The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s premier diving locations. Thanks to an incredible array of marine life, much of it endemic, and the convergence of huge ocean currents, it is not quite like any other diving destination.
However, this also means the usual diving considerations don’t always apply. So, in order to give you the best chance of a genuine once-in-a-lifetime diving experience here are our eight top tips for success.
The convergence of currents, occasionally choppy waters and cooler temperatures means diving Galapagos Islands waters is not always the easiest. Which means you may want to bring your own gear rather than relying on unfamiliar rental equipment (or included with diving some cruises).
All flights to the Galapagos come from Quito, Ecuador with scale in Guayaquil, and airlines often enforce strict baggage policies (20 kilos 1 piece of lugagge p.p.). So, you need to think carefully about how much of your own equipment you can realistically take. Pick the most important items from your kit bag, such as your dive computer and regulator, and pack them in your carry-on bag. Maybe even your own perfect-fit wet-suit.
If you are bringing your wetsuit then remember that despite its near equatorial position, the unusual currents mean the waters are far less tropical. You’ll need at least a 7mm suit from June to December and at least 5mm the rest of the year.
The waters around the islands are very responsive to the climate and affected by the time of year. The rainy season, which runs from November to February is often the period when waters are warmest and calmest, and strangely when there is the most chance of clear day. All of which makes for clearer diving Galapagos Islands conditions at this time of year than in the cooler, more turbulent, parts of the year from May onwards.
When diving Galapagos Islands waters it can get busy thanks to the scale of demand. Try to go for more secluded dive spots, and if you can, head up to the Wolf and Darwin Islands 150 miles to the north of the main archipelago.
You’ll encounter exotic and pelagic species under the water, including the world’s most northerly penguins and, potentially, whale sharks. So, bringing your underwater camera equipment is highly recommended. However, again, pack carefully as sometimes space is limited on dive excursions.
Most Galapagos tours take pace on boats, with only a very limited choice of land-based accommodation available. Pick a quality vessel, like the Eden yacht for more chance of enjoying your time at sea.
Diving Galapagos Islands waters is always an incredible experience, teeming with sharks, rays, turtles, penguins, iguanas and more. It’s a lot to take in so prepare to be astonished day after day.
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