Darwin Island Liveaboard Diving
Remote Liveaboard Diving With Hammerheads, Galapagos Sharks, Whale Sharks & More
Popular Darwin Island Liveaboards
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Liveaboard Diving At Darwin Island
Galapagos Darwin Island is only accessible by liveaboard dive boat as it’s 300km (188m) from Baltra Island and a 14-hour overnight cruise. This protected and unique island is home to hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, whale sharks and occasional mantas and provides some of the best diving in the world.
Galapagos Darwin Island Diving
Liveaboard diving is the only way to dive Darwin Island. Divers on liveaboards to Darwin Island experience some of the best diving in the world at this protected marine park. Darwin Island is a remote island about 300 kilometres (188 miles) from Baltra Island, or 400 kilometres (250 miles) from San Cristobal Island, and 190 kilometres (119 miles) off the most northerly point of Isabela Island, which is why it’s an overnight cruise on a liveaboard.
Darwin Island is home to the famous schooling hammerheads, which are at their highest density in January each year. The most popular dive site at Darwin Island is “Darwin’s Arch“, nicknamed ‘the theatre‘, and no longer an arch and now called the “Darwin Pillars“, as this collapsed in 2022.
The Darwin Pillars are the most northerly visible land of the Galapagos archipelago, and about 40 kilometres (25 miles) north or Wolf Island.
Ecuador created a marine sanctuary around Darwin and Wolf Islands in 2016 which covers 38,850 square kilometres (15,000 square miles). This marine sanctuary is off limits to all fishing, and is one of the key reasons why the sharks congregate around Darwin Island like they do.
What Marine Life Will You See At Darwin Island?
The marine life seen at Darwin Island include hundreds of schooling scalloped hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, tiger sharks, eagle rays, marble rays, grouper, snapper, Almaco jack, wahoo, dolphins, large schools of pelagic fish, turtles, whale sharks and maybe manta rays.
The whale sharks arrive when the Humboldt Current is at its strongest, which is June to November.
Darwin Island diving with hammerhead sharks and a whale shark
Darwin Arch Dive with whale sharks
Table of Darwin Island Liveaboards
This list of Darwin Island liveaboards is in descending customer rating order, so the liveaboards with the highest customer rating will be at the top of the list. To filter this table for the features that are important for your Darwin Island liveaboard trip, select from the list of filters below.
|Price Per Day
|Review: MV Tiburon Explorer; Book: MV Tiburon Explorer
|from £612; $747; €698
|Review: MV Galapagos Sky; Book: MV Galapagos Sky
|from £708; $864; €807
|Review: MV Calipso; Book: MV Calipso
|from £658; $803; €750
|Review: MV Galapagos Aggressor III; Book: MV Galapagos Aggressor III
|from £580; $708; €661
|Review: MY Aqua; Book: MY Aqua
|from £457; $558; €521
|Review: MV Humboldt Explorer; Book: MV Humboldt Explorer
|from £489; $597; €557
|Review: MV Galapagos Master; Book: MV Galapagos Master
|from £459; $560; €523
Note: The above “Price Per Day” was correct at the time of producing this article, as was the exchange rate used to convert the GBP cost to US Dollars and Euros. For an up-to-date cost for your chosen liveaboard, please visit the “Book” link above.
The Galapagos Darwin Diving Know Before You Go
The following are answers to “Know Before You Go” questions about the Darwin Island liveaboard diving, Galapagos.
Can Beginners Dive Galapagos Darwin Island?
Beginner divers can dive in Galapagos, but they cannot dive the best dive sites like Darwin and Wolf Islands where most of the spectacular marine life is found, including schooling hammerheads and Galapagos sharks. You need a PADI Open Water certificate or equivalent as a minimum to dive here.
What Is The Best Time To Dive Darwin Island Galapagos?
The best time to dive in Galapagos for the most schooling hammerheads is January to April, and for whale sharks is between June and December. For more information please read this article: When is The Best Time to See Hammerheads in Galapagos Islands.
Is Diving In Galapagos Cold?
The sea temperatures around Galapagos can get cold, which can be as low as 21°C (69.8°F), so you may need a 5-7mm wetsuit when it’s this cold and maybe even a drysuit if you’re particularly sensitive to the cold.
Should You Bring a Wetsuit To Dive Darwin Island Galapagos?
You will need a wetsuit to dive Galapagos and Darwin Island, as water temperatures range between 16-30°C (60.8-86°F), but there are cold 16-18°C (60.8-65°F) thermoclines, so a thick wetsuit is needed year-round. You will need a 5-7mm wetsuit, or better still a drysuit, to dive Darwin Island.
It is also recommended to bring a hood and gloves when you dive Galapagos Darwin Island, to keep you warm and the gloves will protect your hands when grabbing hold of rocks to avoid being washed away in the currents.
The park laws of the Galapagos Islands National Park and Marine Reserve do not permit reef hooks to be used, which is why you will need to use your hands.
The park rules also forbid spear fishing, feeding the fish, collecting any souvenirs like shells and underwater scooters or DPV units.
For a guide about wetsuits and water temperature, please read this article: Wetsuit Temperature Guide Scuba Diving.
How Hard Is Diving Galapagos Darwin Island?
Galapagos Darwin Island diving can be hard as there are strong to moderate currents to contend with, which may require you to hold on to rocks so you do not drift away in the current. There are also surges that can cause difficulties during your safety stop, plus the sea state can be choppy too.
Will You Suffer Sea Sickness On Darwin Island Liveaboard?
If you suffer from motion sickness, you may get seasick on the liveaboard trip to Darwin Island due to the currents and surges in the region.
How Long is The Trip To Darwin Island?
The trip to Darwin Island on a Galapagos liveaboard takes around 14-15 hours, and is an overnight cruise. The time it takes may vary, and the trip time depends on the departure starting point, which is usually the last dive site before starting the sail, and on weather conditions and sea state.
I hope you enjoyed this page about Darwin Island liveaboard diving
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about Darwin Island liveaboard diving), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.
Have fun and be safe!
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