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Galapagos Diving Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best Galapagos dive sites?
Live Aboard: Darwin and Wolf Islands. Here, you´ll have the best chance to see whale sharks and massive schools of hammerheads.
Land-based: Gordon Rocks for hammerheads, North Seymour for white tips.
When is best time to go diving?
June-December, with September-November offering up bigger stuff, but colder water temps. It is cold water diving all year-round, but even COLDER at this time of year, with thermoclines too. 7mm wetsuits (or two!) will be needed, as well as hood and gloves during this time.
What´s the weather like in Galapagos?
There are two seasons in the Galapagos Islands: June to December, the islands experience their cooler, dryer “garua” season. January to May is the warmer season.
How do I get to the Galapagos Islands?
There are several daily flights to the Galapagos Islands (Baltra/ Santa Cruz Island, or San Cristobal Island) from Guayaquil and Quito cities on the mainland of Ecuador. Many dive packages will include the flights.
How much experience is required?
Galapagos dive sites can be challenging due to currents and surges. Only experienced divers should be going on live aboards (Minimum Advanced Open Water, 30 logged dives, and experience in cold water and currents)
What are the diving conditions like?
Galapagos diving conditions can be challenging. Currents are moderate to strong and may require you to grab hold of the rocks below the surface so you don´t drift away. Surge can offer up difficulties during your safety stops. The average visibility is 10 – 21m (30 – 70ft), but can often be even less.
Divers must follow their Dive Master rules and the Galapagos Marine Reserve rules at all times. Divers must stick with the group and Dive Master constantly, remain with their buddies, and ascend in pairs. Safety Stops are obligatory for all Galapagos dives.
What are the Safety Standards?
All live aboards use top of the line navigational equipment, safety aides, and safety equipment, including: VHF and HI-SUB radios, GMDSS, Furuno GPS, Depthsounder with alarm, EPIRB, defibrillator, Oxygen system and first aid kit. All of the required safety equipment and drills are carried out.
What Should I Bring?
Besides an underwater camera or video camera to capture all the magic, we recommend bringing necessary items for the land visits, such as a good sun hat, sunscreen and eye protection. The sun here is extremely strong. Be sure to bring your diving license and insurance information as well.
What Equipment Should I Pack?
Divers are encouraged to bring their own equipment to the Galapagos Islands. Your dive watch and other diving gadgets are key, as well as a valve adapter for DIN valves. Some equipment can be rented, but be sure to book ahead to get the right sizing. You will not need to bring weights and weight belts, unless you prefer a weight-integrated belt.
Do I Need Insurance?
Yes. Diving insurance is mandatory for the Galapagos Islands. Do not confuse regular medical insurance with diving specific insurance, like DAN (Divers Alert Network. There is a Hyperbaric Chamber in Puerto Ayora, and all live-aboards charge an extra $35 fee to help keep this important service and its staff operational in the islands.
Is there a Minimum or Maximum Age Restriction?
Under certain circumstances, depending on your dive application, health certifications may be required. Children 10 and older are allowed only if they are certified divers. If non divers, children must be 16 years of age or older.
Arrival / Departure
Arrivals and departures in Galapagos can take place in one of two airports: San Cristobal Island, or on Baltra Island (the airport used for Santa Cruz Island). Upon leaving Quito or Guayaquil, all passengers are charged a $10 US Transit Control Card, and upon arrival to the Galapagos Islands, a $100 (Subject to change) US National Park Entrance Fee is charged to all international passengers.
What About the Meals?
All of the meals are included on live-aboards. The Galapagos Sky and the Aggressor Fleet include National Brand alcoholic beverages, while other live aboards do not include alcohol. Each ship offers up a range of national and international cuisine to satisfy the weary diver! For day-trip diving, snacks, water and soda or juice, as well as a meal are included throughout the day.
What is the Currency in Ecuador?
Ecuador uses the US currency.