Scuba Diving Galapagos Islands

Scuba Diving Galapagos Islands: The Ultimate Guide

A closely guarded secret for millions of years, the Galapagos Islands have slowly become more popular as people hear of its natural wonders and almost mythical lineup of inhabitants. The islands are a wonderland of plant and animal life, and no trip to Ecuador is complete without a visit here.

Situated some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the remote Islands were little known for a long time. Today, the islands are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and attract almost 300,000 visitors every year.

What’s more, the incredible natural beauty and life of the islands spill over into the ocean making for great diving spectacles! Scuba diving Galapagos Islands promises an underwater world teeming with captivating beauty and a diverse range of incredible marine life.

Scuba Diving Galapagos Islands

What’s Good About Galapagos Islands Diving?

It took many centuries for people to discover the breathtaking features that this stunning set of islands behold. As it grows in popularity, people are slowly realizing how great its diving can be as well. Here are some of our favorite things about scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands.

Brilliant Location

While not the easiest to access, the remote feel of the islands gives it a very exclusive feel to dive. Any diving experience had here is worth writing home about and you’re bound to have a diving experience that you haven’t had anywhere else before.

Some of the best sites around the Galapagos will have you never wanting to go back above the surface as you swim with marine life you never even knew existed. You’ll almost feel part of a mythical world.

Conditions to Suit Everyone

The Galapagos have a highly variable climate, with each season bringing its own weather systems. This means that some times of the year are favorable for beginners and first-time divers to experience this magical underwater world in calm conditions with great visibility.

On the other hand, other seasons bring conditions that are suited to the more experienced diver that enjoys more challenging drift dives. In general, the Galapagos Islands cater to the more skilled and experienced divers.

Exclusive Marine Life

It’s well known by now that the Galapagos Islands are home to some of the world’s finest and most exclusive plant and animal life. This also extends into the ocean as you’ll be sharing the water with marine life that you’re unable to find anywhere else.

The Galapagos Islands are the marine biology geeks’ absolute dream!

Galapagos Islands Scuba Certification

Scuba Certification

There’s no requirement to be certified to dive around the Galapagos Islands. Moreover, there are some times of year that favor beginner divers and offer them the opportunity to experience the magnificent underwater world here.

Having said that, it’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving Galapagos Islands as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging reefs and drifts.

It’s highly recommended to be a certified diver, particularly for the Galapagos Islands, because most of the best sites have more challenging conditions.

In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.

Galapagos Islands Scuba Diving Requirements

Scuba Diving Safety

Although there are Galapagos Marine Reserve rules, there aren’t any laws you need to be aware of. Your tour operator will inform you of everything you need to know.

As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 10 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator.

With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in the waters of the Galapagos Islands, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.

Best Dive Sites Around Galapagos Islands

The remote location of the Galapagos Islands makes for some of the most exclusive and special dive sites available. Stunning underwater landscapes and marine life you won’t see anywhere else await you. Here are some of our favorite dive sites around the Galapagos Islands.

Darwin Island

Rio Dive

Darwin Island is home to a number of incredible dive sites, some of which people would regard as the best in the world. It’s not rare to encounter hammerheads, whale sharks, and eagle rays along with prowling Galapagos during dives here.

Along with the show that the marine life puts on for you, you’ll be treated to a range of landscapes to explore such as stone arches and beautiful corals.

If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended diving package experience below, accessible from San Pedro!

Gordon Rocks

Belize Reef

Gordon Rocks is an exciting and unique experience waiting to be had at the northeast end of Santa Cruz island. The site features a submerged cone and brilliant underwater rock formations and pinnacles to explore.

Sometimes referred to as the “Washing Machine”, this site features strong currents and no real depth, making it suitable for advanced divers looking for a thrill they’ve never had before! Around Santa Cruz island you’ll also have the opportunity to encounter sea lions, sea horses, and sharks!

If you’re heading to the Galapagos, you can’t miss out on this unique work of natural art! Check out our recommended dive package below!

Fernandina Island


This unique diving destination gives you a rare and enviable opportunity to see Penguins shoot by. Done as a drift dive, you’ll also encounter Galapagos sea lions and fur seals, and marine iguanas.

The nearby volcanoes make great underwater rock formations to explore too as you marvel at the marine life and underwater landscapes while drifting along.

Best Time to go Diving Around Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands have a highly variable climate and generally feature two seasons. The tropical hot, rainy season runs from December until June. During this time you’ll see water temperatures of 75-80°F. From July to November you can expect periods of drizzle and cool breezes with water temperatures between 70-73°F.

While visibility of up to 100ft is possible, you’ll usually see visibility between 30-70ft. September-November is generally considered the best time to dive the Galapagos Islands. This is when water temperatures are cooler and conditions are drier.

How Much Does Scuba Diving the Galapagos Islands cost?

If you’re looking at booking a dive package experience through a tour company in Ecuador, you’ll find prices between $150-$300. The prices generally include gear rental and levys so there are no extra fees.

In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $350, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Scuba Diving Gear on Galapagos Islands

Scuba Gear

There are plenty of dive shops situated in Ecuador, the main jump-off point for the Galapagos Islands. This means gear rental is always an option.

It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a diving package from a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.

However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!

Be sure to check out our buyer’s guides if you’re looking for scuba gear. There you’ll find all of our top recommendations for a range of scuba gear.

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