The Galapagos Islands

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Photo of part of the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago nestled in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador, beckon divers with their unparalleled marine biodiversity and pristine underwater landscapes. From majestic marine iguanas grazing on rocky shores to playful sea lions darting through kelp forests, the Galapagos offers an underwater world unlike any other.

How To Get To The Galapagos

The only way to get to the Galapagos islands is to fly. Visitors can fly to the mainland of Ecuador, to airports in either Guayaquil or Quito. From here, a second flight can be taken to either Seymour Island or San Cristobal Airport on the islands.

It is not possible to reach the islands by cruise or boat.

Biodiversity Is What Makes The Galapagos Special

These volcanic islands, renowned for their unique wildlife and the pivotal role they played in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, are also home to an extraordinary underwater world teeming with life.

The Galapagos’ exceptional biodiversity, a result of its isolation and unique environmental conditions, has transformed the archipelago into a world-class diving destination. With over 1,300 marine species recorded, including over 30% found nowhere else on Earth, the Galapagos offers divers an unparalleled opportunity to explore a diverse underwater realm.

Here are just a few of the marine species that are endemic to this region:

  • Galapagos Four-Eyed Blenny
  • Gulf Cuskeel
  • Odd Highhat
  • Finless Eel
  • Mystery Goby
  • Blackspot Porgy
  • Bicolor False Moray
  • Galapagos Razorfish
  • Marine Iguanas

On land, visitors are amazed by the Giant Tortoise, Flightless Cormorant, Galapagos Penguins, Lava Lizards, and more than 13 different species of finch.

The biodiversity here has resulted in the islands being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national park. The archipelago’s fragile ecosystems are carefully protected to ensure the preservation of its unique biodiversity.

Should Beginner Divers Visit The Galapagos?

No, in general, the Galapagos Islands are not a good diving destination for beginner divers.

While many dive sites are suitable for beginners, the most famous locations, like Darwin and Wolf, are challenging. Reachable only by liveaboard, strong currents at these sites can create strenuous conditions. Our team believes that divers should have at least 100 dives in a variety of conditions before traveling here.

Since this is a once or twice in a lifetime trip for many divers, our team suggests waiting until you have experience and additional certifications before booking a trip to the Galapagos.

However, if you’re still determined to visit the Galapagos as a beginner diver, here are some dive sites you may enjoy:

  1. Sante Fe: Here you can see massive schools of fish, sea lions, turtles, and whitetip reef sharks.
  2. Daphne Minor: This is a wall dive that provides ample opportunity to see Manta Rays!
  3. Pinzon: A small island located off the western coast of Santa Cruz, this wall dive is a great place to see schools of dolphins, sea horses, turtles, and several different species of shark.

When Is The Best Time To Travel To The Galapagos Islands?

Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of diving in the Galapagos during each season:

Dry Season (June to November)


  • Better visibility
  • Cooler water temperatures (66°F to 77°F)
  • Increased chances of encountering pelagic species like hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and whale sharks


  • Cooler air temperatures (72°F to 78°F)
  • Occasional rainfall
  • Slightly higher prices for diving excursions

Wet or Warm Season (December to May)


  • Warmer water temperatures (70°F to 86°F)
  • Increased plankton blooms attract diverse marine life
  • Vibrant underwater scenery with lush coral reefs


  • Occasionally reduced visibility due to plankton blooms
  • Occasional rainfall
  • Slightly lower prices for diving excursions

fish in the galapagos

Ultimately, the best time to go diving in the Galapagos depends on your personal preferences and diving goals. If you prioritize underwater conditions and a chance to encounter pelagic species, the dry season is ideal. If you prefer warmer water temperatures and a wider variety of marine life, the wet season is a great option.

Travel Tips

Here are a few tips you may want to consider when planning a trip to these spectacular islands.

  1. Book in Advance: The Galapagos Islands are a popular tourist destination, so it’s important to book your trip well in advance, especially if you’re traveling during peak season. This will ensure you get the best deals on flights, accommodations, and dive trips.
  2. Pack Appropriately: Be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes, sun protection, and insect repellent. You will also likely need a thicker wetsuit or drysuit depending on the time of year and your personal preferences.
  3. Obtain the Necessary Permits: You will need to obtain a Galapagos National Park Transit Control Card before traveling to the islands. This card can be purchased online or at the airport upon arrival.
  4. Prepare for Limited Internet Access: If you are someone who needs to be “connected” all of the time, the Galapagos is not for you.
  5. Prepare for a Flight Surcharge: Foreigners are charged a surcharge on all flights
  6. Take Cash: There are VERY few ATMs on the islands and many businesses do not take credit cards. You’ll also need cash to tip the dive crew.

Stay Safe When Traveling

Please keep in mind that while our team is excited to share information regarding scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands, we are in no way endorsing any specific location. All travelers should do extensive research before booking a trip, reviewing topics such as:

  • The local laws and regulations regarding scuba diving
  • The weather conditions and water conditions at the dive site
  • The availability of medical care in the area

We recommend reviewing travel advisories regarding each destination before completing a booking.

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