Diving & Nature Expedition Galapagos!
Diving in Galapagos is possible with our 8 day 7 night itinerary aboard M/Y Aqua! We have designed this expedition specially for travellers who want to travel “deeper” into the enchanted islands. Meet incredible marine life and enjoy only the most spectacular diving sites the Galapagos Islands have to offer! The fun doesn’t end there, after our 8 day 7 night program, we offer a 3 days extension which is dedicated to nature. You'll explore the incredible seabird colonies of North Seymour, visit the truly magical Galapagos Giant Tortoises in Santa Cruz, discover all the species of Iguanas in South Plazas and much more!
Advanced diving GalapagosThe Galapagos Islands are without doubt one of the most spectacular diving locations in the world. In these clear waters you can can dive with hundreds of hammerhead sharks and might also come across a huge whale shark, sea turtles or giant rays. We believe the Galapagos are a divers paradise, however only for advanced divers as water temperatures and currents are often challenging. The water temperature depends on the time of year, location in the archipelago and the ocean currents. It can be between 16 degrees to 26 degrees celsius, which is relatively cold for the equator.
Nature Galapagos ExtensionEnjoy a wildlife cruise and get thrillingly close to unique wildlife species, including Blue- and Red-Footed boobies, Marine iguanas, Giant tortoises and more. Adventurers from all over the world are sure to enjoy all of the unique sites found during the cruise. It’s really a "travel through time" journey, anywhere you go. You will be an eye-witness of evolution at its greatest! From incredible lava formations to the amazing animals, the mysteries this Archipelago withholds are eager for you to discover them!
Please note this is a sample itinerary.
We do our utmost to guarantee the best experiences, however dive locations and excursion sites may change depending on sea and weather conditions.
Day 1: Arrival & Baltra North East
After arrival at Seymour Ecological Airport, your guide will meet you at the airport, assist you with the luggage and accompany you on the short bus ride to the harbour of Puerto Ayora. Here you will climb aboard the yacht Aqua. After greeting the crew and the captain, your cabins will be assigned to you and then you will enjoy your first lunch on-board.
After lunch we will go to Baltra North East. This spot is the perfect start for your adventure. With moderate currents, this dive site is for adventurous divers looking to see fascinating lava and rock formations, as well as an incredible number of marine species. At the depth of around 20 meters (60 ft) we might see white-tip reef sharks, pelagic fish, reef fish, rays, and turtles. You'll have great opportunities to see sea lions as well. Occasionally, hammerhead sharks can be spotted swimming nearby.
Day 2: Bartolome & Cousin's Rock
Located east of Santiago Island, Bartolome is known for its unique spear-like pinnacle. Here we will dive and go around a rocky platform and float around underwater cliffs that start at 15m. This gives us a good chance to see pelagic animals.
Cousin’s rock is located north-east of Santiago island, near Bartolome. This site has a unique and stunning topography of jagged rocky shelves where animals, both big and small, can be found resting and feeding. It is one of the few places where you can see endemic black coral amongst the riot of colourful clams, algae, flora and fauna that cover the rocks like splashes of paint. During our surface interval, look out for penguins that inhabit the surrounding area. You can expect to see many different marine mammals.
Day 3: Wolf Island
Named after the German geologist Theodor Wolf, this extinct volcano reaches 253m (780ft) above sea level and lies around 160km (100m) northwest of Isabela Island. Unfortunately land visits are not permitted, however, bird life may be spotted from the boat. Most dives around the reefs and walles have medium to strong currents. Therefore, the use of gloves and reef hooks is advised. Schooling pelagics are the main attraction, but you can also see hammerheads, white tips and Galapagos sharks. (May-November).
Day 4: Darwin Island
Darwin Island is on of the smallest islands within the Galapagos Archipelago and like Wolf Island, no land visits are permitted. It is a volcano which reaches 165 m (490ft) above sea level and was named after naturalist Charles Darwin. One of the most famed diving sites is “Darwin’s Arch”, which provides an amazing drift dive along the wall at an average depth of just 9m. Mostly medium to strong currents are to be expected. You may see many hammerheads, black tips, silky and Galapagos sharks! Schools of jacks are a common sight, along with turtles, angelfish and moray eels. Occasional sightings of tiger sharks, manta rays and bottlenose dolphins make for a thrilling time. Whale sharks may also be seen between May – November.
Day 5: Wolf IslandToday we return to Wolf Island again for more dives.
Day 6: Vicente Roca Point & Cape Douglas
We will cross the Bolivar Channel for the last time to Vicente Roca Point, just at the mouth of Isabela’s seahorse-shape. While entering a dark cave below a spectacular arch, roaring echoes of the waves will accompany you. Just around the corner, the collapsed amphitheatre of Volcan Ecuador offers another impressive view. The waters of the coves are much calmer compared against the ocean swell and are great place for snorkelling amongst various species of shark, penguins, puffer fish and even seahorses!
Cape Douglas will provide you with amazing diving opportunities as well. As you prepare for your dive, you can see Galapagos Penguins, Galapagos Flightless Cormorants, and Galapagos Marine Iguanas- animals only found exclusively on the Islands. A sure sight is incredible marine iguanas swimming and feeding on the rocks under the surface.
Day 7: Roca Blanca & Pinzon
Roca Blanca is a mecca for sea life. It's located on the South East coast of Isabela Island and one of the best diving sites the central islands offer. Due to the cooler waters in the central islands, this increases the diversity of marine life. You will get to see amazing life here, such as: shark, manta & eagle rays, sea lions, moray eels, lobsters, and a vast population of tropical fish.
Pinzon is a small island located off the western coast of Santa Cruz, about 1 hour from Puerto Ayora. It is a great spot for beginners and experienced divers, offering many playful sea lions, turtles, and red lipped batfish. The deep drop off wall is for more experienced divers, and is a great spot to see sea horses, rays, different species of sharks, and lobster. In the warmer months, Pinzon is a favourite site for the Manta Rays and pods of dolphins.
Day 8: Highlands & Nature extension
After Pinzon we will sail to Puerto Ayora, where our diving cruise will end. The road to the highlands leaves from Bellavista, a small village located a 15-minute drive from Puerto Ayora, and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone, and then goes to the Fern and Sedge zone. Here you will visit the Twin Craters, which are two pit craters, as well as a local ranch where we can observe the giant tortoise of Santa Cruz Island in its natural habitat.
North SeymourWe will return to Baltra to board the yacht again. We'll continue our trip to the next visiting site: North Seymour. This islet is one of most visited sites, and it is teeming with birdlife. An easy circular path takes you through the archipelago’s most extensive colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. At the beginning of the breeding season, adult frigate bird-males blow up their vivid red pouches to impressive football-sized balloons. This is one of the few spots where you can compare the magnificent and the great frigate bird breeding next to each other.
Day 9: South Plazas & Santa Fe
South Plaza is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than their relatives found on other islands. There are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana; they are unique, recognisable at first glance by their black/grey color. The large population of iguanas is due to the presence of tuna, their favourite food.
Located in the south-eastern part of the Galapagos, Santa Fe was formed from an uplift rather than being of volcanic origin, which is why it is mostly flat. There are some theories which claim that this could be the oldest island in the Archipelago. Santa Fe is home to a number of endemic species like the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of lands iguanas of the islands. Along the trail, many salt bushes can be seen as well as the giant prickly pear cactus. There are many possibilities to snorkel with playful sea lions and tropical fish.
Day 10: CC Fausto Llerena & Cormorant Point
After discovering and learning about the difference of Espanola Island tortoises with those from other islands, you will have the opportunity to take amazing photographs of the tortoises at the breeding center! The tour starts at the information booth of the GNP. There will be a path where you can see the tortoises of Española Island, ending in the tortoise exhibit corral. Tortoises of this corral are accustomed to humans; it is an excellent spot to be photographed with them!
The peninsula of Cormorant Point forms the extreme north cape of Floreana, which formed from smaller volcanic cones, covered by tropical dry forest (palo santo). At the landing beach, you will be welcomed by a small Galapagos sea lion colony. The green sand on this beach contains a high percentage of glassy olivine crystals which have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones.
The beach on the southern side of the peninsula is made up of even finer white coral sand which feels very smooth on the feet. You can spot schools of stingrays who love the sandy bottom to hide themselves. During the first months of the year, Pacific green turtles come ashore to bury their eggs.
Day 11: Dragon Hill & Disembarkation
Galapagos land iguanas and American flamingos will likely be seen during a visit to Dragon Hill. You will climb a hill with giant opuntia cacti where these ‘dragons’ feed and breed. Although they are quite shy and elusive, you stand a fair chance of seeing them with your own eyes. The short walk crosses the coastal vegetation zone, as well as the somewhat higher arid zone with vulnerable tropical dry forest. In the warm and wet season in the first half of the year everything turns green. This is a very photogenic spot, with breathtaking panoramas over the bay. Dragon Hill has become popular because of its saline lagoons behind the beach; these contain algae and shrimp and attract American flamingos. Dragon Hill is the best location on Santa Cruz to observe them.
It’s time to say goodbye to Galapagos! It’s been a pleasure accompanying you on this unique trip and hope to see you again very soon! Assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, the dinghy will bring you and your luggage to the Seymour Ecological Airport, where we will take the shuttle back to the airport.
Call us today on +31 (0) 858 771 583