Liveaboard diving in the Galapagos Islands has gained legendary status in recent years and is considered by many divers to be the best liveaboard diving destinations in the world.
This group of volcanic islands, formed around 5 million years ago, are located toughly 600 miles (960km) west of mainland Ecuador.
The archipelago consists of 13 main islands, and 6 smaller islands (Santa Cruz, Isabela, San Cristobal, Baltra, Floreana, Fernandina, Espanola, Genovesa, Santiago, North Seymour, Bartolome, Darwin, Wolf, Pinta, Rabida, Santa Fe, South Plaza, Marchena, Pinzon) and a number of smaller islets and outcrops. Their combined land mass is is almost 5,000 sq miles.
The Galapagos Islands are famed for the excellent dive sites of Darwin and Wolf islands. The unique outline of Darwin’s Arch is clearly visible as you approach.
Diving here is considered advanced due to strong currents, varying visibility and cold water. Divers must be comfortable in these conditions, as well as have very good buoyancy and be able to do negative back-roll entries and descents from motorised dive tenders and dinghies.
Recommended requirements include 50-100 open water dives, experience in currents, ability in removing gear in water and ability in getting into small boats in choppy seas. A 5-7mm wetsuit is recommended.
As a precautionary measure divers are advised to carry high visibility smb, power horn or whistle, old cd as heliograph to attract the attention of your liveaboard. Ear infections are common
Marine life in the Galapagos is fantastic. One of the most exciting things about diving in the Galapagos Islands is never knowing what you will see from one dive to the next. Due to the remote location, many species are endemic to the islands, and cannot be seen anywhere else.
The species diversity and abundance of fish are breath-taking. The upwellings carry nutrient rich water from the deep which attract an great number of marine life, from smaller species to pelagics. Whalesharks, huge schools of Hammerhead Sharks, Manta Rays and Eagle Rays are all sighted regularly.
Schooling hammerheads are frequent visitors to Darwin and Wolf islands.
Best Time To Dive
Galapagos are a year round diving destination, although conditions will very dependent on the season.
The calmest waters are between December and March/April, but this is also the wettest season.
The best visibility is between October and November.
Whaleshark season is from June to November.
Manta Ray season is December to May.
Although the Galapagos Islands sit very close to the equator the climate is influenced by ocean currents that swirl around them. The Humboldt current transports cold water from the deep, carrying it upwards to the surface as it hits the underwater seamounts. While the surface temperature of the water can be warm the thermoclines at depth can be very cold indeed.
Wet Season – January to June
Air Temperature is 30 / 86
Water temperature 22-28 (72-82)
Visibility 9-24m (30-80ft)
Dry Season – July to December
Air temperature is 26 deg C (80 deg f)
Water temperature 22-28 (72-82)
Visibility 20-30m (65-100ft)
How To Get There
An domestic flight is required to reach Galapagos Islands. International flights arrive into Guayaquil (GYE) or Quito (UIO). We STRONGLY recommend arriving into Guayaquil and arranging an overnight stay at a local hotel. We can help organise all flights and hotels that are required. Please note that your are permitted a single checked in luggage bag of 22kgs (48.5lbs) and a carry on luggage of 8kgs (18lbs). Extra bags can be checked in for roughly $1 per kilo (2.2lbs).
All Galapagos Liveaboards, with the exception of one, depart from San Cristobal (SCY). The other sets sail from Baltra (GPS).
You must have a current passport that is valid for at least 6 months. Additionally you must have enough funds to support yourself for the duration of your visit and have an return airline ticket.
Most arrival/departure taxes are included in your ticket unless you purchased your ticket a long time ago, prior to the implementation of any new airport taxes. If new taxes become regulation, you may need to pay extra at the airport as the airlines do not grandfather pricing.