The Best Ways to Experience the Galapagos Islands

Explore the Best Ways to See the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are undeniably a breathtaking destination. Situated around 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, straddling both sides of the equator, this archipelago of 19 islands provides a unique habitat for an incredible variety of species. The convergence of three distinct oceanic currents at this location creates a dynamic blend of warm and cold waters, nurturing diverse and invaluable marine ecosystems. Due to the islands' isolation and limited migration opportunities, the resident animals have evolved into endemic species, specific to each individual island. The Galapagos Islands boast an impressive 2,000 species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, lending them their well-deserved reputation. While only five of the islands are inhabited by humans, the remaining 14 islands are accessible solely through guided tours, ensuring their preservation and conservation.


Information from this Harvard International Review Article (click here) 



The Best Way to Experience the Galapagos: A Scuba Dive Liveaboard

A map of the Galapagos Islands and the dive spots included on our 8 day dive liveaboard trip

When exploring the Galapagos Islands, the ideal approach is to embark on a dive liveaboard expedition to truly access the remote and captivating locations. The most extraordinary experience one can have is diving in the northern region of the Galapagos, particularly at Wolf and Darwin Islands (see photo above). It is an awe-inspiring adventure that finds its place on every diver's ultimate wish list. Due to the considerable distances required to reach destinations like Wolf and Darwin, all Galapagos dive liveaboards typically span a minimum of 8 days. These remarkable sites are renowned for their flourishing populations of hammerhead and Galapagos sharks, making them an absolute must-visit. Furthermore, in the latter part of the year, the islands transform into a vital migratory path for majestic whale sharks.


Other Incredible Sites Included on our Dive Liveaboards:

Cape Marshall (City of Mantas) - eagle ray or giant manta, white tip sharks, sea lions, green sea turtles and many more

Punta Vicente Roca - mola alexandrini, sea lions and galapagos fur seals

Cape Douglas - marine iguanas, endemic flightless cormorant and galapagos penguins

Cousin's Rock - playful sea lions, eagle rays, golden rays, mobula and giant Pacific manta rays

Snorkel-based or Land-based Liveaboards

If you are not a certified scuba diver or cannot scuba dive for health reasons, we recommend a snorkel liveaboard or a land-based liveaboard. 


The reason we recommend this is that a liveaboard is really the best way to experience the Galapagos since there are so many remote areas that are only accessible by boat and some you need several days to get there.  Snorkel-based liveaboards can last from 3 days up to 7 days. On some of these trips, you can go to the western side of Isabela which is really amazing. We have contacts at many of the vessels within the Galapagos, so if you'd like more information, please email and we can send over more details. 

Daily Dive Tours

Day diving in comparison with diving on a dive liveaboard up in Wolf & Darwin is always complicated to explain. If you are lucky on a day dive in Gordon Rocks you can see a big school of around 50 hammerhead sharks - up in Wolf/Darwin if you are lucky you can see a school of 500 or more hammerheads. Both are incredible experiences and still hard to compare. Galapagos on a bad day is often still so much more incredible compare to many other dive spots around the world on a good day. If you do not have the time (dive live aboards are 8 days) or money we would recommend to go for daily dive tours around the main island of Santa Cruz or San Cristobal.


There are places like Gordon Rocks and North Seymour (departing from Santa Cruz) or Kickers Rock (departing from San Cristobal) where you can see hammerheads. At Gordon Rocks (Santa Cruz) and Kickers Rock (San Cristobal) there is a slightly better chance to see hammerhead sharks. Just like any other wildlife encounters, there is no assurance of encountering specific animals while scuba diving. 

We highly recommend Academy Bay or Scuba Iguana - dive operators in Santa Cruz . Let them know you are coming from Jenny (Galapagos Shark Diving) to get a good deal.

What can you do before or after your dive liveaboard on land in Galapagos?

A few recommendations from Jenny:  In the Galapagos you have 3 main inhabitant islands - San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabela. All reachable with little boats going between the island twice a day. Our Shark Conservation Dive Liveaboard boats leave from Santa Cruz what is the reason that we recommendations having Santa Cruz as a starting point.

1-3 days time: day tour to North Seymour - a really nice little island with many of the unique species of Galapagos (blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, land iguana, sea lions, etc.). A nice walk to Tortuga beach (plus walking to the laguna Manzo) or to Las Grietas including Playa Aleman are each half day tours. For both take your swimming suit. You also should plan time for the Charles Darwin Center and the fish market in Puerto Ayora. Note: the highlands of Santa Cruz including giant tortoises you will see on our dive trip. 


4-7 days: Jenny loves Isabela island. Life there still moves at a somewhat slower pace. Time to relax on the beach and also so many activities, e.g. volcano tour, kayak tours to Las Tintoreras and snorkel in Los Tunnels and many things more. Ferries go twice every day. Check out Jenny's travel report (click here)


This suggestion list, although limited in scope, represents just a fraction of what is possible to explore and experience in the Galapagos Islands. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about what program/tours would fit for you. We are happy to share our knowledge and to make your Galapagos adventure a life-changing experience. If you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at We are happy to assist you in any question you might have.

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