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Diving the Galápagos Islands | Ecuador
Galápagos sealion
Barnaclebill Blenny

For many, scuba diving in the Galápagos is a dream come true as this is a destination where the marine life is big with a capital B. You can swim with hammerheads, do your safety stop surrounded by 20 silky sharks and admire eagle rays on almost every dive. There are masses of playful sea lions, fur seals and some delightful smaller creatures – seahorses, morays and even nudibranchs.

There are dive sites around most islands and the conditions vary depending on where you are. The west catches the cold Cromwell current so conditions can be tough and change quickly while in the south a different set of currents attract more unusual fish species. The northern area is where you find Wolf and Darwin islands, often regarded as the pinnacle of diving this region although the conditions there are not for the fainthearted.

What makes the Galápagos so very special though, is the what is above the water line. You see even more seals on land, along with the marine iguanas and crabs, giant tortoises and the unique landscapes and birds.

Galápagos dive photo gallery Scuba diving features

Marine Life Sealions
Hammerhead sharks
Galápagos sharks
Eagle rays
Top dive site Darwin Island
Seasons the warmer months are December - May, June to December is very cold
Visibility 10 – 40 metres
Water temperature 13 – 28º C
Deco chambers Puerto Ayora
Flights All major airlines to Quito via the USA followed by Aerogal to the Galápagos
Information Contact Quasar Nautica for up-to-date information
Dive permits
Liveaboard diving is now highly restricted with a only a small number of boats having permits. Check that your intended boat has the relevant paperwork. Shore based diving is easy to organise.
Getting to the Galápagos is not a cheap exercise as the flights from mainland Ecuador to the islands are pricey. However, the islands are a once in a lifetime experience that you simply must have and, if you combine that with the mainland, it's an incredible trip. Quito, the capital is an amazing city full of fascinating history.
More than any other country, diving in the Galápagos requires a high level of understanding local conditions. The water can be icy at times and it's never dead calm. Currents and surges are an every-dive occurrence and you will find yourself clinging to rocks frequently. It's challenging, exciting and the rewards can be very, very high.

Animal encounters vary radically due to wide seasonal differences. Whalesharks start appearing at the end of May and mantas arrive in the summer. There are a huge variety and number of sharks and sometimes there are whales. A couple of animals are a constant – the sealions and the hammerheads.

This could never be regarded as easy diving. We met a lot of people there who, frankly, couldn't cope. We travelled in the summer and were told that the water would be about 24º, but it was mostly between 13 and 19º. No matter what anyone says, take a 7mm wetsuit or a drysuit and some very good gloves.
Complete reports on this area are in
Diving the World.

Order the book direct from SeaFocus here.

The digital edition is on iTunes.

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