Best Time of Year to Scuba Dive

Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

“Diving in the Galapagos in the so-called offseason is probably still better to dive in than 90% of the world's dive destinations during their high season. You'll see more species in Galapagos on a bad day than you see in most dive sites around the world on the very best day.” -Jonathan Green

Jenny Waack (founder of Galapagos Shark Diving®) and Jonathan Green (Tour Leader of Galapagos Shark Diving® and Director of Galapagos Whale Shark Project) discuss a question they get often, “What is the best time to go diving in the Galapagos Islands?” The information in this post was extracted from a Travel EmOcean podcast episode recorded on June 14, 2020. Click here to listen to the full episode.

An eagle ray swims below a hammerhead shark, colorful fish swim around

When is the best time to go diving in the Galapagos Islands?

The best time is between June and October as the chances of seeing whale sharks are definitely higher. Also, the schools of hammerheads tend to be much bigger in this period and the amount of wildlife just explodes. 

A photo from above of a Whale Shark as it swims in the Galapagos Islands

Why is June - October the best time of year to dive?

We have two very distinct seasons in the Galapagos. One is the cool season, which generally runs from June until the end of November, possibly the beginning of December. The warm, sometimes called the hot season, runs from December/January until April/May. The season length varies every single year, and that's why we don't tend to run dive trips in the early part of the cool season or the late part of the cool season because sometimes it's cooler and sometimes it's warmer. It depends on the ocean currents, which is the key to everything. It's because of the ocean currents, specifically those cold currents that are coming up the Peru Coast from Antarctica, bringing in very cold water, very nutrient-rich water, which is highly productive. When that mixes with the warm waters from the north, you get an explosion in marine life at a very low level - we're talking about phytoplankton and zooplankton. Because of the levels of productivity in the water and the amount of available food, you get an influx of bigger species. A lot of the adult whale sharks, giant mantas, turtles, rays, a number of the whale species, and so much more come into the islands around those periods. So those two distinct periods mean that you get an influx of different animals at different times of the year. 

What if I want to travel/dive between December and May?

We take most of our videos and photos in the cold season between June and September. During this time of year, we can dive with adult whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, mantas, molas, sea lions, turtles, rays, marine iguanas and so much more. If you dive in the warm season (December - May), you still see a great number of different species of marine wildlife. It is possible to see many oceanic “big life” like hammerhead sharks. You'll see turtles and sea lions that are residents all year round and very playful. However, you will not see marine wildlife in the same variety, quantity, and frequency as in the cool season. Diving in the Galapagos in the so-called offseason is probably still better to dive in than 90% of the world's dive destinations during their high season. You'll see more species in Galapagos on a bad day than in most dive sites around the world on the very best day. The Galapagos Islands are an exciting place to dive at any time of the year. If that is the time of the year that you have available to travel, I would say go and travel anyway because you'll have a fantastic time. If you want to see the big life and see it in big numbers, visit during the cool season.

In summary, the best time to dive in the Galapagos is between June and October because you can see the big wildlife, whale sharks, and big schools of hammerheads. If the only option is for you to go diving between December and May, I would still say go for it. Galapagos is one of the most unique destinations on the planet, both on land, and of course, underwater. It doesn't matter what time of the year you go, you will have an incredible experience. If your focus is the big life, then June, July, August, and September are the months that you should plan your trip for.  

If you are planning your Galapagos adventure and have additional questions about which season to plan your visit, please reach out to us anytime! You can reach us at

Write a comment

Comments: 8
  • #1

    Christopher Altenhofen (Sunday, 19 February 2023 18:26)

    Any recommendations for a live aboard that emphasizes shark diving?

  • #2

    Galapagos Shark Diving (Monday, 20 February 2023 17:43)

    Yes, we would be happy if you would join us for one of our Shark Conservation Dive Trips. On those trips you will not only dive with sharks but also get more information about them from a shark scientist on board. If you join us for these trips you also support shark conservation, because all our profits are going directly in the local Galapagos shark research program "Galapagos Whale Shark Project". We are trying to offer a responsible way of diving with sharks and at the same time supporting the ocean and their inhabitants. If you would like more information we would happily assist you. You can reach us by email or WhatsApp +593 999 66 7219. I am very much looking forward to your message.

    All the best

  • #3

    Pedro Borges (Friday, 24 February 2023 00:20)

    Does the boats have internet connection while in Darwin and Wolf island? Even poor connection? I need occasional internet because of work

  • #4

    Galapagos Shark Diving (Sunday, 26 February 2023 17:25)

    Hi Pedro,
    the boat we are using for the Conservation Dive Trips does not offer internet. However, there are other boats I can book you on which do. Please keep in mind none of the vessel will have a very good internet connection as they up there is no phone signal. It is still a very remote place - what actually makes it so much more beautiful too. :)
    I would be very happy to help you find the right dive liveaboard and boat. Just write us a message on WhatsApp or Email.
    All the best

  • #5

    Manaf (Friday, 03 March 2023 10:14)

    Hi Jenny,
    I am a 63 year old male having about 200-250 dives with AOWD certification with Nitrox and Deep dive certification.

    I have dived in Asia and Mexico but never in very cold waters or strong currents.

    Diving at Galapagos is my dream.

    1) Do you think I can manage it.
    2) I am Indian National living in Dubai, can you organize a trip for me. I would prefer a private dive guide with me.
    3) I am interested in seeing big pelagic creatures and Hammerheads are in top of my list. When is the best time to see these magnificent creatures

  • #6

    Galapagos Shark Diving (Thursday, 30 March 2023)

    Hi Manaf,
    Thank you so much for your message. I also saw your email and answered you by email. It will be a pleasure to help you finding the best way to explore the Galapagos for you.
    All the best

  • #7

    Geoff marsh (Sunday, 31 March 2024 16:28)

    Hi it’s been a dream of mine to dive with lots of hammerheads and whale sharks in the Galapagos. I have just turned 60 and want to treat myself, I have 40 years of diving and used to the colder waters in the uk , unfortunately none of my dive buddies can afford to come with me , is this a trip I could do on my own and what would you recommend regarding livaboards
    Regards Geoff

  • #8

    Galapagos Shark Diving (Monday, 01 April 2024 20:18)

    Hi Geoff,
    Thank you so much for your interest in diving with us and supporting ocean conservation at the same time. We have many single traveler traveling with us. You will share a cabin with another male diver and only pay the price for one person. We will find you a cabin room mate. There are options to have a cabin for yourself if you wish to.
    I am very happy to send you more information about the Dive Conservation Liveaboards if you like by email? You can reach us on or by WhatsApp: +593 999 66 7219. It would be a pleasure traveling with you.

    We wish you a great day and looking forward to your feedback.