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Diving in the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s top diving destinations.  People from all over the world come here to see sights which are hard to find elsewhere, and experience wildlife which has evolved with no real reason to fear mankind. On the whole this is recommended for experienced divers only mainly due to strong currents and surges.  You are going to see some amazing marine creatures on any diving trip in the Galapagos, and then of course you have the added advantage of also seeing incredible land wildlife.  This diving trip is hard to beat. 

Highlights of Diving in the Galapagos

The reasons it is so highly recommended for diving include: 
  • The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s most precious and unique natural areas, with an incredible array of wildlife on land and in the sea. 
  • The wildlife has no fear of mankind so you can swim with curious seals and see marine iguanas (the world’s only sea-going lizard) close up. 
  • You can choose between a live-aboard yacht or a land-based diving trip.
  • Large school of manta rays are here from May to November. 
  • There are huge numbers of hammerhead sharks are here all year
  • Whales and whale sharks can be seen from about May to November. 
  • Many of the dive sites provide a challenge to experienced divers
  • Wolf and Darwin are two of the most impressive dive sites. 

Live-aboard dive boats in the Galapagos

We work with about 5 live-aboard dive boats.  You’ll find one of our favourites on this website (the Galapagos Sky), but our full range is on our dedicated website:
These boats are mostly quite small, offering cabin space for between 8 and 16 passengers.  These trips are not for beginners.  They will offer you 3-4 dives per day and there will be dive instructors on board (the number depends on the size of boat).  Most also offer at least a couple of land-based excursions too. 

Day Dives from the Islands

If you don’t want a full week on a dive boat, or you are a less experienced diver, you can stay for a few days on one of the islands such as San Cristobal or Santa Cruz and take day dives to nearby dive sites.  You could follow this with a naturalist cruise for land excursions so you get the best of both worlds. 

Galapagos Diving Seasons

Warm (Manta) Season ”“ December to May
This is the best time for underwater visibility so it is a great time for diving in the Galapagos Islands. It’s a particularly good time to see manta rays of various species, sometimes in schools of up to 200. It’s also a great time to see hammerhead sharks often in huge numbers. 
Cool season ”“ June to November
From July to about December the Humboldt Current brings in colder waters and water temperatures drop to around 16 to 23 degrees. These colder water bring in the world’s largest fish, the whale sharks in greater numbers than normal.  Visibility is not as good as in the warm season but average visibility is 12 to 18 metres for most of the year.
You can find more details on when to visit by checking out this page.

Our dedicated Galapagos Islands website
We have a specialist sister-website all about the Galapagos Islands. If you're considering a trip to the Galapagos for diving or otherwise, you will find that this website, Cruise the Galapagos, gives you a lot more detail, for example:
  • Wide choice of yachts.
  • Diverse holiday suggestions, including diving itineraries. 
  • Dive site maps.
  • Special offers.
Paul Cook
Christine MacDougall
Sinead Bailey

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