Diving in the Galapagos Islands - Bluewater Dive Travel

Best Scuba Diving in Galapagos Islands

Scuba Diving Galapagos
Galapagos Scuba Diving
Diving Galapagos
Galapagos Diving
Galapagos Islands Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving in Galapagos
Galapagos Scuba Diving Liveaboard
Galapagos Liveaboard

Scuba Diving Galapagos, Ecuador

A bucket-list destination for all divers, scuba diving Galapagos Islands is an unforgettable experience. Divers seeking encounters with big marine life, rare animals found only in the area, and the most sensational underwater photography opportunities imaginable will find everything they are looking for and more while scuba diving Galapagos Islands.

Book Now Button

Galapagos Diving Highlights

The scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands is best known for its BIG and RARE marine life. Think lots of hammerhead sharks and 30+ other species of sharks, the ultra-rare marine iguana, manta rays, turtles and many more. If you dive at the right time, you'll be surprised with the number of "bucket list" marine animals that you can cross off your list within a week of Galapagos scuba diving.

Interested in diving Galapagos?  View the live availability of some of the best liveaboards in the Galapagos and book online at the best price or check out our sidebar for specials and workshops! 


Galapagos Liveaboards & Dive resorts 

Scuba diving the Galapagos Islands via liveaboard is the only way to dive all the best spots in a single visit. Some of the best dives in Galapagos are located at the remote Wolf and Darwin Islands, which would be notoriously difficult, if not impossible, to get to without a Galapagos diving liveaboard. Most liveaboard trips to the Galapagos last 7 nights, and would typically include a land tour to visit various endemic land animals.

View Galapagos liveaboard live availability and book online at the best price.


Intro to the Galapagos 

The Galapagos are volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, made famous by Charles Darwin and the National Park that protects them. Situated about 500 nautical miles (925 km) off the coast of Equador, the Galapagos are situated on the equator.

There are 18 islands in total, with the favorite dive spots being Wolf and Darwin Island, arguably the best dive destination in the world for pelagic life! The islands' isolation has led to unique evolution among the flora and fauna (eventually prompting Darwin to publish The Origin of Species) leading the Ecuadorian government to declare the Galapagos archipelago a national park in 1959.

 Red balloon frigate in Galapagos

The red balloon frigate. The land excursions in Galapagos are not to be missed!

It has subsequently been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is great news for creatures like the Galapagos giant tortoise and the blue-footed booby, as well as the rich marine life making their home in the islands' surrounding waters.

Each Galapagos scuba diving liveaboard is given set itineraries by the government, which allow divers a wide range of dive opportunities. There are also "traditional" cruises through the islands with snorkeling, hiking, and other non-dive activities, as well as several hotels in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (Isla San Cristobal) and Puerto Ayora (Isla Santa Cruz) offering land-based diving. If you like big fish and aren't afraid of a thick wetsuit, scuba diving Galapagos Islands is a must.

View Location on Google Map


WHEN TO scuba dive galapagos

Scuba diving in Galapagos Islands is available year-round, but the best time to go would highly depend on what you want to see and your tolerance for cold water

More on the best time to dive Galapagos


Learn all there is to know about Galapagos and see if this is the destination for you!


Back to Menu


Galapagos Diving information

With no shortage of interesting dive sites and marine life encounters, scuba diving Galapagos always impresses even the most seasoned and well-travelled divers! Read on for more information about marine life, diving conditions, and Galapagos dive sites.

Book Now Button

Galapagos Marine Life & Photography Subjects

The Galapagos Islands are one of the top destinations for seeing large marine life native to warm and cold water climates. The Galapagos is also home to some of the best shark diving in the world! While Galapagos is indeed a wide-angle photographer's paradise, you shouldn't leave the macro lens at home. Lots of small critters can be found at various dive sites. Grab your underwater camera housing and let's go!

Among the many unusual highlights while scuba diving in the Galapagos are marine iguanas, found underwater munching on algae and seaweed. They can reach 4-5 feet (1.2 - 1.5 meters) in length! Each island has unique species, which have evolved independently from their land-based counterparts in South America.

List of some of the marine animals that you'll likely to see in Galapagos: 

  • Whale shark
  • Hammerhead sharks 
  • Silky sharks 
  • Galapagos sharks 
  • Reef sharks 
  • Eels 
  • Manta Rays 
  • Dolphins 
  • Sea lions 
  • Turtles 
  • Marlin 
  • Large schools of fish
  • Marine iguanas 
  • Frogfish 
  • Octopus 
  • Seahorses
  • Nudibranchs


Best Time to scuba Dive galapagos

The best time to scuba dive Galapagos highly depends on what you'd like to see! The diving season in Galapagos is generally divided into two categories: Whale Shark Season (June-November) and Manta Season (December-May) when it's slightly warmer. 

Manta Ray spotted in 2019

Manta Ray drifting overhead during our 2019 group trip to Galapagos

During the warmer Manta Season (December-May) the schools of hammerheads are generally larger and giant manta rays may be found off Isabela island. There is also some interesting mating behavior with the marine iguanas and world-famous blue-footed boobies. And, being the warm season, ocean surface conditions are calmer (for a smoother boat experience) with sunshine.

May is an awesome time for scuba diving Galapagos. It's one month earlier than the "official" whale shark season, but there's still a good chance to see whale sharks.

Whale shark in Galapagos, April 2022 

Whale shark. Captured by Mark Strickland during our group trip in April 2022

During the colder Whale Shark Season (June-November) the gentle giants come to feed on the plankton off Wolf and Darwin Islands. Fish life is also much more active due to the increased levels of nutrients in the water. On the downside, conditions may be rougher on the boats with limited sunshine.

The decision is ultimately yours, but feel free to ask us about our experiences during the different seasons. We've been booking and running successful trips to the Galapagos for many years and can give you recommendations based on your preferences! 

Interested in underwater photography? Check out next Galapagos Photo Workshop in May 2026. Daily workshops provided by photo pros at no extra cost!


galapagos Diving Conditions

  • December - May: This is the warm season in the Galapagos with the highest water and air temps. Brief afternoon rain showers are common but expect the tropic sun to reappear after the rain. Water temperature is 70-86F (21-30C) with some cooler thermoclines at depth. The northern islands are generally colder. Visibility stays between 40-100 feet (12-33 meters).
  • June - November: This season is known as the guarua and is cooler with frequent mist and overcast days. Winds can create rougher seas at times. Water temperature is 60-75F (16-24C). While colder, the trade-off is the rich currents bringing nutrients into the islands, resulting in more abundant marine life. Visibility is slightly less as a result.


Galapagos diving difficulty

Galapagos scuba diving is for advanced divers. Not only is the water cold enough to warrant a 5mm or 7mm wetsuit, but there can be strong currents, choppy water, and other conditions requiring experience beyond casual open-water certification.

Most divers visit the islands on liveaboards, which use small inflatable boats to access specific dive sites. Galapagos liveaboards vary in the number of dives offered per day, and also the number of dives at Wolf and Darwin Islands (popular for pelagics and seasonal whale sharks). Most Galapagos dive trips are now 8 days and 7 nights, offering 21 - 22 dives. Most boats will do 4 dives a day, including a night dive.


Best Dive Sites in the Galapagos 

Based on our numerous visits to the area, we've rounded up some of the best dive sites in Galapagos:

El Arco, Darwin Island – You can see schooling hammerheads, whale sharks and spotted eagle rays along with prowling Galapagos and silky sharks. It’s only accessible by liveaboard.

El Arenal, Darwin Island – Darwin’s Arch is a distinctive stone arch above the water and this dive site slopes off the arch. The site's marine life in incredibly rich. Big-eye jacks along with hammerhead, blacktip and whale sharks all frequent the area.

Find out why we think Darwin Island is one of the best dive sites in the world!

Roca Redonda, Isabela Island – This dive site is the tip of an underwater volcano that rises from the sea floor and emerges as an island. You can expect to find Galapagos sharks, schools of hammerhead sharks and barracudas.

Cape Douglas, Fernandina Island – Thi is a great spot to watch penguins “fly” past. Fur seals and Galapagos sea lions, as well as marine iguanas, can also be seen.

Pitt Point, San Cristobal Island – This is an exposed rock at the most northeasterly point of the island. It's likely that you'll meet schools of snapper, grunt, and jacks. You might also see diving boobies.

Camaño Islet, Santa Cruz Island – This is a usually calm spot that allows you to see batfish, seahorses, groupers, sharks and sea lions. If you're lucky, you might also find marine iguanas diving beneath the waves searching for food.

Back to Menu


Galapagos travel information

Getting there may seem more complicated than some destinations, but rest assured, the travel is worthwhile to experience scuba diving Galapagos. Just be sure to plan your flights so you arrive early to mitigate the risk of missing your Galapagos liveaboard departure.

Book Now Button

How to Get to the Galapagos

You can fly internationally into Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito or José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (GYE) in Guayaquil, both in Ecuador.

Most liveaboard trips depart from either San Cristobal (SCY) or Isla Baltra (GPS). Daily airline transfers available from Guayaquil to both locations, with an easy transfer flight from Quito available (stay on the same plane).

It's recommended to fly into either Quito or Guayaquil 1-2 days before your liveaboard transfer since there are morning departures only, which don't sync up with arriving international flights. The flight to the Galapagos is about 2 hours.

Both Quito and Guayaquil have a wide range of hotel accommodations and plenty to explore while staying there. Quito is the capital city of Ecuador and a UNESCO heritage site at 7,900 feet in the Andes. The Mariscal Sucre is a popular part of the city for visiting tourists, however, it is 45-60 minutes from the airport. The Malecon in Guayaquil is popular with tourists, situated right on the Rio Guayas.  


How to scuba Dive Galapagos

For serious divers, we strongly recommend booking a liveaboard trip to Galapagos. Liveaboards will provide the most variety in dive locations and are the only way to access the famous Wolf and Darwin Islands. Land-based diving is available with 2-tank morning dives, however, the dive sites are limited in range from the port. 

Here at Bluewater Travel, we run guided trips and photo trips to the Galapagos every year. Our trips are carefully planned to hit the best diving spots during the best time of year. Daily photo workshops by photo pros are provided at no extra cost.

Our travel advisors can help you plan everything from A to Z and our trip leaders will be there to make sure that your vacation runs smoothly. All that at no additional cost to you! 

See all Galapagos liveaboards, view our next dive trips to the Galapagos or contact us to start planning your dream trip! 


Other things to do in galapagos

While scuba diving Galapagos is the most sought-after activity, most Galapagos liveaboards include several land excursions during the trip that shouldn't be missed. These are opportunities to see land-based birds, penguins, and the famed Galapagos giant tortoises. The non-dive activities differ depending on the trip itinerary and season, so be sure to check the specific itinerary of your trip for the land excursion details. 

Check out Komodo Island diving for another unique destination with fantastic topside wildlife and great diving. 

Back to Menu


Liveaboards in Galapagos

Galapagos liveaboards offer divers the largest range of dive sites, animal encounters, and are by far the best way to experience this natural paradise. Read on for more information regarding the best Galapagos liveaboards available.

Book Now Button

See the availability of liveaboards in Galapagos and book online. Best price guaranteed. No credit card fees.

The rates shown below are per person in USD. Some operators may quote in a different currency and the final pricing may vary depending on the latest exchange rates.

Please contact us for the latest availability of the Blue Spirit Galapagos



Other Useful Information 

Travel to a new region requires a bit of practical knowledge, and the team at Bluewater Travel is here to help you with all the details for scuba diving Galapagos. Read our list of Galapagos travel tips for more information. Don't see what you're looking for? Contact us and our team will be happy to assist.

Book Now Button

Practical Information

  • Currency: US Dollar
  • Language: The predominant and official language of Ecuador is Spanish. English is the most spoken foreign language amongst tourist providers and professionals.
  • Main Airport Code: GPS
  • Time Zone: UTC-5
  • Electricity: 120 V 60 Hz

Back to Menu



Call us today at +1-310-915-6677 or email us info@bluewaterdivetravel.com

And let us book your dream vacation!

Back to Menu


Underwater Images

Book Now Button

More Galapagos underwater videos:


Epic 4-minute must see video from our Feb 2016 trip, with countless hammerheads, Mola mola, marine iguanas, penguins.

Hammerheads at Wolf island - a great video taken by diver Andy Phillips on a rebreather.  


Back to Menu

Reviews (8)


Diving with Galapagos Sky has lifted the bar for livaboards. The friendly staff, thoughtful service, restaurant quality meals and dive set up showed the results of striving for excellence. The dive sites were amazing and the guides added to the experience rather than rushing us through it. Don't be put off by the detailed expectations in the trip notes- Galapagos Sky was extremely welcoming and flexible to individual needs.

Visited on 04/2023 - Submitted on 04/11/2023

Where to start! The Galapagos has been at the top of my bucket list for years, so this trip was highly anticipated. From a marine-life perspective, it didn't disappoint, and we saw far more than I was expecting. However, visibility wasn't great so some sightings felt fleeting at best. At Wolf and Darwin, we saw plenty of individual hammerheads and a few small groups, however, they were shy and didn't come closer than 15m. The poor vis meant we didn't get to experience the huge schools that this area is famous for, however, I'm sure they were there just out of sight. We also saw a good number of big Galapagos sharks, and a couple of whitetip reef sharks.

One of the highlights was spotting a huge whale shark. It spent some time doubling back and did a big figure of 8 loop so that we got a really great view. On another dive we saw 3 Mola mola at a cleaning station and then a single Mola mola during our safety stop, but , again, visibility wasn't great so we only watched them for less than a minute before they disappeared.

I was really blown away by the abundance of life here. The reefs are alive and bustling, and the fish don't seem scared of divers. I've never seen so many turtles and moray eels!

Diving can be challenging, especially for inexperienced divers. Expect STRONG currents at some sites, where you duck behind a rock and hold on. There is also quite a bit of bluewater diving and safety stops, choppy surface conditions, and it can get cold. In December the lowest temperatures we recorded were 13C at Fernandina! But it's worth it to see the marine iguanas and Mola mola.

Galapagos is reasonably undeveloped but definitely caters to tourists. There are countless t-shirt and souvenir shops, and the tortoise reserve is interesting. If you have some extra time, I would suggest visiting some of the more outlying areas where the wildlife is exceptional.

Visited on 12/2022 - Submitted on 12/20/2022

This destination exceeded my expectations. Galapagos is an amazing location that lives up to its reputation as one of the premier dive destinations in the world - whale sharks, hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, giant spotted eagle rays, marine iguanas and more. Plus, the staff on our liveaboard was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. Also - it would be important to note that photography in the Galapagos is not for beginners as the dive conditions make it quite challenging.

Visited on 08/2021 - Submitted on 08/17/2021

Bluewater was great. I had a serious problem that almost tanked the trip and they solved it. Galapagos is amazing, highly recommend. Boat crew was fantastic. Too many hammerheads to count. Lots of eels and sea lions. Land excursions were fun too. Pro tip: Plan to arrive a day or 2 early to avoid flight delays or cancellations. There's plenty to do on land.

Visited on 01/2021 - Submitted on 03/12/2021
  • Top Reviewer
Bowling Green, KY
United States


The Galapagos Islands are probably the most unusual place dive destination I have ever been to. The wildlife diversity is just amazing both on land and in the water.The land tours were fun and interesting. So many little birds, plants I have not seen in other places and I saw an enormous sinkhole full of life. And DO NOT leave without seeing those giant turtles. I went in May and the weather was quite comfortable.

It was most amazing for me at sea. You can literally see the earth growing up from the ocean and slowing descending back down into it. Looking at the volcanic islands I realized how this beautiful earth of ours has been/is ever growing and changing. The marine life is just extraordinary. Sea lions lounge about in good numbers and amaze me at the places I see them laying on the rocks. How do they get up to/down from there?!? Penguins at equator? Yep!!! Flightless Cormorants diving so fast efficiently to feed. Frigate birds nesting on the almost sheer rock cliffs are so beautiful showing off those big red throat pouches trying to attract just the right female frigate is quite a show.


And the diving, wow. We were very fortunate to have smooth seas and nice weather, very warm topside. But beware it can get pretty cool underwater so be prepared. Some of the wonderful animals I saw that cannot go with out mention are the Manta rays,Red lipped Batfish, a beautiful spotted horned shark and the ocean sun fish was a treat indeed. That dive was a case where many of our group did not get to see the fish because they were under dressed and got back on the panga due to chills before the Mola mola made his appearance.

Again, I stress, go prepared, take gloves and a beanie or hood. Many dive a 5/7 ml and some even drysuit. I used a 5 ml, gloves and hood. Sharks and giant moray eels abounded !!! Hammerheads, blacktips and of course the beautiful Galapagos shark. It's my understanding that I was between Manta season and Whaleshark season. You would want to check with a travel professional concerning what time of year you went depending on what your biggest hopes of seeing are.


To the best of my knowledge all dives are done from pangas or large inflated rubber rafts using back roll entry into the water. For me that means making sure I have good references on the dive operator. You want to be with a good solid operator to get you in and out of those pangas, I was. In fact the entire trip is so special and has so much to offer I believe everyone should use a travel professional in order to get the most out it. In my opinion it is not a place for beginning divers and maybe not even novices unless they have been well trained , are fit and in good watchful , thoughtful company. Currents are prevalent here, that's what brings the wildlife. Thirty foot vis was about the norm on my trip. However, it can change to much less quickly when a rain shower comes along. So be calm and enjoy the adventure. It is a wondrous destination that I would gladly visit again.

Visited on 06/2011 - Submitted on 08/22/2014


Sign up for the mailing list today