Diving in the Galapagos Islands

Discover the Submarine World of Galapagos.

December 27th, 2022 – Belen Guerrero

Can you scuba dive in the Galapagos? Yes, diving in the Galapagos is world-class.

The Galapagos Islands, which are situated at the meeting point of numerous ocean currents, are home to an incredible variety of marine life, including many species that are unique to our planet.

The divers that submerge in these areas don’t miss out on the chance to play with the curious sea lion pups or observe how a marine iguana burrows between rocks to obtain its prestigious algae.

No other location in the world can compare to the experience of diving with a variety of marine life that is so accustomed to humans that it follows divers.

The diversity of underwater geomorphological formations adds value to the location and creates a one-of-a-kind display that really is truly unique worldwide.

Galapagos from Ecuador

This place has a unique and distinctive environment because to the abundance of marine life: Manta rays, pacific seahorses, rainbow sea bass, bloody frogfish, rock mover wrasse, eagle rays, wahoo, and yellow fish tunawhale sharks, scalloped hammerheads, and large schools of snapper can all be encountered while scuba diving at the Galapagos Islands. There are also amazing drop-offs and a sea bottom covered with rock formations to explore.

These are the top two methods for scuba diving in the Galapagos:


If you are looking for an alternative to a live-a-board dive cruise of the Galapagos Islands, and you don’t want to spend big money, our Diving Galapagos Island Hopping tours are perfect for you! 

Ideal for adventure-loving divers who want to experience it all. Our land-based diving tours take you to enjoy a complete tour around some of the best diving spots in the Galapagos and much more. North Seymour, Kicker Rock, Gordon Rocks, Carahua, Mosquera Islet, Daphne, and more…

You can choose your land-based Galapagos diving tour to last 6 up to 10 days.

  • How do island-hopping diving tours work?

Anyone who prefers to sleep on land and wants to explore Diving spots that you won’t visit on a cruise should take an island-hopping tour. You can personalize your tour with SMART GALAPAGOS EUROPE and choose whether a full diving tour or a Multi-sport adventure tour (with some days of Diving as an upgrade).


Comfortable and adventurous expedition boats and diving live aboard! The wide variety of diving sites will ensure that you never experience the exact same marine life more than once!

Your dive will begin directly from the boat, allowing you to explore the incredible undersea species in the pristine Galapagos waters with only a few short steps from your bed!

A lifetime trip is waiting for you onboard one of our comfort, premium or luxurious Diving Galapagos Cruise vessels.

  • How long do diving cruises take?

Galapagos Cruises are normally a 8-day expedition

  • Why aren’t there shorter diving cruises?

The most well-known diving islands, Wolf and Darwin Islands, are located far from the main group of islands, hence there are no diving ships that offer short itineraries.

Boats spend a couple of nights there after an all-night journey since these are the best diving locations.

  • What type of guides do diving cruises have?

Most boats include at least two Galapagos National Park certified dive guides.

  • How do diving cruises operate?

Cruise diving trips are ideal for travelers who wish to visit more of the isolated Galapagos Islands. You will spend most of your time moving between islands while sleeping in your cabin at night. These excursions also offer a terrific mix of on-the-land activities like hiking and kayaking with on-the-water pursuits like snorkeling.

Who can dive?

Every advance diver must hold a PADI or SSI certification. Beyond that, beginner, intermediate, and advanced dive spots are available.

Even complete beginners can take their very first practice dives with competent instructors at various scuba schools on the island. Many dive sites have minimum dive requirements, with more advanced sites requiring 15, 20, or even 30 logged dives whereas intermediate level sites normally require approximately 10 dives.

What is the Diving Difficulty in the Galapagos?

There are dive sites for beginners and intermediate divers, but on general, the Galapagos are best suited to experienced divers.
This is especially true during the “dry/cool season” from June to December, when the water is cooler, rougher, and has rocky underwater surfaces in addition to strong currents.

Galapagos diving depths are typically between 70 and 114 feet, whereas beginner depths are usually between 30 and 67 feet.
It is ideal to dive in the Galapagos if you have little to no diving experience between the months of December and June when the water is warmer and quieter.

What are the best places for scuba diving in the Galapagos?

Best beginner and intermediate dive sites

  • NORTH SEYMOUR – Discovery Diving upgrade option in most of our island hopping tour / +0 dives experience

Mild to Moderate currents. You may be able to spot hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, White and Black tip reef sharks surrounded by busy reef fish. Sea lions take advantage of the action to hunt. Turtles, sting rays, eagle rays, mobula rays, Galapagos eels and barracudas also populate this area.

North Seymour, which is the second most popular location, can be combined with Mosquera because most dive shops combine a dive at Seymour with a dive at Mosquera on the same day.

  • KICKER ROCK – Intermediate experience needed / +10 dives experience

The majestic Kicker Rock (also known as Sleeping Lion), a prime location to watch hammerhead and other sharks, is a highlight of a trip to the southern island of San Cristobal.
This excursion is sometimes coupled with diving or snorkeling with sea lions at Isla Lobos.

If you can make it there, Kicker Rock is definitely worth a visit because it is home to a wide diversity of species. This diving spot is excellent for both scuba divers and snorkelers alike.  Off the San Cristobal Island coast is where you may go diving.

Best advanced dive sites

  • GORDON ROCKS / +25 dives experience

Moderate to strong currents and surge. Of the many dive sites available on day trips from Puerto Ayora, one of the more challenging is Gordon Rocks, which requires experience of 25-30 dives due to its strong currents. This extinct volcanic crater has three pinnacles and is famous for its schools of hammerhead sharks.

The eroded crater of a submerged cone on the northeastern side of Santa Cruz Island is Gordon Rocks, one of the top dive locations in the central islands. There is a lot of marine life to view here when you dive, but Gordon Rocks is where most divers go to get a sense of what it’s like to be in the presence of huge schools of hammerhead sharks.

One of the best places to find Hammerhead sharks and the weird and wonderful Oceanic Sunfish (Mola Mola). Also here are Galapagos sharks, white tip reef sharks, lots of giant sea turtles, mobula rays, sting rays, eagle rays, panamic green morays, Galapagos eels, barracudas and various reef fish.

  • DARWIN AND WOLF / +50 dives experience

The distant, northernmost islands of Darwin and Wolf, which can only be reached on liveaboard trips, offer some of the best and most challenging diving in the archipelago.

From June to December, huge whale sharks drift leisurely by and hammerhead shark schools can be observed nearby. Bottlenose dolphins can frequently be found around Darwin’s Arch.

Do I need insurance?

Yes. The Galapagos Islands require divers to carry diving insurance. Contrast general medical insurance with coverage tailored to divers, such as DAN (Divers Alert Network). All live aboard trips impose an additional $35 cost to support the functioning of the Hyperbaric Chamber in Puerto Ayora and its crew on the islands.

Is there a minimum or maximum age restriction?

Health certificates could be necessary depending on your dive application in specific situations. Only certified divers aged 10 and older are allowed. Children must be at least 16 years old if they are not divers.

Diving Safety

1. When diving in the Galapagos, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

2. Keep an eye out for strong currents and rips around the islands because they frequently occur. Being dragged out to sea or becoming cut off from your group is not uncommon. Keep in mind that, should this occur, the boat will always be close by to help you.

3. Utilizing a surface marker buoy, an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), or a personal locator system is shrewd.
In the event that you are pulled out to sea, these can be used to locate you and are offered by some trip operators.

4. Have extra gear available. Dive masks and other goods may be potentially pulled away by the powerful currents. Our team is always prepared with extra equipment.

5. Surface gradually from the depths to prevent decompression sickness.

6. You should wait 24 hours after diving to take your flight back from the Galapagos to the mainland. This is because nitrogen levels in the blood need to stabilize after diving before you can fly.

7. Be sure to pay close attention and strictly adhere to any guidance, safety tips and regulations given by your guide. This is paramount as they are experts to the area.
For more general scuba diving safety and tips, you can refer to this list.

*A qualified travel advisor will book your trip ensuring all of these safety measures are met.

Go ahead to see the best dive sites and how challenging they are to dive.

If you wish to see this magnificent island by yourself, CONTACT US and let’s plan your trip together!

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