manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, eagle rays, and the great whale shark are some of the marine animals that can be seen in this area.

While one of the main attractions is the whale shark, which can be observed occasionally, so are the banks of hammerhead sharks, black tip sharks and Galapagos sharks. All these animals can be found without the need to reach great depths.

  • Recommended level: Intermediate – Advanced
  • Is it possible to dive here with a daily tour? No.
  • What cruises include diving on this island? M/Y Nortada, M/Y Aqua, M/Y Humboldt Explorer, M/Y Agressor Liveaboard, M/Y Majestic Explorer.

Punta Espejo

This spectacular site is located on Marchena Island, west of Genovesa. Marchena has no land visits due to its volcanic activity and three quarters of the island are covered with black lava and fumaroles.

Underwater, however, it is possible to say that it is one of the best places in Galapagos for diving. Punta Espejo is known for having dolphins and hammerhead sharks, as well as for the vast numbers of coral heads, which allows a much greater concentration of coral than the rest of the archipelago.

  • Recommended level: Beginner – Intermediate
  • Is it possible to dive here with a daily tour? No.
  • What cruises include diving on this island? M / Y Passion

Wolf Island

About 150 kilometers from the center of the Galapagos Islands is Wolf Island, a small island that can only be accessed by diving cruises. Next to Darwin Island, it is one of the best diving places not only in the Galapagos but also in the whole world.

Hundreds of hammerhead sharks, dolphins, Galapagos sharks, rays, bluefin tuna, turtles and thousands of reef fish populate the underwater world on Wolf Island. On some occasions, the most fortunate can see humpback whales from the boat while relaxing with a drink after diving.

  • Recommended level: Intermediate – Advanced
  • Is it possible to dive here with a daily tour? Yes, from Santa Cruz Island.
  • What cruises include diving on this island? M/Y Nortada, M/Y Aqua, M/Y Humboldt Explorer, M/Y Agressor Liveaboard, M/Y Majestic Explorer.

Carlos Beate is the Commercial Manager at Andando Tours. Andando Tours offers exclusive traveling experiences, specializing in sailing around the Galapagos Islands and overland along the magnificent Avenue of Volcanoes on the Ecuadorian Andes.

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Comments (3)

  1. Ed says:

    This is a really helpful format. I like the way that the helpful questions get you quickly to the information that you really need.

    It’s always been one of my ambitions to dive around the Galápagos Islands and this post has given me a big prod that I need to get it all sorted!

  2. Ben says:

    Not quite sure about Gordon Rocks. Anywhere nick-named “The Washing Machine” sounds a bit turbulent. What does it say that there are no regular cruises to the site? Then again, what is life without a challenge?

  3. Bob Brown says:

    I’ve never tried diving. Now that the kids have gone maybe it is time that I tried a few new hobbies. These photos make it look like another world. I know that you have to do a lot of learning but I need to get out of my comfort zone.

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