DIVING CONDITIONS

When deciding if your skills are sufficient and your physical condition adequate for the Galapagos, keep in mind that the diving is varied and demanding. In general, Galapagos diving is mainly for advanced divers because of the extreme conditions – cold water, strong currents, and limited visibility. Nevertheless, there are very good sites for intermediate divers. However, We strongly recommend that divers visiting the Galapagos have more than 50 logged dives. It is also preferable that divers have had some experience with rough surface conditions, low visibility, and strong currents; and that they have had some exposure to diving in cold water, requiring thicker wetsuits and hoods.

currents galapagos  | Currents

One of the most challenging aspects of diving in the Galapagos is dealing with currents that can be too strong to swim against (2 to 4 knots at times). Overall, expect that currents will be moderate to strong. At most dive sites, the strength of currents is constantly changing, sometimes in the middle of the dive.

  | Drift Diving

Because there are currents throughout the islands, and dives usually follow the flow of the current, most dives in the Galapagos are considered drift dives.

surge galapagos  | Surge

Whenever current or swells are present, expect to find a surge in the shallow areas. After surfacing at the end of the dive, swim away from the island of rocks, out toward the blue so the dinghy can reach you easily, without worrying about being pushed onto the rocks by the surge.

visibility  | Visibility

Although there can be 30m (100ft) visibility in the Galapagos, more often it is in the 10-21m (30-70ft) range.

depth  | Depth

Most dive profiles are in the range of 6-24m (20-80ft), although depths at most sites easily reach or exceed 40m (130ft). However, the greatest variety of life and activity is normally between the surface and 18m (60ft), so there is no need to dive deep in the Galapagos. The only time this general rule changes is during El Niño years when hammerheads and other sharks stay deeper, following their food sources and avoiding warmer water at shallower depths.

  | Water Temperature

Surface water temperature ranges from from18-25°C (64-77°F). In contrast, temperatures at depth can drop to 13°C (56°F) and thermoclines (generally occurring between depths of 12-18m (40-60ft) can result in a sudden drop in temperature by as much as 6-9°C within a few feet. You will frequently feel these changes in water temperature as you pass through upwelling of the deep ocean currents during a dive.

  | Wetsuits / Drysuits

Layering is the best plan for diving in the Galapagos. 7 mm wetsuit with a lightweight hood, booties, and gloves is a good option or a dry suit with a full 5 mm hood will keep most divers warm and toasty.

DIVING SITES

| Baltra North East

(Checkout dive)

There’s so much to see at North Seymour, you might want to stick around for more than one dive. The gradual rocky slope that extends from Seymour Island’s northeastern shore provides habitat yellowtail grunts, blue striped snapper and salemas. You might also spot groups of eagle rays, marble rays, manta rays, stingrays, jacks, hammerheads and, on a good dive, marlins. Don’t forget to point your camera up every once in awhile. Because of the number of fish found here, you can often observe blue-footed boobies diving in and swimming down to catch a meal.

Aqua Yacht Galapagos Islands liveaboards
bartolome diving sea lion aqua yacht

| The Bartholomew point – Bartholomew Island

(1 Dive)

Combining amazing rock formations with some of the best marine species in the area, Bartholomew Point should be on any list of the best dive sites in the Galapagos Islands. Bait balls are sometimes seen in the area. These attract Galapagos penguins (the only penguin found north of the Equator), sea lions, pelagic fish, white-tipped reef sharks and a variety of rays. When you’re not in the middle of a bait ball, you might also see sea turtles, a variety of reef fish, manta rays and curious hammerheads in the blue.

| Cousin’s Rock

(2 Dives)

Most dive profiles are in the range of 6-24m (20-80ft), although depths at most sites easily reach or exceed 40m (130ft). However, the greatest variety of life and activity is normally between the surface and 18m (60ft), so there is no need to dive deep in the Galapagos. The only time this general rule changes is during El Niño years when hammerheads and other sharks stay deeper, following their food sources and avoiding warmer water at shallower depths.

cousin rock galapagos aqua yacht
wolf island diving galapagos aqua yacht

| Wolf Island

(7 Dives)

Wolf is a small, uninhabited island and one of the most iconic scuba diving sites in Galápagos. The island is inhabited by birds flying in the high cliffs, sea lions also play on the waveworn rocks below. But it is beneath that treacherous shoreline where the true treasures of Wolf Island lies; this is the only place where you will get a chance to swim along with the massive wale sharks. Also in the spot, you may find schooling hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, silkies, eagle and mobula rays, bluefin tuna, turtles, and thousands of reef fish, and of course expect an amazing whistle of dolphins swimming in the place.

| Darwin Island

(4 Dives)

On the far outer reaches of the archipelago, Darwin Island and its famous dive site, Darwin’s Arch, are the highlight of any liveaboard tour in the Galapagos. Manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, eagle rays and the occasional whale shark wow divers with their presence. The real showstopper are the huge number of sharks brought in by the strong current. You’re likely see schools of hammerheads, silky sharks, black-tip sharks and Galapagos sharks. All of this at an average depth of just 30 feet (9 meters)!

darwins arc galapagos diving
vicente roca galapagos aqua yacht

| Vicente Roca Point

(1 Dive)

On the far outer reaches of the archipelago, Darwin Island and its famous dive site, Darwin’s Arch, are the highlight of any liveaboard tour in the Galapagos. Manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, eagle rays and the occasional whale shark wow divers with their presence. The real showstopper are the huge number of sharks brought in by the strong current. You’re likely see schools of hammerheads, silky sharks, black-tip sharks and Galapagos sharks. All of this at an average depth of just 30 feet (9 meters)!

| Cape Douglas

(1 Dive)

The Cape Douglas dive site is located northwest of Fernandina Island. It has an active shield volcano, La Cumbre, which has been subject to eruptions within the last ten years. Flightless cormorants have a nesting site here.

These amazing birds evolved to live on this barren island by learning to swim and hunt underwater, instead of flying, due to the lack of land predators. Marine iguanas have also evolved to survive on these islands making them completely distinctive to the region. The island is also home to a great number of sea lions, turtles, pelicans and Galapagos penguins.

cape douglas galapagos
Roca Blanca Galapagos Aqua liveaboards

| Roca Blanca

(1 Dive)

For divers, Roca Blanca is a mecca for sea life, much like the Arch at Darwin Island. Located on the southeastern coast of Isabela Island, this new area promises to reveal some of the very best diving the central islands has to offer.

This area is rarely visited by divers and is recognized for encounters with six different species of sharks, manta and eagle rays, sea lions, moray eels, lobsters, and a prolific population of tropical fishes. Most unusual, the sites at Roca Blanca also offer the occasional opportunity to encounter enormous bait balls and marauding billfish in action.