The Galapagos Islands is known to be one of the best diving destinations on the planet. With the numerous dive sites available and the wide array of amazing marine life in the area, it is no wonder that diving in the Galapagos is on top of many diver’s diving bucket list. The wildlife in the area also aren’t afraid of humans, thus providing divers with an opportunity to get up close and personal with the Islands’ natural inhabitants. If you’re planning a trip to these magical islands, here are the top destinations to visit for an exciting Galapagos diving adventure.
1. Darwin Island
Perhaps the most popular diving destination in the Galapagos Islands, Darwin Island, and its well-known diving site Darwin’s Arch is the ultimate destination for many divers visiting the archipelago. And why not? With an average depth of about 10 meters, divers are treated to a grand display of manta rays, sea turtles, and dolphins swimming about in the waters. But for most divers, the highlight of the show happens when the strong currents bring in huge schools of sharks. In any particular dive, it is common to see several hammerhead sharks, silky sharks, blacktip sharks, Galapagos sharks, and whale sharks. If the variety and number of shark species found in the area sound scary to you, well don’t worry because scuba diving with sharks is generally safe and enjoyable.
2. Shark Point
Shark Point is one of the world-class diving sites in the remote location of Wolf Island and is only accessible by a live-aboard expedition. Just like Darwin Island, there are also several shark species roaming in the area like hammerhead sharks and Galapagos sharks. However, divers who come to shark point are usually after one particular species, the whale shark, which is usually found gathering in the area any time between May and November.
It is important to note that diving in Shark Point is reserved for experienced divers who are well-equipped with diving safety gear. This is because of the strong currents and occasional harsh surges, as well as the poor visibility underwater.
3. Gordon Rocks
Gordon Rocks are the eroded volcanic crater of a submerged cone on the northeast side of Santa Cruz Island and are considered to be one of the best dive spots in the central islands.
There are plenty of marine animals in the area like Galapagos sharks, white tip reef sharks, Mobula rays, stingrays, eagle rays, Galapagos eel, reef fishes, barracuda, amberjacks, marlins, and green turtles. However, what really makes Gordon Rocks a popular diving destination is the huge number of hammerhead sharks that are brought into a relatively confined area by the strong currents. If you want to observe these marine predators, this is the best place to do so.
Due to the depth and strong currents (many divers nicknamed Gordon Rocks as “the washing machine”), it is advised that only experienced divers attempt this dive.
4. Punta Vicente Roca
Punta Vicente Roca located off Isabela Island offers a delightful adventure for divers who are looking for playful penguins and sea lions. The sloping wall with several small caves is also home to various invertebrates like frogfish and sea horses. But the real attraction of Punta Vicente Roca is the huge sunfish that can often be seen hanging outside the wall. Keep in mind that the waters here can get really cold, so you’ll want to wear a thick diving wetsuit and a dive hood for the dive.
5. Roca Redonda
Roca Redonda is another famous dive spot in the Galapagos Island mainly for its streams of natural gas bubbles known as fumaroles, features that are to be expected from the archipelago’s volcanic nature. Entering the water can be a bit of a challenge because of the heavy surges, but once underwater divers can enjoy watching the hot bubbles being released from the ocean floor.
Aside from the fumaroles, there are plenty of interesting things to see in Roca Redonda. Colorful nudibranchs are thriving in the area, as well as Galapagos sharks swimming around you during your safety stops. Just like Punta Vicente Roca, the waters in Roca Redondo can be quite cold so you may want to consider wearing a diving drysuit or a thick wetsuit.
6. Punta Carrion
Novice divers and those who are new to Galapagos Islands usually start with some of the easier dives sites like the Punta Carrion. With sandy bottom patches and reefs with a few boulders here and there, Punta Carrion is filled with an array of marine life that even beginning divers will have fun exploring. There are sea lions, penguins, and marine iguanas hunting for fish on the reef. Sea slugs and nudibranchs of varying colors and shapes and can also be spotted on the reef. Mobula rays are also common in the area, along with the Galapagos’ famous hammerhead shark and Galapagos sharks.
With the various marine life and the generally mild currents and calm waters, Punta Carrion is a great way to introduce divers to what they can expect when diving in Galapagos.
7. Camano Islet
Camano Islet is situated on the west side of Academy Bay in Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz Island. The water can go anywhere from ten to sixty feet deep, with generally persistent yet moderate currents coming in from the southeast. The visibility underwater is good though, making it a nice and easy dive for the most part.
An abundance of marine life can also be enjoyed by divers in Camano Islet. There are colonies of sea lions living in the area, as well as turtles, groupers, batfish, sea horses, and the famed Galapagos marine iguana. The calm waters and the variety of marine creatures make this a great adventure for novice divers.
8. Cousins Rock
Cousins Rock is located off the northeast coast of Santiago Island and is one of the most frequented dive spots by intermediate divers. The underwater topography is composed of terraced steps that drop down to a sandy bottom over a hundred feet below. The terraces covered in black corals provide a nice home for Pacific seahorses, while the overhangs offer excellent shelters for the white-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, and moray eels living in the area.
Swimming further into the open waters, divers should be able to spot schools of barracuda, manta rays, and hammerhead sharks swimming in the distance. Other marine creatures that divers usually encounter when diving in Cousins Rock include sea lions, Galapagos sharks, stingrays, spotted eagle rays, and a variety of invertebrates and mollusks.
9. Tijeretas Hill
Tijeretas Hill is a popular dive site among beginning divers and is located off of San Cristobal Island. With great visibility and an array of marine wildlife, you’ll want to make sure that you bring along your diving camera as the dive presents many wonderful opportunities for picture taking.
The dive profile in Tijeretas Hill is a wall dive filled with large, uneven rocks and a sandy bottom. Among the landscape, you’ll encounter green sea turtles, rays, and Galapagos eels, as well as schools of fish like angelfish and grunts. There are also playful sea lions in the area, many of whom will be swimming alongside you as you explore the area.
10. Bartholomew Point
Bartholomew Point, located off of Bartholomew Island, offers an interesting dive profile with fascinating rock and lava formations. Moderate currents in the area make this a bit challenging for beginning divers. That said, it is recommended that you have logged quite a few dives in the past before attempting this dive.
Aside from the common marine creatures found throughout the Galapagos archipelago like Sea turtles, sea lions, and others, there are plenty of other marine creatures that thrive in the area. It is common to see white-tip sharks, barracuda, Mobula rays, and stingrays in the blue. There is also a good variety of invertebrates and mollusks in the area. Keep your eyes open for the Panamic sergeant majors and bullseye puffer, as well as the hammerhead sharks that occasionally pass by.
Amidst all of the wonderful creatures found thriving in Bartholomew Point, many divers are far more interested in playing with the penguins found in the area. Sometimes, these penguins will be swimming alongside you or whiz by as they hunt for food or play in the waves.
Globo Surf Overview
It is without a doubt that the Galapagos Islands are one of the best places to go scuba diving. With the variety of underwater landscapes and the range of marine life that live in the area, it is one of the most frequented diving destinations in the world. If you’re planning to go diving in Galapagos, be sure to visit some of the awesome dive sites mentioned above. For sure a Galapagos diving adventure, whether it be on a live-aboard expedition or a day trip, will leave you with a diving experience that is unlike any other in the world.
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