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GALAPAGOS ISLANDS BEST SNORKELING GUIDE

Blue deep waters, exuberant flora and fauna, spectacular wild and marine life, all make the Galapagos Islands one of the best snorkeling spots in the world. 

The Enchanted Islands are the perfect destination for deep sea and marine life lovers. In 2001, UNESCO declared the Galapagos Marine Reserve a World Heritage Site, which represents one of the most unique ecosystems in the world for its high biodiversity. This reserve is also considered the largest marine reserve in Ecuador and the second largest in the world.

Galapagos Marine Reserve involves several different habitats. Seamounts, reefs, underwater cliffs, wetlands, and lagoons. These places are home to a wide range of species. Dolphins, albatrosses, sharks, sea lions, penguins, fur seals, rays, cormorants, marine iguanas, sea turtles, and tropical fishes. 

All of the islands’ great marine and wildlife biodiversity is the result of their location along the equator. The warm and cold ocean currents that reach the islands carry rich nutrients that support marine life.

The Galapagos Islands offer you the opportunity to live a unique underwater experience. It ‘s just strap on a mask and snorkel and jump in with the fish. The islands are a world class diving and snorkeling destination. In other words, visitors can enjoy a variety of snorkeling sites: from easy beach excursions to the strong currents of the Devil’s Crown, there is something for every skill level.

Here we share with you a guide about Galapagos Islands best snorkeling places. And everything you need to know to make your experience unique and magical. 

THE BEST SITES AND SPOTS FOR SNORKELING IN GALAPAGOS

If you visit Galapagos and you don’t snorkel, it’s like not having been there. The best part is that you don’t need to be an expert to do this sport. You just need to be eager to immerse yourself in the amazing seascape. 

Here are some of the best snorkeling spots in Galapagos Islands!

Free day visit in Galapagos

  • Puerto Villamil Pier & Concha de Perla: In Isabela you have two snorkeling spots, where you will have the opportunity to see a large population of sea lions. If you are lucky you can dive close to the Galapagos penguins. Or watch them dive into the water.
  • At Las Tijeretas: You find this at San Cristobal. It is characteristic of this place to see beautiful turtles. In addition, you will have the opportunity to snorkel and observe colorful fish. 

Land tour 

  • Los Tuneles: At Isabela. “Los Tuneles” the perfect place for snorkel. A series of lava flows have produced unique geological formations, a series of arches and tunnels, under and above the water, where a large number of Galapagos endemic species live.
  • Kicker Rock: Also known as “Leon Dormido” (Sleeping lion), it is one of the most impressive dive sites in San Cristobal. In the Tuff Cone rock channel. You will be able to observe Galapagos sharks, white tip reef sharks, rays, reef fish, sea turtles and sea lions. In this place the water current is a little strong but accompanied by guides there is no problem.
  • Pinnacle Rock: Considered one of the most famous landmarks in the Galapagos. Located on Bartolome Island. At the base of this famous rock, you can observe the only penguin species that lives north of Ecuador, the endemic Galapagos penguin.
  • North Seymour Island: This island have several diving places, which offers snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities for divers of all levels.

By cruise ship

These snorkeling spots are accessible only on a liveaboard cruise.

  • Devil ‘s Crown: Located at Floreana. Here is one of the favorites spots for snorkeling. But also where the water currents are strong. Inside the walls of an eroded marine crater, you will be able to see great among of species.
  • Punta Espinosa.- Also on a visit to the Western Isles of the Galápagos Islands, snorkeling at Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island. It is the best place to dive with marine iguanas. You can also delight in seeing flightless cormorants.
  • Chinese Hat : Also known as “Sombrero Chino”. Located on Santiago Island. Its spectacular white coral sand beach is one of the most beautiful landscapes of the Galapagos Islands. It is also considered one of the most incredible places for diving and snorkeling.
  • Prince Philip Steps: Prince Philip’s Steps is one of the two visitor sites on the northern island Genovesa. While diving in deep water along the rocky walls, you may spot manta rays.
  • Tagus Cove: At Isabela Island, Tagus offers a great snorkeling time with a great marine life. One of the highlights here is the chance to see seahorses. 

In this video you can see a little of the experience that snorkeling brings. It is a unique experience that you must have the opportunity to live. 

THE BETTER TIME TO VISIT

It is important to know when to plan your trip to the Islands.

Hot Season: It runs from December to May. Temperatures range from 65 to 85 degrees. At this time of the year it is characterized by calm waters and tend to be warm.  Diving at this time of the year is optimal. 

Dry Season: Runs from June to November. Temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees. The waters at this time of year are cooler and a bit rougher due to the wind. But the good news.

Thanks to the rich underwater currents that arrive during these months, the marine fauna is much more active. A wetsuit is always an option so you can still comfortably enjoy Galapagos snorkeling!

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SNORKELING 

  • About the snorkeling equipment: It is advisable to always check the equipment that is delivered, the mask, fins, wetsuit, etc. Everything must be in the best conditions. The guides are ready to help you in any case. 
  • If it is your first time using a mask for diving, ask the guide about the correct use. You can also try the equipment before diving. 
  • Consider using a floating device or lifejacket if you are not a confident swimmer.
  • Wearing a t-shirt while snorkeling helps to keep you warm, and stops sunburn on your back.
  • It is important to stay in a group or together with a partner or guide during the activity. 
  • If you feel tired from being on the water, just wave to the driver to get his attention and he will bring the boat closer to you.
  • Galapagos marine animals are not usually dangerous or aggressive. However, it is preferable to keep a safe distance.
  • If you are going to snorkel in the company of children. It is better to do it in shallow waters for practice.

Follow all the recommendations to make your activity totally enjoyable. 

Snorkeling in Galapagos islands is definitely an activity not to be missed. The underwater experience is amazing, you will witness all the marine species in its maximum splendor. Don’t be afraid and get into the action, you won’t regret it! 

Here, you can see some of our trips to the Islands that offer you the opportunity to snorkel.

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