Explore Epic Galapagos Marine Life
Get closer than you can imagine with these intimate Galapagos marine encounters
Galapagos Travel Bucketlist Ideas
The Galapagos Islands are famous for wildlife on land, like the reptiles and birds Charles Darwin studied. There’s also an incredible world beneath the waves, including sea lions, sharks and massive schools of strange fish. These 10+ travel ideas are perfect for your bucketist and reveal Galapagos marine life closer than you can imagine.
Galapagos Liveaboard Private Dive Cruise
Discover the finest scuba diving on the planet, on a private liveaboard and an itinerary that can be adapted to your marine interests. Dive sites around Central Galapagos can get busy. They’re a great introduction, especially with diving seabirds and sea lions. But for the best diving you need to sail north, a journey that requires a minimum of three nights. It’s up here, around places like Wolf Island, where you can encounter a myriad of different shark and ray species, along with a marine extravagance that has never been interrupted by people.
Galapagos Scuba Diving With Hammerheads
The Galapagos Islands provide some of the planet’s most remarkable dive sites. It’s one of few places where massive pelagic species can be encountered very close to the shore. Various reef sharks and turtles illuminate most dives, although the hammerheads create the ultimate excitement. Not just one, but dozens, perhaps hundreds of them swarming in the same place. Diving down to see these hammerheads is a stunning moment, as you uncover the secrets that emerge from the islands’ deep abyss. The best dive sites for this are around Daphne Major and Daphne Minor.
Galapagos Wildlife Safari at Kicker Rock and Punta Pitt
Of all the islands and all the wildlife, there are two Galapagos sites that perfectly summarise the safari experience. These are both on San Cristobal and you will discover them in one day with a private guide.First Kicker Rock, a dazzling snorkel or dive site, where sharks and manta rays gather in an abundance not seen elsewhere. Boobies and sea lions hang out on the cliffs above the dive site and you can often find them on the water besides you. Pungent aromas and squawking sounds fill the atmosphere at Punta Pitt, home of the islands’ biggest bachelor sea lion colony. You cannot get close to them. These sea lions are violent and you’ll witness plenty of quarrels. Instead, circumnavigate the colony to the only place on the islands where you can see all three species of booby in one place. Red-footed boobies, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and then frigate birds plus marine iguanas to complete your private wildlife safari.
Glass-Bottom Boat Around Radiba Island, Galapagos
You don’t need to snorkel or dive to discover Galapagos marine life. Radiba island is the perfect playground for a glass-bottomed boat ride. Sea lions pirouette beneath the waves and you can admire the antics of diving cormorants. After cruising the island you will take a walk on the cliffs, for powerfully close-up encounters with Nazca boobies and blue-footed boobies. Mockingbirds flutter on the island’s beach and you’ll also get close to marine iguanas.These remarkable reptiles have evolved to live on islands without fresh water. They soak up the Pacific waves and filter out to the salt instead of taking a drink.
Kayak With Sea Lions, Galapagos
When paddling across ocean waters a head rises to greet you. It’s a sea lion, a cute and calm character that loves these waters. Now another. And another. Soon there are hundreds of them besides you, hundreds of cute faces above the surface. There are many places across the Galapagos Islands where you can kayak with sea lions. Some are accessible with an island-based stay, but the best are more remote, only found on a longer Galapagos cruise.After an hour kayaking with sea lions you can venture onto a beach, where they bask in the sun and swivel necks to follow you. There are no fences. It’s just you and the sea lions, deep in a marine wilderness.
Kayaking and Land Safari at Santa Fe Island, Galapagos
Santa Fe will first provide an iconic Galapagos experience. Kayak around a quiet bay, as sea turtles and sea lions cruise past your paddle. Or choose a glass-bottomed boat for similar close-up encounters. Dock at the beach and admire the sea lions. Mothers nurse their babies, scenes of charm that impress from all angles. Some members of this sea lion harem will waddle over to you, inquisitive and intrigued by your presence. Complement these activities with a safari in search of an endemic character. You can’t find the Sante Fe iguana anywhere other than Santa Fe. And it’s so well camouflaged you can easily miss its enormous frame.
Land and Water Safari on Santiago Island, Galapagos
Santiago offers a sublime variety of wildlife experiences. Thrilling lava flows stretch across the island, devoid of wildlife but redolent of volcanic power. Huge iguanas lurk where flora has sprouted, their eyes watching you impassively from a distance. A walking trail will take you from Sullivan Bay to James Bay, the guide narrating how the islands continue to evolve. Along the way you’ll find flamingos in a lagoon, a rocky coastline dappled with fur seals, and a landscape that looks like the moon. Then get wet. You will explore a snorkel site on Santiago’s northern tip, where sharks and rays are among the pelagic visitors.
Scuba Diving at Darwin Island by Private Yacht, Galapagos
In the far northern reaches of the archipelago, Darwin Island remains completely off bounds. Nature is so precious that nobody is permitted onto the island. But that doesn’t mean you should not visit.The island’s surrounding waters swarm with life. Hammerhead sharks patrol the shallows along with manta rays. Whales sharks regularly lope past. Other pelagic fish species make for special encounters. This island is difficult to reach. You can visit on a private yacht, to access dive sites where there will be nobody else in the water.
Snorkeling and Birdwatching on Isabela Island, Galapagos
Puerto Villamil is an idyllic spot for whiling away a few days in the Galapagos, if you choose to not do a cruise. A local guide will take you along the coast here, to see thousands of migratory birds and their nests. Then a speedboat will take you out to the Teinoreras islets, where a walking trail reveals marine iguanas and sea lions. From the boat you can watch sharks swarming in narrow underwater crevices. Elsewhere there are penguins and pelicans, along with the looming cone of Sierra Negra. With one or more days you can combine land-based wildlife safari with snorkeling and scuba diving. Isabela has seven underwater sites and these provide a beautiful mix of big fish, sea lions and diving cormorants.
Snorkeling Champion Islet, Galapagos
A sea turtle elegantly glides past. Expertly camouflaged a small ray hides in the sand, just two metres below you. You follow a school of tropical fish, then turn around to find a small reef shark has been following you.It’s not scary or dangerous, only white-tip and black-tip reef sharks occupy these waters, not larger sharks. It’s an indication of how close you can get. Champion Islet is the best snorkeling site in southern Galapagos, because you can see so much so close to the surface.This is also an easy snorkel site and a guide will accompany you throughout.