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The Best Galapagos Liveaboards

INTRO

Traveling to the Galapagos is like entering into an otherworldly bubble of biodiversity, teeming with life in the open waters and rocky reefs below.

The ‘Enchanted Islands’ and famed SCUBA diving spot is home to some impressive underwater life. Hammerhead sharks swim alongside rays, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, mola mola, and sea lions.

The best way to experience the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Galapagos Marine reserve?

Without question, a Galapagos liveaboard! It’s well known that the best, and sometimes the only way, to get up close with these shy marine animals is by liveaboard.

Although shore-based diving is fine, it definitely takes your trip to the next level having all your needs taken care of aboard a well-equipped boat, by experienced dive crew who know the best dive sites, accessible only by liveaboard.

There is a myriad of liveaboards to choose from, so which is for you?Looking for a luxurious liveaboard in Galapagos?

Or maybe it’s that budget-friendly Galapagos liveaboard you’re after. When is the best time to dive Galapagos? What does it cost to dive the Galapagos?

Welcome to Diving Squad! We have the corners covered, so let’s jump straight into this complete guide to diving in the Galapagos.

QUICK LOOK - The Best Galapagos Liveaboards

Best ForLiveaboard Daily Cost (Euros)Max Guest Capacity Itinerary Length (Nights)No. Of Logged Dives RequiredMonths of OperationDestinations Check Best Price  
OverallDanubio Azul€€108 Days, 7 Nights40Jan – DecCousins Rock + Wolf + Darwin + Isabela + SantiagoGET BEST PRICE
Budget, Beginners, Short Trips Aqua16A & B: 8 Days, 7 Nights

B4: 4 Days, 3 Nights

B5: 5 Days, 4 Nights
A: 1 – 20



B, B4, B5: 0
Jan – DecNorth Seymour + South Plaza + Santa Fe + Santa Cruz + Floreana + Santiago + Bartolome GET BEST PRICE
LuxuryMV Majestic Explorer€€168 Days, 7 Nights100March – JanWolf + Darwin + Cabo Douglas + Punta Vicente Roca + Cousins RockGET BEST PRICE
Advanced DiversGalapagos Sky€€€168 Days, 7 Nights60Jan- DecCousins Rock + Wolf + Darwin + Cabo Douglas + Punta Vicente Roca + Isla PintonGET BEST PRICE
Longer TripsGalapagos Master€€€16A: 8 Days, 7 Nights

B: 11 Days, 10 Nights
50Jan – DecPunta Carrion + Baltra + Darwin + Wolf + Punta Vicente Roca + Cousins RockGET BEST PRICE
Groups W. Non-DiversGalapagos Aggressor III€€€168 Days, 7 Nights0Jan – DecBaltra + Punta Carrion + Wolf + Darwin + Cabo Marshall + Punta Vicente Roca + Cousins Rock GET BEST PRICE
Small GroupsNortada €€€128 Days, 7 Nights50Jan – DecBaltra + Cousins Rock + Wolf + Darwin + Cabo Douglas +Punta Vicente Roca + Cape MarshallGET BEST PRICE
Scuba PhotographyHumboldt Explorer€€168 Days, 7 Nights100Feb – DecIsla Lobos + Punta Carrion + Wolf + Darwin + Cousins RockGET BEST PRICE

Galapagos Liveaboard Reviews

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Galapagos Liveaboard Overall

Danubio Azul

  • Cruises to all the top Islands (Cousins Rock, Wolf, Darwin, Isabela & Santiago)  – including diving and on-shore visits.

     

  • € – It’s one of the most affordable at just 339 Euros per day

     

  • Limited to 10 guests – it’s a more personalized, intimate experience

     

  • 40 Logged Dives Required.

  • 8 Day, 7 Night Itinerary

  • Operates January – December

Fewer dives logged that you’d like, but want to enjoy an epic liveaboard experience nonetheless? No problem! The Danubio Azul comes highly recommended not only for the great range of both well-known and quieter diving spots it visits, but also for its helpful crew and expert guidance along the way.

With up to only 10 guests per trip (unlike the average of 16), set your own pace, without feeling the need to delve beyond your qualification level. 6 professional and experienced crew members and a guide, to 10 guests, means there’s always the support you need.

Starting in Baltra, the seven-night cruise sees you dive multiple top spots in the volcanic archipelago. The Galapagos is a living lab, brimming with bird life, fish species, crustaceans, corals and anemones.

But the star of the show? The hammerhead shark, swimming in unparalleled numbers alongside the Galapagos shark, whale sharks, and the silky tip. And don’t be alarmed by the high-speed dive of a cormorant beside you, it’s quite a sight to see them darting below the surface for food.

With your feet firmly back on board the almost 22m long boat, a hot shower and a cold drink await. Bask in the surrounding beauty on the sun deck, or grab a drink at the bar and get to know your fellow divers better before dining al fresco on fine cuisine.

The Danubio Azul was recently refurbished in 2017, making it one of the ‘newest’ yachts in this price range. The 5 staterooms are comprised of twin or bunk beds, and just one with a double bed (book it quickly). All are equipped with AC, private bathroom and ample space.

The Danubio Azul offers an intimate experience at an affordable price, so don’t be surprised to find it booked out in a snap.

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Budget Galapagos Liveaboard for Beginners and Short Trips

Aqua

  • Visits the eastern and southern islands North Seymour + South Plaza + Santa Fe + Santa Cruz + Floreana + Santiago + Bartolome).

     

  • € – Only 243 Euros a day – the best price in the Galapagos!

     

  • Crew to guest ratio at almost 1:1 – perfect for beginners who need specialised attention

     

  • Choose from four itinerary lengths

     

  • 0 Logged Dives Required (for all but 1 itinerary). Take a scuba diving course!

     

  • Operates January – December.

The Aqua cruises to some of the most sought-after dive spots in the Galapagos archipelago, over itineraries ranging from three to seven nights, at the best prices in the Galapagos. Vist the top dive spots of Wolf and Darwin Islands, Bartolome, Cousins Rock and more!

Somewhat of a rarity in the Galapagos, choose from a range of itineraries that cater to different needs, duration, and activities simultaneously. Thrown into the diving deal are land excursions and a naturalist guide.

Extend your diving itinerary to include a short naturalist cruise, from as little as 3 nights (a specialty of the new owners) which sees you really take full advantage of the trip both above and below the deep blue before returning home.

Recently renovated in 2019, this 26m long boat is custom-built for diving and boasts 9 comfortable staterooms, each with an en-suite bathroom, AC, ample storage space, warm fresh-water showers, and daily housekeeping.

With a dedicated team of local and international crew, and an unusually high crew-to-guest ratio of almost 1:1, everything you need for a great trip is taken care of, notwithstanding it coming in as the most affordable option in the Galapagos.

Spots are filling up fast all the way into mid-year, so don’t hesitate on this one!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Galapagos Liveaboard for Luxury

The MV Majestic Explorer

  • Dive northernmost Islands (Wolf + Darwin + Cabo Douglas + Punta Vicente Roca + Cousins Rock).

  • €€ – At 454 Euros a day, the Majestic Explorer and her experienced crew pull out all the stops

  • Up to 16 guests over 7 nights and 8 days

  • Large lounge area for after dive chills, complete with hot tub and expansive sun deck

  • 100 Logged Dives Required

  • Operates March – January

One of the most highly-rated luxury liveaboards in the Galapagos, redefine your idea of onboard luxury with The MV Majestic Explorer!

You’ll start to forget you’re even on a yacht at all, taking it easy in the hot tub topside, cold one in hand, or catching a tan on the generous leisure deck between dives.

Equipped with 8 well-appointed, air-conditioned staterooms, each with private en-suite bathroom and plenty of space, this 36m yacht is all about comfort, and geared up for a good time, across the lavish social spaces, including a full entertainment system and an air conditioned salon and bar.

Traversing top dive sites like Darwin and Wolf, take a dip with hammerheads, eagle rays, sea lions, Galapagos, silky and whale sharks!

Get the chance to watch prehistoric-looking marine iguanas dive for dinner at Cabo Douglas, and not forgetting the little guys, catch a glimpse of seahorses, tiny blennies and hawkfish at Cousin’s Rock.

The yacht is fitted with all the top diving necessities, onboard kayaks, snorkeling equipment, a camera station, rinse bay for underwater cameras and individual gear bins too.

Apart from unparalleled diving opportunities to the best spots in the Galapagos, and top of the range facilities, enjoy three buffet-style meals daily. You’ll also be well fed and watered throughout the day with an entourage of snacks and drinks.

Step out of the monotony of day to day life, and into the lap of ultimate luxury with this Galapagos diving liveaboard, while there’s still space.

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Galapagos Liveaboard for Advanced Divers

Galapagos Sky

  • Stops include: Cousins Rock + Wolf + Darwin + Cabo Douglas + Punta Vicente Roca + Isla Pinton

     

  • €€€ – 588 Euros daily rate in exchange for a world-class diving holiday.

     

  • Maximum of 16 guests

     

  • 60 Logged Dives Required

  • 8 Days, 7 Nights

     

  • Operates January – December

The waters and terrain of the Galapagos lend themselves well to advanced divers, and the Galapagos Sky will get you there, in the epitome of style.

Combine 7 Nights and 8 days of pure diving bliss with top-notch onboard service. The perfect itinerary sees you explore Darwin Island, a square kilometer lacking any dry landing sites, it’s famously named in honor of Charles Darwin. Exciting, challenging conditions await for the advanced diver!

Just as Darwin was impacted by the Galapagos Islands (it inspired his Theory of Natural Selection) discover the immense natural beauty and come into close contact with scalloped hammerhead sharks, tunas, eagle and golden rays and the marine iguana.

Wolf Island is an experienced open-water divers dream, and equally renowned for its rare number of endemic marine species (20% of these, in fact) and is a somewhat more remote location in the Galapagos National Park, making it an uber-popular diving location, abundant with hammerheads, whale sharks, manta rays and green turtles.

Add to that Cousins Rocks, Cabo Douglas and the newly added trip to Isla Pinzon! 8 Luxurious cabins accommodate up to 16 guests, complete with en suite bathrooms and all the creature comforts you need.

Tour these top diving locales and more aboard the Galapagos Sky, with over 30m of lavish liveaboard to take advantage of, including all the features a diver could wish for and entertainment and leisure facilities to match.

And just when you think it can’t get any better, a beach BBQ and excursions on land serve as a reminder of the natural beauty that surrounds these rich waters.

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Galapagos Liveabaord for Longer Trips

Galapagos Master

  • Dive site visits include: Punta Carrion + Baltra + Darwin + Wolf + Punta Vicente Roca + Cousins Rock

  • €€€ – 518 Euros a Day.

  • 11 Day, 10 Night Itinerary

  • 50 Logged ives Required

  • Operates January – December

Don’t leave a single coral unturned on this leisurely 11 day, 10-night cruise around all the top diving spots in the Galapagos, aboard the Galapagos Master.

Included on tour are at least two days at the famed northern Islands of Darwin and Wolf, and the top diving locales of North Seymour Island, Roca Redonda, Cousins Rock and more. Encounter not only schools of hammerhead sharks and playful sea lions but also tuna, rays barracuda and marine iguanas.

While exploring the Western side of Wolf Island, your dive may just be accompanied by a Galapagos red-lipped batfish at the Anchorage.

The comfort and luxury of this 32 m steel yacht is a great ‘home away from home’ option for an extended stay in the Galapagos. Join up to 16 guests across the sprawling liveaboard, whether lounging on the sundeck, catching a drink at the cocktail bar, or enjoying the AC in one of 9 private staterooms.

Scuba diving is of course key, with two dive masters to facilitate dives from the custom-built, fully equipped yacht. For the non-divers, meet the local marine life by way of snorkeling the rich waters, at some of the best locations the volcanic archipelago has to offer.

The extended itinerary gives divers an opportunity to not only get in about 30 dives but to also explore above water every now and again and enjoy land activities and of course, the phenomenal yacht!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Galapagos Liveaboard for Groups W. Non Divers

Galapagos Aggressor III

  • Top dive spots include: Baltra + Punta Carrion + Wolf + Darwin + Cabo Marshall + Punta Vicente Roca + Cousins Rock

     

  • €€€ – From 550 Euros per day it’s assured all of your needs are taken care of!

  • Itineraries from 7 Nights and 8 days in a deluxe or master stateroom

  • 0 Logged Dives Required!

  • Private bus tour on Santa Cruz Island and also visits Tortoise Reserve.

     

  • Operates January – December

If you’re looking for a combination of luxurious leisure facilities, a complete range of amenities and great diving all year round, then the Galapagos Aggressor III is for you, and the non-divers cruising along with you.

While taking in the sights submerged in the deep blue below, the attentive crew are available to take care of guests staying topside. After a spot of snorkeling or swimming for the non-divers, there’s plenty of time to kick back with a DVD, lounge on the sun deck, dip into the onboard hot tub or grab a drink at the bar.

The 8 luxurious staterooms on this 30,5 m liveaboard are equipped with private en-suite bathrooms, AC and a TV monitor with media player, the perfect escape after a busy day. Master staterooms can be made up into a queen bed for couples.

As there are no minimum logged dives required, there’s no pressure to keep up with an advanced pace, but for the thrill-seekers, you’re in the hands of an experienced local open water scuba dive master.

The best of both worlds, up to 20 dives are included a day to the top dive spots in the Galapagos, as well as not one, but two-night dives! It gets better still, as the tour includes a panga ride at Pinnacle Rock, private bus tour at Santa Cruz Island, and a visit to giant tortoises.

There’s something for everyone on the Galapagos Aggressor!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Galapagos Liveabaord for Small Groups

The Nortada

  • Dive sites include: Baltra + Cousins Rock + Wolf + Darwin + Cabo Douglas +Punta Vicente Roca + Cape Marshall

  • €€€ – Daily rate of 562 Euros is well worth an ‘unforgettable diving week’

  • 50 Logged Dives Required

  • 8 Days, 7 Nights

  • Operates January – December

Renovated in 2014, this 25,9 m vessel is a unique, intimate offering. Perfect for smaller groups, the four cabins accommodate a maximum of up to 12 guests. A more personal experience is promised over 7 nights and 8 days. Also available for private charter!

After a warm-up dive in Academy Bay to get started, the week-long cruise triangles between the most sought after dive spots of Wolf and Darwin Islands, Cousin’s Rock and Cape Douglas.

The ‘shark mecca’, Galapagos is home to more confirmed shark species than anywhere in the world. Meet scalloped and great hammerheads, whale sharks, white tipped reef sharks and possibly even a close encounter with the bull or mako sharks, while on tour of these prime diving locations.

One of the best places to explore the diverse underwater world of the archipelago, Wolf Island has a secret, submerged network of underwater tunnels and caverns carved to shape by erosion.

Highly recommended for the small group sizes, the Nortada is also praised for both the experienced dive guides and a friendly, highly attentive crew.

Spaces are limited aboard this premium liveaboard and you may find yourself scrambling for a spot on the Nortada, with its outstanding diving itinerary!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Galapagos Liveaboard for Scuba Photography

Humboldt Explorer

  • Visits Isla Lobos, Punta Carrion, Wolf and Darwin Islands, and Cousins Rock

  • €€ – Just 433 Euros a day for one of the most reviewed liveaboards in the Galapagos

  • 100 Logged Dives Required

  • 8 Day, 7 Night Itinerary

  • Operates February – December

Backed by a plethora of exceptional reviews, the Humboldt Explorer is well recommended for not only its exceptional crew but also for its ability to access remote areas of the Galapagos where diverse wildlife encounters await, ready to be captured.

One recommendation goes as far as saying that opportunities exist to capture images “like a photo of the Nat. Geo. Magazines”. Close encounters lie ahead with hammerhead sharks, jacks, bonito, trevally, as well as whale sharks, Galapagos sharks, sea turtles and of course, marine iguanas.

Underwater photographers be sure to pack a macro lens for capturing the tiniest of seahorses and frogfish at Cousin’s Rock!

Custom built for diving, the Humboldt is almost 34 m in length and also features a camera station, separate rinse basin for underwater cameras and a camera charging station to top up for more exceptional footage to follow.

Over 7 nights and 8 days, the 8 Staterooms come complete with expansive ocean views, AC, en-suite bathrooms with fresh warm water showers and all the comforts of home. This comfort extends to an air-conditioned indoor salon and a library.

Live the good life and catch a tan on the sun deck, or soak up the views from the hot tub before gearing up for your next dive, or dinner.

Don’t miss out on the chance to get the shot of a lifetime in some of the most remote areas of the Galapagos!

Galapagos Liveaboards - What You Need to Know

Diving Insurance in Galapagos – It’s absolutely essential that you’re covered by proper diving insurance before you start your liveaboard adventure.  Find out more. 

Scuba Gear in Galapagos – You’ll need to either bring along your own scuba gear or rent it from the liveaboard for an additional fee. 

Find out more. 

Galapagos Liveaboard Packing List – To ensure an enjoyable and comfortable trip, there are several must bring items. Find out more. 

Galapagos Diving Season –

With exceptional diving year round, peak diving conditions follow the typically wet and dry seasons of the Galapagos.

The wet season spans from December to June and is also the warm season, which is generally better for calmer waters and better visibility.

The dry, cool season continues from July to November with cooler water temperatures and choppy waters. It’s also prime tourist season and marked by an influx of sharks and seabirds.

 Find out more.  

Weather in Galapagos –

Apart from tropical rains, the wet season also brings about warmer water temperatures, ranging between 21℃ and 27℃, while the dry season is marked with cooler water temperatures of around 18℃ and 23℃ at the surface levels.

Scuba diving calls for a wetsuit year round, especially at the depths that divers descend, which get incrementally colder.

Galapagos Diving Conditions –

In terms of diving difficulty, the waters surrounding the volcanic islands of the Galapagos are most well suited to advanced divers.

There’s definitely room for beginners who want to undertake a Galapagos dive trip, just be advised to check out the required skill level of the liveaboard you book, due to the complexity of diving conditions you’ll encounter venturing into the open waters.

Some typically challenging conditions faced include strong currents and surges, cooler water temperatures, rough, rocky reefs and generally, extreme weather conditions.

If you pick the right liveaboard, Galapagos is a special place that can is navigated safely by experienced onboard crew and diving guides.

Water Visibility in Galapagos –An all year round top diving destination, the remotely located islands of Galapagos deliver water visibility of up to 30 meters, with visibility conditions most commonly ranging between 10 to 21 meters.

Cooler water temperatures around the dry season, and upwelling from the Cromwell and Humboldt currents bring about a rich influx of plankton, and with that a surge of marine life skimming the dense food source, from whale sharks to manta rays.

Remote Destinations and Stunning Islands – The Galapagos is a cornucopia of pristine, mostly uninhabited islands, diverse species of flora and fauna, and unmatched scuba diving spots.

Although land-based diving is an experience not to be forgotten, the real magic lies in the isolated corners of the Galapagos archipelago, accessed only by permit, and on a liveaboard.

The Galapagos National Park regulates diving itineraries around the islands, affording these waters and their inhabitants’ protection and minimal impact.  

The islands of Darwin and Wolf are world renowned and regarded as the ultimate dive location for pelagic life. Only accessible by liveaboard, these, and other islands are not reachable as part of a land-based dive holiday. Find Out More

Diving Insurance in Galapagos Islands

SPLASH! It’s important to remember that scuba diving is an extreme sport. Accidents can happen. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble.

What’s more, because diving can take you all around the world, it’s absolutely essential you make sure you are properly covered by the best scuba diving insurance before leaving your home country.

We recommend going with Dive Assure. Why?

  • Unbeatable prices.

     

  • They offer both short term and long term insurance.

     

  • Cover loss of diving equipment, emergency medical and evacuation expenses and flight/accommodation costs following injury.

Squad Inventory - Scuba Gear in the Galapagos Islands

Ok Squad! Here’s the deal. Scuba Diving requires a ton of gear. This should come as no real surprise, considering that the very nature of this sport is to breathe underwater – the exact opposite of what us humans are evolved to do! 

When you go on your liveaboard adventure, you have two options on the gear front:

  1. You can either rent the gear, at an additional cost, per piece. This generally costs around $25 for a full equipment rental per day (exact prices provided in the liveaboard links).

  2. Or you can buy and bring along some or all of your own scuba gear. This comes with two distinct advantages:
  • You get scuba gear that perfectly fits you and suits your tastes, budget and style. And hasn’t been peed in.

     

  • You will never again have to pay to rent scuba equipment! Think about all the diving you have ahead of you. Ultimately this can save a lot of money.

     

Below is a full listing and description of the entire inventory required to scuba dive. Let’s jump right in:

Diving Mask – Full Face Snorkel Masks are taking the world by storm but they can’t withstand pressure beyond several meters depth.  For diving you need an old school dive mask.

BCD – A BCD is the jacket divers wear to maintain optimum buoyancy, which they can adjust by operating the inflate and deflate buttons. This makes sure they neither sink to the bottom nor rise to the top of the water! As well as this, the BCD holds the divers regulator(s), dive gauge and air tank.

Regulator / Octopus – The regulator reduces pressurised breathing oxygen to ambient pressure and delivers it to the diver through a mouth piece. Remember, you need two – one for you and a spare for a buddy in case of emergencies!

Diving Torch – Absolutely essential for Deep Dives and Night Dives. So you can…you know – see. Bioluminescent plankton anyone? 

Scuba Tank – This contains the pressurised breathing gas – i.e. oxygen, that you will be breathing underwater (after it’s been reduced to ambient pressure by the regulator). Pretty essential right? 

Scuba Weight Belt – A diving weight belt assists with maintaining optimum buoyancy, by stopping divers from floating to the top of the water. How much weight you take will depend on your build, weight and diving ability.

Dive Computer – The Dive Computer is used to measure the time and depth of a dive. In doing so, it calculates a safe ascent profile, vital for avoiding decompression sickness. 

Dive Gauge – Essential for keeping track of your air consumption and the depth at which you are diving. The best ones also feature compasses and can read the water temperature (useful for bragging rights when you go on extremely cold dives!).

Scuba Fins – Fins greatly reduce water resistance when swimming and thus help to conserve energy and swim faster / against currents. They also allow you to unleash your inner mermaid/man. 

Dive Boots Designed to be worn under your fins, dive boots prevent rubbing and skin irritation from said fins – whilst also keeping your feet toasty and warm. 

Wetsuit – Crucial for keeping you warm. Even in hot countries, when you dive deep, it gets cold. Which one you pick will depend on the climate of where you’re diving. 

Ultimate Combo Package Whew! That’s a lot of gear we’ve covered. If you don’t yet have any scuba gear and want to bulk buy at great quality and value, this is the number one scuba starter pack out there.  

Galapagos Liveaboard Packing List

Whether you decide to rent scuba gear or buy  your own, there are some essential items that won’t be provided for you. You would not want to go on your liveaboard adventure without: 

Reef Safe Sunscreen It’s a little known fact that some sunscreens contain products that are highly toxic to coral reefs. Dive responsibly, avoid burning to a crisp and use eco friendly sunscreen. 

Reef Safe Body Wash and Shampoo – Many brands of body wash and shampoo also contain chemicals that are toxic to coral reef and fish. Dive responsibility whilst still not smelling like a Dead Whale.

Diving Camera –  Any normal camera will break if taken diving – even if it’s waterproof it won’t be able to withstand high depth pressure and the focus will not be designed for underwater photography. To share your diving adventures with the world, make sure you have a proper scuba diving camera.   

Full Face Snorkel Mask – In between dives, you’ll get countless snorkelling opportunities on your liveaboard trip. For snorkelling, it’s much better to utilise a full face snorkel mask for maximum comfort and 180 viewing! The best ones have an attachment mount for GoPros. 

Reusable Water Bottle Having a durable, reusable and recyclable water bottle that’ll keep liquids cold is essential for both eco awareness and hydration = scuba success! We love the TankH2O – It is all of those things and looks like a scuba tank!

Microfibre Towel Essential for getting all those bits of ocean off you. Microfibre towels are compact, dry quickly and lightweight. To look like a ninja of the sea, wrap around face. 

The

diving squad title 300

Backpack of Choice

After trying and testing an ocean of backpacks, we’ve come to the coralusion that the Dometool Waterproof Dry Backpack is the number one backpack for divers! Why? Well:

  • It’s completely waterproof and also floats.

  • Front zip pocket for easy access, waterproof storage of your phone, wallet, etc. 

  • Equipment ring at one side, water bottle bag at the other. 

  • PVC tarpaulin materials = resistent to tearing, corrosion and aging.

Diving Season in the Galapagos

Known as a prime diving location throughout the year, venturing to the Galapagos Islands is worth the trip at any time, it just offers a different experience depending on when you go.

The best months to take a Galapagos diving cruise by liveaboard are during the warmer, wet season when the waters are tepid, calm and visibility is at its best.

Galapagos Liveaboards in January

January is a great time for joining a Galapagos liveaboard as it falls within the warm season. Air temperatures on average are between 22℃ and 30℃, while average sea temperatures are around 24.5℃.

Rainfall is regular during this time, but usually light showers versus a downpour. It’s the perfect time for spotting green turtles laying their eggs.

Galapagos Liveaboards in February

The breeding season for birds, turtles and sea lions spans from February to April and is also one of the hottest, most humid times of year in the Galapagos.

Ambient temperatures range on average from 24℃ to 30℃ and the drizzle of rain continues. Sea temperatures sit around 25℃, which is comfortable and allows for more time in the clear waters.

Galapagos Liveaboards in March  

The rainiest season of the year, March is hot, humid and marks the start of summer.

Temperatures out the water average at a low of 24℃ a high of 31℃, with sea temperatures at about 25℃. The perfect excuse to escape the heat, diving is great during this time as water visibility is optimal.

Galapagos Liveaboards in April

Rainy season starts to taper off in April and there’s an explosion of life on the islands. Water visibility is great, and with pleasant seas at around 25℃. Air temperatures range from 24℃ to 31℃ on average, and surprisingly this is considered a low season for visitors.

Galapagos Liveaboards in May

Although ambient temperatures become milder and average between 22℃ and 28℃, the sea stays at a perfect 25℃.

The last of the rains fall in May, and the humidity starts to settle. Blue-footed boobies dance around North Seymour island and penguins start nesting on Fernanda Island.

Galapagos Liveaboards in June

June marks the beginning of the cool, dry season and just a drizzle of rain continues. The rich, dense plankton population appears with cooler sea temperatures, now at around 23℃. Waters are not as clear and currents stronger, but bring an influx of whales and rays!

Out of the water, the temperatures also drop, between 21℃ and an average high of 26℃.

Galapagos Liveaboards in July

Cooler land temperatures range between 20℃ and 26℃, and an average water temperature of 22℃ is popular amongst the whales, dolphins, and sharks that inhabit the surrounding seas at this time.

Galapagos Liveaboards in August

August is a drier month, and cooler too, from 19℃ to 26℃ on land and 21.5℃ by sea. The Humboldt current continues to flood rich nutrients via rough seas, and even without crystal clear waters, divers can get up close with the array of marine life.

Galapagos Liveaboards in September

Plenty of passenger boats are dry-docked during September for maintenance, so take this into consideration before booking a Galapagos scuba diving liveaboard. While the Galapagos Sky, for example, is sometimes dry-docked for April and the Humboldt in May.

If you do find yourself in the Galapagos, the marine life is still abundant in the 22℃ seas, and can be explored by way of land-based diving.

Galapagos Liveaboards in October

October in the Galapagos is part of the cool, dry low season, with water temperatures of 22.5℃ and averages of 20℃ to 26℃ on land.

The seas are abundant with active marine life, from sea lions and their pups to dolphins, up to 24 species of baleen and toothed whales and green turtles.

Galapagos Liveaboards in November

Signaling the end of the cool and dry season, the air temperatures start to warm between 21℃ and 26℃, and the seas rise to 23℃. Swim with sea lion pups, whales, dolphins, and marine iguanas.

Galapagos Liveaboards in December

One of the busiest months in the Galapagos, December gives way to the warm season and calmer, clearer waters.

Average air temperatures on land fluctuate between 22℃ and 27℃, while the seas are around 22.5℃. Booking early is essential if you plan to travel during this time!

The Galapagos Archipelago

The Galapagos is a wild wonderland, full of incredible species both above and below the water. Marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, sea lions and Galapagos sharks along with schooling hammerheads, whale sharks, manta rays and mola mola are the delight of scuba divers.

The Galapagos archipelago is comprised of around 20 islands dotting the Pacific ocean, off the coast of Ecuador. Although not all of these are visited by liveaboard, and many are not accessible on land, remaining mostly uninhabited. The islands are as follows:

  1. Wolf
  2. Darwin
  3. Isabela
  4. Fernandina
  5. Floreana
  6. North Seymour
  7. Santiago
  8. Santa Fé
  9. Santa Cruz
  10. San Cristóbal
  11. The Daphnes
  12. Rabida
  13. Plazas
  14. Pinzon
  15. Pinta
  16. Marchena
  17. Genovesa
  18. Española
  19. Baltra
  20. Bartolomé

     

To give you the very best possible idea of the Galapagos as a dive destination, we’ll sum up some of the best spots – just to give you an idea of the wonders that await you aboard a liveaboard to the Galapagos!

Read on to learn more about the main Galapagos islands as frequented by liveaboards, and what makes these prime diving locations so popular!

Wolf Island

Apart from seabirds and the occasional attempts of a diver, the northerly Wolf Island sees no visitors on the shores of a now extinct volcano. Named after Theodor Wolf, a German geologist, the waters around this small island provide the perfect dive point for the more advanced diver.

Tracing around the edges of the +1k㎡ island, some well-known diving spots include La Banana, the Anchorage, the Pinnacle, the Caves, Shark Bay, the landslide and Elephant. During the cooler months you are more likely to spot large marine animals like whale sharks, while the warmer months bring better visibility (up to 30m).

Richly populated with hammerhead and endemic Galapagos sharks, eagle and manta rays, dolphins, marine iguanas and green turtles, Wolf Island is a super popular scuba diving destination for all and a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Although not ideal for beginners due to low water temperatures, strong currents and surges, some of these sights can be tackled with the guidance of an experienced dive master, and a good pair of gloves for gripping sharp rocks.

The beauty of Wolf is unparalleled beneath the surface, not only for an abundance of marine life, but also for an exquisite coral reef. Landslide in particular is a favored diving spot due to its coral covered cave.

Shark Bay is a favorite amongst advanced divers, and home to not only hammerheads, but the Galapagos silky shark too. The currents can be challenging here, at around 1-3 knots or more, making this spot one for experienced divers only.

Accessible only by liveaboard, Wolf Island is one of the most sought after dive locales in the world. It is especially sought-after for the opportunity to dive amongst the abundant shark species in the surrounding waters.

 

Dive into the Squads' Favourite Read

ATTENTION! Diving Squad Member – Do you love a great book? Yarp!? We already know you love diving

Dive Atlas of the World, offers a beautifully photographed and professionally detailed tour of the worlds best dive sites, including both classics and new discoveries.

This stunningly presented book covers everything from Wrecks to Reefs, Muck Dives to Macro Photography, Blue Holes to Epic Walls and adrenaline soaked Drift Dives

Get inspired, learn something brand new and prepare for your next diving adventure.

This is hands down the most informative, stunningly presented and all encompassing scuba diving book known to Diving Squad. 

Darwin Island

The northernmost island of the Galapagos, Darwin is also an extinct volcano and one of the smallest islands in the archipelago, at just 1km.

Uninhabited and closed for land visits, Darwin also has no dry landing. Probably for the best, as it is home to a generous bird population, with one inhabitant known for gruesomely drawing blood from the other seabirds and feeding from it!

The waters surrounding the island attract a vast array of marine life, including sharks, turtles, rays and dolphins. As with Wolf Island, Darwin is best suited to advanced divers due to the challenging water conditions that beginners potentially are not ready for.

With that said, many a liveaboard sail to the island and have an experienced dive master aboard to facilitate dives in the calmer areas around the island.

Although the journey sailing to this northernmost island takes some time, it’s widely regarded as one of the ultimate diving locales across the globe, and not to be missed! Advanced divers should be accustomed to the strong currents and choppy surface water, which reveals a hidden underwater experience like no other.

El Arco is well-loved for the many species of sharks that reside here, such as hammerheads and endemic Galapagos sharks. Alongside these ‘all-stars’ swim manta rays, and sometimes whale sharks. Darwin’s Arch is also frequently visited, with an aptly named stone arch rising from the waters. Spot hammerheads, blacktips, jacks here, and on occasion whale sharks.

The prime diving sites around Darwin are littered with colourful reef fish, from the elusive parrotfish, to surgeonfish and trumpetfish. Don’t be surprised to come across playful, tame sea lions or dolphins at Darwin.

No diving trip to the Galapagos is complete without cruising to Darwin Island and experiencing the abundant ocean that surrounds it.

How to Give up Plastic - A Crucial Guide

“It is one world. And it’s in our care. For the first time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands. I just hope he realises that that is the case.”
Sir David Attenborough
Broadcaster, Natural Historian and Knight.

Some 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, devastating the marine ecosystem by killing countless fish, seabirds, turtles, marine mammals and other creatures. 

How to Give Up Plastic is the definitive guide to learning what you can do in your home, commune and workplace to start bringing about the end of our plastic dependent age.

It covers everything from easy wins such as using a reusable keep cup for your morning coffee, to lesser-known hacks like fixing a filter to your washing machine to catch some of the microfibres released from your clothes (microfibres are responsible for up to 30% of plastic in the ocean).

This is an essential overview of why we should all be working together no matter where we are in the world to reduce the amount of plastic being produce. Diving Squad is thoroughly committed to ending plastic pollution and marine conservation. 

Isabela Island

The largest island in the Galapagos, Isabela lies in a westerly direction and stretches over a whopping 4 640 km² while straddling the equator.  

A unique and diverse landscape exists on Isabela, with an array of plants and animals that inhabit it, such as tortoises, penguins, marine iguanas and sea birds.

The human settlement on Isabela is the third-largest in the volcanic archipelago.Sites like the prisoner-built El Muro de las Lágrimas, or the Wall of Tears, can be visited while on the island. To get a view of the island, the Danubio Azul liveaboard makes a diving stop at Isabela.

There are spectacular dive sites around the island for Beginners and advanced divers alike. To the southeast of Isabela, the waters of Tortuga Island teem with hammerheads, white-tipped reef sharks, stingrays, manta and eagle rays, turtles, tuna, barracuda, shy parrotfish and many more.

Another site only accessible by liveaboard, Cape Marshall hosts an exciting geological formation.

A wall of volcanic rock descends into the water, and the strong currents and surges make it a spot more suitable to advanced divers.

Manta, marble and mobula rays share these waters with sunfish, hammerhead sharks and turtles.

Not to be Missed Dive Site: Cousins Rock!

The equally famed Cousins Rock finds itself on many liveaboard itineraries and was formed by the remains of an eroded crater, that juts out from the Pacific.

Although the terrain above-water is popular with sea lions and birds, it’s the underwater landscape that is most spectacular. This modest ocean pinnacle can’t be accessed by land excursion, but diving around it reveals sheer, ornately decorated walls that stretch to the ocean floor about 40m below.

The perfect spot for beginners and advanced divers alike. Moderate currents and surges make this diving location an overall calmer experience. The marine life is also generally far less intimidating, but no less exciting.

Hidden in the coral encrusted walls of the pinnacle, cartoon-like nudibranchs and delicate seahorses are the main attraction, and form the perfect subject for aspiring photographers! Also regularly spotted here are many bigger pelagics.

Manta, golden and eagle rays glide past alongside green turtles, and on occasion, hammerhead sharks. Find the ideal viewpoint from the plateaus to watch them swim by unawares. All in all, for the most diverse dive trip, Cousins Rock is must-see!

Diving Squad Debriefing

Well done Diving Squad! Another mammoth read under the belt!

Now that you are seriously prepared for a liveaboard in Galapagos, thanks to this dive guide, all that’s left is to just… dive in! All you’ll ever need to know about diving in the Galapagos can be found in this article.

From the best budget liveaboards, luxury Galapagos scuba diving liveaboard, the best time to dive Galapagos to the species you’ll see and even a cool Galapagos liveaboard comparison chart! It’s all here for your dive-knowledge basket.

With soooo many epic dive sites, we’re not sure how any diver can resist the temptation of the Galapagos.

Now you are ready for Galapagos liveaboards, it’s either time to start saving, or booking! Diving in the Galapagos is the Crème de la Crème of the diving world. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that you don’t want to let expire – in fact, spots are filling up as we speak!

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Help Diving Squad with Marine Conservation

EPIC FAIL HUMANITY:

  • Over 18 billion pounds of plastic enters the World’s Oceans every year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic (Every. Year).

     

  • As well as containing it’s own toxic chemicals, like BPA, plastic absorbs even more potent toxins from other pollutants in the Ocean such as oil, untreated sewage and radioactive waste.

     

  • Plastic is indestructible and never degrades. Instead it simply breaks down into smaller pieces which accumulate together, en masse.

     

  • Today, each square mile of ocean has over 45,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

     

  • Plastic is mistaken for food and eaten by marine animals. Because it can’t be digested, it fills their stomachs and causes them to starve to death.

     

  • For those “lucky” individuals that don’t eat plastic, the toxic chemicals present in every part of sea water from plastic, wreck havoc throughout the ecosystem causing changes in animals behaviour, immune systems and reproduction.

     

  • There are 200 known ‘dead zones’, or areas deprived of oxygen and devoid of life, (area between 1 and 70,000 km²),  in the world ocean, due to plastic: this number has doubled every decade since 1960.

     

  • Chemicals in heavily polluted waters can make their way back to us and cause serious health issues like reproductive problems, hormonal problems, kidney damage, and nervous system damage.

     

  • It’s estimated that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight). AND IT’S GETTING WORSE

The Time to Act is NOW

To Diving Squad, the grizzly stats above are appalling, tragic and completely UNACCEPTABLE. That’s why we are working hard towards combating plastic pollution in the ocean.


How do we do this? Through spreading awareness, providing informative guides on eco friendly diving and donating
10% of all profits that we make towards combating plastic pollution in the Ocean.


So, how does Diving Squad make money? Through You! Every time you click on one of our painstakingly, yet lovingly researched liveaboard, gear or insurance links and spend money – we earn a % commission thanks to affiliate partnerships.


We then donate 10% of this towards Marine Conservation Schemes that target plastic pollution.


What does this mean? It means that if you book a Liveaboard through a Diving Squad link – some of that money goes directly towards Marine Conservation. Buy a piece of Gear through a Diving Squad link?

 Nice! You’ve just contributed money towards Marine Conservation. Booked yourself Diving Insurance through Diving Squad? Go, go Marine Conservation!


So help us…help you…help the Ocean. Together, we can do this.


To which Marine Conservation charity do we donate, you might ask?
Our squad is already hard at work selecting the ideal candidate. The winner will be announced at the end of 2019. Have a suggestion? We’d love to hear… If we pick your suggestion, there just might be something in it for you…


Contact us at: Alex Hatton:
[email protected] (Grand Admiral at Diving Squad).