Galápagos Islands

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Galapagos Penguin

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands
Diving: Reefs, Walls, Drift, Large Pelagics
Skill Level: Intermediate - Advanced
Water Temp:73-78 °F (23-26 °C) Dec-May
70-74 °F (21-23 °C) Jun-Dec
Wetsuit:3mm - 6.5mm
Visibilty:50-80 feet (15-25 m)
When To Go:Jun-Dec (more large fish)


The Galápagos Islands (Archipiélago de Colón) are located in the Pacific Ocean, 605 miles (973 km) west of Ecuador, to which they belong. The archipelago consists of 15 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. Isabela is the largest of the islands, measuring 1,790 square miles (4,640 sq km), which accounts for half of the total surface land mass of the islands.

Charles Darwin visited the Galápagos Islands in 1835 aboard the HMS Beagle. The observations he made here helped provide inspiration and support for his theory of evolution by natural selection, which he would not make public until nearly 30 years later when he published his groundbreaking book "On the Origin of Species" ( The Galápagos archipelago is home to many endemic species that are indigenous to no other part of the world, and many of them exhibit no inherent fear of humans due to their historical isolation.

The Diving

There is no bad time of year to go SCUBA diving in the Galápagos Islands. June through December, when the water is cooler, is the best time to spot whale sharks and other large pelagic mammals and fish. Due to the fast currents found at the Wolf and Darwin Islands, Galápagos is generally recommended for intermediate-to-advanced divers (100+ logged dives). But some of the liveaboards also offer itineraries that stick to the main islands, which offer sites that are suitable for novice divers as well. This is an extremely popular location and the liveaboards here are generally filled up a year or more in advance. The most expensive liveaboards will be found here as well - expect to pay between US $550 and $650 per day.

Popular Dive Sites:
Cousins Rock
Skill Level: Novice-Advanced
An islet rising 30 feet (9m) above seal level. The ledges of it's sloping sides are filled with black corals. Look for reef fish, turtles, moray eels, rays, and hammerheads sharks.

Darwin Island
Skill Level: Advanced
Darwin Island is located about 25 miles (40 km) north of Wolf Island. It is formed by the remains of an extinct volcano, reaching a height of 540 feet (165 m) above sea level, with an area of 0.4 square miles (1 sq km). Next to Darwin Island is a well known landmark called Darwin's Arch, which is a rock arch formation that juts high out of the water. Expect rapid currents and surge. Look for whale sharks (June through November), pilot whales, melon-headed whales, Galápagos sharks, scalloped hammerhead sharks, blacktip sharks, silky sharks, dolphins, manta rays, eagle rays, hawksbill turtles, green sea turtles, spotted morays, scorpion fish, sailfish, hogfish, bluespotted and bigeye jacks, parrotfish, trumpet fish, and amberjacks.

Gordon Rocks
Skill Level: Novice-Advanced
Two large rocks with deep, sloping walls. This location offers a chance to see large schools of hammerhead sharks and snorkelling with sea lion colonies. There are two sites at this location suitable for novice divers, and three other sites with strong currents or surge. Look for hammerhead sharks, whitetip sharks, Galápagos sharks, sea lions, fur seals, eagle rays, golden rays, stingrays, moray eels, green sea turtles, and reef fish.

Wolf Island
Skill Level: Advanced
Wolf Island is located 60 miles (100 km) northwest of the main Galápagos group of islands. It is formed by the remains of an extinct volcano, reaching a height of 830 feet (253 m) above sea level, with an area of hakf a square mile (1.3 sq km). Expect rapid currents and surge, and cooler waters. Look for whale sharks (June through November), Galápagos sharks, scalloped hammerhead sharks, silky sharks, dolphins, barracuda, manta rays, Galápagos sea lions, fur seals, marbled rays, marine iguanas, green sea turtles, amberjacks, trumpet fish, hogfish, butterfly fish, coronet fish, and grunts.


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