Galapagos Underwater

Discovering what lies beneath the ocean’s surface is enchanting: shimmering shoals of fish, sea lions, turtles and rays are all so graceful in this watery world.

Really loved the snorkelling off the yacht. We averaged about two snorkelling trips a day to various locations including deep sea and going around the rocks off the beach. We swam with sea lions, turtles, sharks and the most amazing diversity of fish. Wonderful experience.

  • Dolphin in the Galapagos Islands © sharptoyou,Shutterstock

    Dolphin in the Galapagos Islands

  • Diving in the Galapagos Islands © Shutterstock

    Diving in the Galapagos Islands

  • Manta rays in the Galapagos Islands © Shutterstock

    Manta rays in the Galapagos Islands

  • Swimming with turtles in the Galapagos Islands © Shutterstock

    Swimming with turtles in the Galapagos Islands

  • A shoal of hammerhead sharks, Galapagos Islands © Shutterstock

    A shoal of hammerhead sharks, Galapagos Islands

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What you see on land in the Galapagos is only part of the story. The ocean waters are replete with life from darting fish to graceful rays, sinister-looking reef sharks to curious sea lions. It’s impossible not to be drawn to this world. The often clear and calm waters of the Galapagos provide perfect conditions for would-be marine explorers and there are several ways you can experience underwater Galapagos, any of which can be incorporated into your holiday.

  • Liveaboard dive cruise:  For the experienced diver the best option is a dedicated diving cruise offering up to four daily dives including night dives at a selection of sites. Wolf and Darwin islands are widely acknowledged as the prime diving sites in the Galapagos and only accessible by liveaboard boats due to their remote location. During your dives you can expect to encounter rays, hammerhead sharks, tuna, dolphin and, in season, whale sharks. The boat carries the entire array of scuba equipment and dives are conducted by an experienced instructor and a divemaster. Shore excursions, swimming and snorkelling stops add variety and the boat is your comfy home for the week.
  • Day trip dives:  If you prefer a land-based holiday you can take part in diving trips organised by a scuba dive centre. You join the private dive guide and other divers as you board the boat trip to the day’s designated site where you have a couple of dives. All gear is provided, as are refreshments and lunch. You need to be an experienced diver due to potentially challenging conditions, though scuba courses are available for novices and inexperienced divers. There’s usually a different site each day so if you have more than one day’s diving you’ll be exploring a number of locations.
  • Favourite snorkelling spots:  Snorkelling is an easy way to gain access to the underwater world and even beginners need only minimal instruction. Don a mask, snorkel and pair of fins and you’re ready! There are seasonal variations in water temperature, visibility and the volume of marine life but at any time of year there’s plenty to see. You can snorkel off beaches and coves with equipment provided by hotels and watersports centres. Many yachts carry snorkelling gear and set time aside so you can enjoy some underwater exploration during your cruise.
  • Underwater in the dry:  You don’t need to miss out on marine exploration if you’re a non-swimmer or prefer not to get wet. Some boats, particularly the larger ships, carry glass-bottom boats or pangas allowing you to remain comfortably dry as you watch fish, rays, turtles and other sea creatures in the ocean water beneath you. The glass gives you a clear view and your naturalist guide can help you identify all that you see.
Galapagos Underwater map pin

Galapagos Underwater

Dolphin in the Galapagos Islands

Discovering what lies beneath the ocean’s surface is enchanting: shimmering shoals of fish, sea lions, turtles and rays are all so graceful in this watery world.

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