Galapagos – Ecuador
The islands of the Galapagos Archipelago lie distributed on both sides of the equator and are the southernmost of the islands famous for diving with big stuff in the East Pacific. The distance from mainland Ecuador is a bit over 900 km.
Four of the islands are inhabited and can be visited without booking a tour. The population is around 25’000.
Galapagos is famous for its many endemic species first described by Charles Darwin. His observations of different species, in particular the finches adapted to specific niches on the different islands, became part of his evolution theory by natural selection.
What to see: Marine Iguana, sharks (galapagos, hammerhead, white tip, silky, silver tip, whale and more), mola molas, penguins, orcas
Level: Advanced, at least 50 dives because of deep dives and strong currents. Most boats allow people with less experience, I think it makes more sense to gain experience first to be able to fully enjoy the dives.
How to get there: Flight to Galapagos (Baltra or San Cristobal) from Quito or Guayaquil. The crew from the liveaboard will pick you up at the respective airport. Several liveaboards offer trips in Galapagos. It does make sense to check the itineraries of the different boats. Some stay longer in the famous dive sites Wolf and Darwin (around 16 hours from the southern islands) and not all boats go to the marine iguanas.
Water temperature: 17-28°C, colder in the south and during the summer the temperatures are lower. I had 17°C in the south in May while in the north it was around 24°C.
Visitbility: 5-30 m
Season: All year round, rough sea and high season June-August, dry season with colder water from July till December with a higher chance of seeing whale sharks.
Price: $ 4000 – 7000 for 1 week liveaboard
My trip: I booked my trip from Quito hoping for a great last minute deal, which didn’t really happen but I still had an awesome trip on board of the Galapagos Aggressor I. We had very experienced local guides, the 16 divers on board were divided into two groups and everything was well organized and luxurious. Including a jaccuzi and hot showers on the dive deck.