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, but nevertheless, there are very good sites for intermediate divers. However, I 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.
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.
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.
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 panga can reach you easily, without worrying about being pushed onto the rocks by the surge.
Although there can be 30m (100ft) visibility in the Galapagos, more often it is in the 10-21m (30-70ft) range.
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.
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.
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.
Baltra North East
(Check out 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 salaams. 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.
The Bartolome Point – Bartolome Island
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.
Perhaps the best intermediate dive in the Galapagos, Cousins
Rock is located off the northeast coast of Santiago Island. The
dive site offers terraced steps that drop down to a sandy bottom at 130 feet (40 meters). The steps are covered in black corals, which make an excellent habitat for the Pacific Seahorse. Under the overhangs created by the “steps,” whitetipped reef sharks, sea turtles and moray eels hang out. Schools of barracuda curiously watch the glint of the scuba tanks, and manta rays and hammerheads are occasionally spotted in the blue. Overall, Cousins Rock is one of the most consistent dive sites in the Galapagos.
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.
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)!
Punta Vicente Roca
Punta Vicente Roca is a sloping wall with several small caves off of Isabela Island. This site reaches a max depth of 88 feet (27 meters) with better conditions found in the cold water below 40 feet (12 meters). While the wall is covered in invertebrates ranging from frogfish to seahorses, the real attraction are the sunfish. Mola mola are often seen along the outside of the wall where these huge fish come to be cleaned.
On your safety stop, look out for diving penguins and playful sea lions. Every minute is an adventure at Punta Vicente Roca.
Cabo (Cape) Douglas dive site is located on the North West side 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.
For divers, Roca Blanca is a mecca for sea life, much like the Arch at Darwin Island. Located on the South East 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 w/ six different species of shark, manta & eagle rays, sea lions, moray eels, lobsters, and a prolific population of “tropicals”. Most unusual, the sites at Roca Blanca also offer the occasional opportunity to encounter enormous bait balls and marauding billfish in action
DAN or (Divers Alert Network)
Diving Insurance is required in order for the passengers to dive with us. Membership in Divers Alert Network (DAN) is highly recommended, and their emergency insurance policy provides excellent help and coverage in case of a dive accident. We as an operator require proof of dive accident insurance along with a copy of Diving license.
A modern SSS PROTESUB, S.A. recompression chamber is operating in Puerto Ayora and it is Part of the worldwide SSS recompression Chamber Network, it is a DAN referral center, and is part of Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS).