Most people have heard of the giant tortoises on the Galapagos Islands and the wonderful fauna and flora discovered by Darwin. But not everyone knows about the underwater world in the Galapagos Islands. This is why it’s important to ask the question; can you scuba dive in the Galapagos Islands?
You can scuba dive the Galapagos Islands all year round. But most scuba divers prefer to dive between January and May as the air and sea temperatures are warmer. At this time there are more hammerheads at Wolf and Darwin Islands. But you are more likely to see whale sharks between July and November.
The best way to dive the Galapagos Islands, and especially Darwin Island and Wolf Rock, is by a scuba diving liveaboard. You can check the latest and best deals on Galapagos liveaboards using the following window:
The things you didn’t know about scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands
- The best scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands is by a Galapagos scuba diving liveaboard.
- Galapagos is best known as an advanced diver destination. This is due to ocean currents and underwater surges, deep dives, low visibility* and colder water diving.
- The Galapagos Islands are known as a top shark diving destination – referred to as the sharkiest place in the world.
- Sharks can be seen on nearly every dive, which includes hammerheads, Galapagos sharks and whale sharks. Although whale sharks are more likely to be seen between July and November.
- Famous for hundreds of schooling scalloped hammerhead sharks. Best place is Wolf and Darwin Islands for hammerheads, whale sharks and Galapagos sharks.*
- Experience giant manta rays and the occasional tiger shark.
- On Isabela Island divers can enjoy diving with penguins and Galapagos sea lions
- You can also enjoy diving with sea turtles and marine iguanas.
- There are also whales and dolphins to enjoy whilst scuba diving the Galapagos Islands. This is best experienced between June and October in the channel between the islands of Isabela and Fernandina. The whales include orcas, blue whales, humpback whales, sperm whales and minke whales.
- In the month of August you are far better to dive in a drysuit as the water temperature can fall to as low as 18°C (65°F). Even in July and September the sea temperature can be as low as 21-22° (70-71°F), which is verging on drysuit temperature diving for me.
* The water visibility is mostly excellent in the Galapagos Islands.
** The only way to scuba dive Wolf and Darwin Islands is from a Galapagos scuba diving liveaboard.
Table of Galapagos scuba diving liveaboards
This list of Galapagos liveaboards is in descending customer rating order, followed by Scuba Diving Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating, see below), so the liveaboards with the highest customer rating and the best SDE lux rating will be at the top of the list. If you want to change the list order, use the “Sort by” dropdown below.
|Liveaboard main photo||Discover Liveaboard||Customer Review (Max 10)||SDE Lux Rating %||Flexible Booking||Dive Courses||Dietary Requirements||Nitrox||Gear Rental|
|Review Link: MV Tiburon Explorer; Booking Link: MV Tiburon Explorer||9.7||85%||NO||NO||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Galapagos Sky; Booking Link: MV Galapagos Sky||9.5||81%||NO||NO||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Calipso; Booking Link: MV Calipso||9.4||85%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Galapagos Aggressor III; Booking Link: MV Galapagos Aggressor III||9.1||65%||NO||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MY Aqua; Booking Link: MY Aqua||9||65%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Humboldt Explorer; Booking Link: MV Humboldt Explorer||8.9||58%||NO||NO||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Galapagos Master; Booking Link: MV Galapagos Master||8.6||69%||YES||NO||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Nortada; Booking Link: MV Nortada||8.3||77%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Galaxy Diver; Booking Link: MV Galaxy Diver||0||67%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link, and is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating I’ve assigned to all liveaboards. Choosing between liveaboards is helped by customer scores, and if you get stuck choosing between two or three liveaboards, where each one has a high customer score out of 10, you can use the SDE Luxury Rating to help narrow down your choice.
Think about it like using Booking.com when searching for the best hotel. Booking.com also use a customer score where each customer rates hotels out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer rating, which is also rated out of 10. But let’s say you only like to stay in hotels rated 8 and above on Booking.com, but you also want the hotel to have WIFI or parking, or to have a swimming pool etc. The features each hotel has is usually secondary to the score out of 10.
Galapagos diving difficulty
Galapagos diving difficulty is affected by:
- Strong currents making many of the dives drift dives.
- Underwater surges, which would be challenging to beginner divers.
- Deeper dives to over 30 metres (98 feet).
- Colder water diving 22°C (72°F) between June and December, ideally suited for drysuits. But at time the sea temperature can be as low as 18°C (65°F).
The above points mean that diving in the Galapagos Islands is more suited to advanced scuba divers only.
I hope you enjoyed this page about can you scuba dive in the Galapagos Islands
If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about can you scuba dive in the Galapagos Islands), please comment below with your questions.
Please share your experiences, plus dive sites, resorts and liveaboards you recommend. Share the time of year of your trip together with what you saw, the visibility, currents and dive operator, as this will help others who read this page.
There will also be many more pages and articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkelling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.
Have fun and be safe!