Galapagos Liveaboard Diving

Galapagos Islands 1726-651

Popular Galapagos Liveaboards

MV Calipso; Galapagos; 9.4 is rated 'Superb'; SDE Lux Rating: 85%; from £512, $563, €589/day
MV Galapagos Master; Galapagos; 8.6 is rated 'Fabulous'; SDE Lux Rating: 69%; from £503, $553, €578/day
MV Galapagos Master; Galapagos; 8.6 is rated 'Fabulous'; SDE Lux Rating: 69%; from £503, $553, €578/day
MV Calipso; Galapagos; 9.4 is rated 'Superb'; SDE Lux Rating: 85%; from £512, $563, €589/day
MV Tiburon Explorer; Galapagos; 9.7 is rated 'Exceptional'; SDE Lux Rating: 85%; from £612, $673, €704/day
MV Galapagos Aggressor III; Galapagos; 9.1 is rated 'Superb'; SDE Lux Rating: 65%; from £580, $638, €667/day
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Liveaboard Diving in Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are world-renowned for excellent diving where you’ll see a spectacular array of sea life and underwater geomorphological formations.

Liveaboard diving in Galapagos is on many diver’s bucket list and is a marine reserve and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, which means it is highly protected. Divers experience nature like almost nowhere else on the planet, which ranges from Galapagos penguins to marine iguanas, and massive schools of hammerhead sharks to Galapagos sharks, not to mention the Galapagos sea lions and magnificent whale sharks too. Not to mention the fact that The Galapagos Islands are famous for inspiring Charles Darwin´s theory of evolution. The Islands are home to many species of birds and animals that can only be found in Galapagos, which is amazing in itself.

Most scuba divers who visit Galapagos want to visit Darwin and Wolf islands, which are only accessible by liveaboard. These two isolated islands are where divers encounter huge schools of scalloped hammerheads, silky sharks, manta rays and whale sharks.

There are only 9 dive liveaboards in Galapagos designed for small groups of divers. Most Galapagos liveaboards take no more than 16 guests and many score over 9 out of 10 by customers. Liveaboard trips are year round to the Galapagos, where most liveaboards offer Punta CarrionDarwin Island and Wolf Island in their itineraries. Cruise itineraries range from 7, 10 and 14 days.

Table of Galapagos 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. For example, if you want to see these Galapagos liveaboards in “Liveaboard Departure Port” order, use this column to sort the list.

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Total Records Found: 9, showing 7 per page
Discover LiveaboardCustomer Review (Max 10)SDE Lux Rating %Flexible BookingAirportLiveaboard Departure PortAirport transferFree or Paid Airport TransferNitrox
Review Link: MV Tiburon Explorer; Booking Link: MV Tiburon Explorer 9.7 85% NO Baltra Seymour Airport (Code: GPS) on Baltra Island - Galapagos YES Free YES
Review Link: MV Galapagos Sky; Booking Link: MV Galapagos Sky 9.5 81% NO San Cristobal Airport (Code: SCY) on Isla Lobos Island (San Cristobal Island) - Galapagos YES Free YES
Review Link: MV Calipso; Booking Link: MV Calipso 9.4 85% YES San Cristobal Airport (Code: SCY) on San Cristobal Island - Galapagos YES Free YES
Review Link: MV Galapagos Aggressor III; Booking Link: MV Galapagos Aggressor III 9.1 65% NO Baltra Seymour Airport (Code: GPS) on Baltra Island - Galapagos YES Free YES
Review Link: MY Aqua; Booking Link: MY Aqua 9 65% YES Baltra Seymour Airport (Code: GPS) on Baltra Island - Galapagos YES Free YES
Review Link: MV Humboldt Explorer; Booking Link: MV Humboldt Explorer 8.9 58% NO Baltra Seymour Airport (Code: GPS) on Baltra Island - Galapagos YES Paid Service YES
Review Link: MV Galapagos Master; Booking Link: MV Galapagos Master 8.6 69% YES San Cristobal Airport (Code: SCY) on San Cristobal Island - Galapagos YES Free YES

The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link. This is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating 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 review 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 review score, where each customer rates the hotel out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer review 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. The same applies to liveaboards, as different liveaboard features are more important to each person. The higher the SDE Lux Rating, the more features the liveaboard has. This rating is broken down into more detail on the individual liveaboard review page.

Galapagos Islands Liveaboard Dive Sites

Punta Carrion Diving

Punta Carrion is on the west of Santa Cruz Island and in most case is the first stop for Galapagos dive liveaboards.

Punta Carrion is known for having fun scuba diving with Galapagos sea lions. Galapagos sea lions are know for being playful with divers and you may find your fins being tugged on from behind. Divers may also see eagle rays, white tip reef sharks, the chance to see hammerhead sharks and even dolphins.

Punta Carrion is for easy diving and perfect for beginners, as the current is usually mild. The visibility is normally around 10 meters (33 feet) at Punta Carrion. As the diving in Galapagos is mazing you’ll want to make your dives last as long as possible (See my 22 tips on conserving your air), but then it’s also recommended to dive with Nitrox too which will help you extend your dive times.

Galapagos liveaboards offering dives in Punta Carrion include: Galapagos Aggressor, Galapagos Master, Humboldt Explorer and the Nortada.

Wolf and Darwin Island Diving

Wolf and Darwin islands and overnight sail from the nearest liveaboard departure port, which is why the only way to dive there is by dive liveaboard. Making the trip to these isolated islands of the Galapagos Islands will not disappoint as this is where you’ll experience the mega schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks, which are enroute to the Cocos Islands.

You will also see silky sharks, Galapagos sharks, manta rays, dolphins, spotted eagle rays, orcas and whale sharks from June to November.

Be prepared to experience rough sea conditions at Wolf and Darwin Islands with high swells. So be mindful if you’re going suffer from seasickness on the liveaboard before committing booking a Galapagos liveaboard trip.

You will need to have dived at least 50 dives and hold a advanced open water certification to dive Wolf and Darwin, as the currents can be so strong and many of the dives are drift dives. Most of the dives are to 30-meters (100 feet).

Galapagos liveaboards offering dives to Wolf and Darwin Islands include: Galapagos Aggressor, Galapagos Master, Humboldt Explorer, Galapagos Sky, Calipso, Aqua and Nortada.

Cabo Douglas Diving

If it’s the marine iguanas you want to dive with, Cabo Douglas is the place to see them. Cabo Douglas is on the eastern side of Fernandina Island. In addition to seeing the marine iguanas feeding on the algae growing on the underwater rocks, you also see the flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins and sea horses. The dives at Cabo Douglas are mostly less than 26 metres (85 feet) deep.

Best time to dive the Galapagos Islands

The diving in Galapagos is year round, but depending on when you dive you will experience two distinct seasons.

The warm season

The warm season in Galapagos is from December through May. Water temperatures during the warm season range from 23-25°C (75-80°F). If you suffer from seasickness, this is a better time to go as sea conditions are calmer, there are also less currents at this time of year too.

The warm season in Galapagos is the best time to see large numbers hammerheads, silky sharks and Galapagos sharks.

The cool season

The cool season in Galapagos is from June through November. Water temperatures during the cool season range from 16-18° (60-65°F), so you may want to dive in a drysuit instead of using a wetsuit. It is at this time of year when sea conditions are at their roughest, and also when you’ll experience strong currents too. This will make the diving more challenging, and is why it’s only suitable for advanced open water divers with 50+ dives.

During cool season is when you are likely too see whale sharks at Darwin and Wolf Islands. Whilst there are less hammerheads in the cool season, you will still likely see large schools of scalloped hammerheads together with silkys and Galapagos sharks too.

How to get to Galapagos Islands

How you get to the Galapagos Islands will depend on where you are beginning your journey. Here are a few popular locations and how to get to the Galapagos Islands:

I hope you enjoyed this article about Galapagos 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 Galapagos 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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