Regardless of the place you could have explored earlier than, snorkeling within the Galapagos is an underwater expertise in contrast to another!
The abundance and rarity of the famously tame animals that inhabit these peaceable islands assure some life-changing moments which can be nothing in need of transcendent.
Every of the inhabited islands has seashores, coves, and/or islets which you could snorkel from free of charge with out a tour or information. Nonetheless, a number of the finest spots for snorkeling in Galapagos, even these seemingly close by, require a ship to succeed in.
On this information, you’ll uncover the most effective snorkel spots within the Galapagos Islands in addition to data on easy methods to get to every, what you’ll see there, snorkeling suggestions, and basic recommendation on easy methods to maximize your expertise.
Disclosure: With the intention to maintain offering you with free content material, this submit probably incorporates affiliate hyperlinks. In the event you make a reserving or buy via one among these hyperlinks we earn a small fee at no further value to you. So a HUGE thanks to you if you happen to click on one among these hyperlinks 🙂
🐠 About Snorkeling within the Galapagos ISlands
Earlier than we get into the most effective spots, there are some basic issues you have to perceive and concentrate on that may assist you to make sense of the knowledge you’ll find additional into the information.
If you’re already within the Galapagos and simply need to know the most effective spots close by, merely use the Desk of Contents above or skim all the way down to the subsequent part!
Underwater Wildlife Encounters
The Galapagos islands are famend for the extremely tame wildlife that resides there. As a consequence of an extended historical past with out predation, most endemic animals are unbothered by people and lots of, particularly the juveniles, are even playful.
Galapagos Nationwide Park guidelines dictate that you’re not to return inside 6-feet (2 meters) of wildlife.
It goes with out saying (however should be stated anyway) that it is best to by no means, ever, contact the animals!
The nice factor is that if you happen to stay calm and respectful of the animals and their house, many will method you! Sea lions particularly are recognized for being very playful and should interact you in a sport of spinning and dancing; simply be sure you heed any warnings agitated animals offer you.
Within the Galapagos islands, you’re nearly assured to swim with sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, and loads of tropical fish. You even have a great likelihood of seeing a wide range of rays and sharks (none harmful), and even Galapagos penguins if you recognize the place to go!
Whereas excursions will all the time offer you tools for snorkeling, we extremely suggest you deliver your personal snorkel and masks, and contemplate bringing fins as effectively. You too can purchase this stuff as a snorkel set which works out cheaper nonetheless.
As every island has native seashores you may snorkel from, packing your personal gear will prevent a whole lot of money and time in comparison with coping with leases upon arrival.
Moreover, your expertise will probably be a lot better when you have high quality tools that matches correctly, versus the customarily ill-fitting leases.
That is particularly essential if you happen to put on glasses and require a prescription snorkel masks. Prescription masks are a lot more durable to return by on the islands and the flexibility to truly see the turtle or sea lion wanting again at you’ll make all of the distinction to your expertise.
Water Temperature in Galapagos
Being on the equator and a tropical surroundings, you could expect the water in Galapagos to be heat… you’d typically be mistaken!
The Galapagos archipelago is strongly affected by two currents which affect water temperature and seasonality:
The Humboldt Present flows north from Antarctica from July via November, bringing a really chilly stream of water that’s full of vitamins, however downright frigid. The typical water temperature throughout the chilly & dry season that corresponds with the Humboldt present is 73°F (22°c) however can get as little as 66°F (19°c).
The Panama Present flows south from December via June, bringing heat however nutrient-poor water with it. The typical temperature throughout this “heat & moist” season is about 76°F (24°c).
In the event you’re visiting throughout the chilly season, you could want to contemplate packing a skinny wetsuit to maintain you extra snug within the water.
Snorkeling Security Ideas
Whereas snorkeling in Galapagos is comparatively secure, there are all the time dangers when swimming within the ocean. You possibly can reduce these dangers with the next steps:
- At all times examine present situations, together with climate, warning flags, and currents.
- Know your personal limits.
- Solely snorkel with a buddy (or contemplate reserving a tour).
- Use a life vest if you happen to’re not a assured swimmer.
- Keep near shore.
- At all times concentrate on your environment.
- Don’t use full-face masks (these create a CO2 buildup that may trigger you to turn out to be disoriented and even lose consciousness).
- Solely snorkel throughout sunlight hours.
Snorkel Spots: Self-Guided (Free) vs. Excursions
For ease of use, now we have organized the listing of the highest snorkel spots in Galapagos into two classes: self-guided and tour-only.
Because the identify hopefully suggests, the self-guided spots are these which you could get to with out hiring a tour firm to take you there. Most will probably be walkable, however some might require a taxi or bike rental.
The tour-only snorkel spots are a number of the finest you’ll ever swim, however require you to to rearrange a day tour. These spots are solely accessible by boat and sometimes require a Galapagos Nationwide Park information.
🏝 Finest Self-Guided Galapagos Snorkel Spots
Every of the inhabited islands within the Galapagos has one fundamental city the place vacationers can keep.
Thankfully, every city additionally has some native seashores the place you may simply stroll down and go for a swim proper from the shore; all you want is your masks!
This part options the most effective spots you may snorkel with out reserving a tour on every island.
Santa Cruz Snorkel Spots
Tortuga Bay is house to the preferred seashores on Santa Cruz island in Playa Brava and Playa Mansa.
Getting right here requires some quantity of strolling, which may be considerably offset by cabbing to the trailhead, or you may rent a water taxi to keep away from it altogether.
Playa Brava is usually un-swimmable, however there’s one spot close to the mangroves as you get to the top of the seaside the place it’s secure to swim and you’ll probably see reef-tip sharks and marine iguanas.
Playa Mansa is the extra common seaside for snorkeling or for having fun with a seaside day. The water visibility could be very poor but additionally very calm. Count on to see a number of inexperienced sea turtles and marine iguanas, and possibly some sharks and rays.
Las Grietas Galapagos is likely one of the hottest swimming spots in Santa Cruz.
Only a quick water taxi and stroll from Puerto Ayora, it’s famed for its distinctive geological formations and crystal clear waters for snorkeling.
As of 2021, a guided tour is required however this may be paid for upon arrival, superior reserving isn’t required.
Most guests to Las Grietas go there to see the distinctive volcanic panorama and to swim in its calm waters. The dramatic, steep cliffs and vibrant water make for a outstanding sight.
Whereas it’s a common place for swimming, the marine life is extra restricted than different websites.
🤿 READ MORE:
HOW TO VISIT LAS GRIETAS
Playa de los Alemanes
Playa de los Alemanes is accessible from Puerto Ayora by a brief water taxi.
Whereas entry to this seaside is pretty straightforward, it takes simply sufficient effort to maintain the massive crowds away, which means you’ll sometimes discover loads of house right here!
It is not uncommon to identify sea lions enjoying within the surf right here, in addition to marine iguanas swimming close to the mangroves.
In the event you plan to go to Las Grietas, you’ll naturally go this seaside, making it a perfect cease in your method to or from this well-known Galapagos snorkel spot.
Playa de la Estación
Playa de La Estacion is the closest seaside to Puerto Ayora (the primary city on Santa Cruz). It’s positioned simply earlier than the Charles Darwin Analysis Station entrance.
That is removed from a premier snorkeling spot, however the proximity to city makes it an interesting possibility on a scorching day with some spare time.
You would possibly see all the standard suspects, you may even see nothing in any respect, however provided that it’s solely a 5-minute stroll it’s a great place to learn about if you’re staying on Santa Cruz.
Playa La Ratonera
Playa La Ratonera is positioned simply past Playa de La Estacion. The 2 seashores are extraordinarily comparable and you’ll probably see the identical issues snorkeling at every.
The water entry is less complicated at Playa de La Estacion making it the higher possibility, however La Ratonera tends to be a bit of quieter and should due to this fact have a number of further animals hanging round.
Playa El Garrapatero
Playa El Garrapatero is a distant seaside on the very finish of the Santa Cruz freeway with clear water and straightforward beach-entry snorkeling.
As a result of it’s extra remoted, the seaside is often quiet and the animals are equally laid again.
You can not stroll right here, however you additionally don’t want to rearrange any excursions. Slightly, you’ll have to hire a motorbike or rent a taxi to ship you.
San Cristobal Snorkel Spots
Playa de Oro
Playa de Oro is the primary seaside most individuals see after they get to San Cristobal island. It’s positioned immediately in the primary city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
What makes Playa de Oro so good is that no effort in any respect is required. Simply deliver a masks and hop within the water the place you’re certain to come across sea lions frolicking about.
Playa Mann is positioned about 10 minutes from city and is likely one of the finest seashores within the Galapagos.
This pristine spot has the whole lot you might need, together with inexpensive native eating places, distributors, restrooms, and even a lifeguard. It additionally has sea lion residents that may undoubtedly need to play.
Whilst you gained’t probably see something various sea lions from Playa Mann, you can’t ask for a neater spot for a primary swim.
If you’re staying on San Cristobal, merely drop off your luggage, seize your masks, and head all the way down to the white sand seaside on your first likelihood at experiencing what makes the Galapagos so particular.
Darwin’s Cove (Muelle Tijeretas)
A 30-minute stroll from city, Darwin’s Cove has the clearest and calmest water on San Cristobal for snorkeling.
In its impossibly turquoise waters, you could encounter a number of the most iconic Galapagos residents together with sea lions, turtles, sharks, and an array of tropical colourful fish.
This is likely one of the finest snorkeling spots on any of the Galapagos islands that may be found with out a information or boat tour!
Playa Punta Carola
If you’re in search of a quieter different seaside to snorkel from than Playa Mann, the spectacular Playa Punta Carola is simply across the nook!
This stunning white sand seaside takes about 15-20 minutes stroll from city however feels extra distant than that.
You possibly can snorkel proper off the sand and are certain to see a number of sea lions and doubtlessly some turtles as effectively.
Attending to Playa Baquerizo takes some effort, however is value each step for people who worth tranquility.
Playa Baquerizo is positioned a few mile past Playa Punta Carola and round 0.7 miles past Darwin’s Cove. Most individuals, due to this fact, tie these all into one lengthy day of exploration.
Because of the distant location, you’ll probably have this stunning snorkel-friendly seaside largely to your self.
Count on to see a whole lot of inexperienced sea turtles, marine iguanas, frigates, and diving boobies.
Playa La Lobería
Simply south of the San Cristobal airport and solely 2 miles (3km) from city, Playa Loberia is likely one of the most well-known seashores for snorkeling with sea lions.
It was the best possible seaside on San Cristobal to see them and continues to be implausible.
Nonetheless, you not must go that far for this expertise as they’re throughout Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Nonetheless, Playa Loberia is a superb place to hang around and snorkel with smaller crowds than you’ll find on the seashores on the town whereas nonetheless being a fast and straightforward journey both by foot or taxi.
Puerto Chino Seaside
Playa Puerto Chino is often visited as the ultimate cease of the San Cristobal Highlands half-day tour, however will also be visited on a solo journey both by renting a motorbike or hiring a taxi.
This is likely one of the prettiest seashores on the island and has the softest sand, with a relaxed and sheltered cove to swim or snorkel in.
So far as snorkel spots go, it’s good as a result of it’s straightforward to swim and enter the water at Puerto Chino however the visibility is reasonably poor and there isn’t a lot to see underwater.
Isabela Snorkel Spots
Concha de Perla
Situated simply across the nook from the primary pier on Isabela Island is a well-liked little cove nestled amongst the mangroves that gives straightforward and implausible snorkeling.
Concha de Perla is the most effective place which you could snorkel on Isabela with out reserving a tour. The deck is often lined in sea lions and marine iguanas and the cove is teeming with wildlife.
Past these talked about above, different animals which can be generally noticed at Concha de Perla are sea turtles, eagle rays, a wide range of fish, and typically even penguins!
Puerto Villamil Seaside / Playa Isabela
Playa Isabela aka Isabela Seaside is a fantastic, expansive seaside that runs proper alongside the foremost city of Puerto Villamil. It’s the finest and most easily-accessible seaside on the inhabited islands.
Snorkeling off of Playa Isabela is nice in that it requires completely no effort, however it’s a bit sparse relating to anticipated wildlife encounters.
Nonetheless, being that some inns are actually positioned within the sand, it’s a excellent place to simply hop within the water when time permits, and hope you get fortunate!
🚤 Finest Snorkel Spots by Day Tour Solely
The next epic snorkel spots are a number of the finest you’ll expertise within the Galapagos, however require you to rearrange a day tour to go to or e book a cruise that features them as a cease.
As a lot of them are on smaller islands, now we have organized this listing by which island you’d e book them from if you happen to wished to incorporate it in your Galapagos itinerary.
Snorkel Excursions from Santa Cruz
Of all of the minor islands you may go to within the Galapagos, Bartolome Island is the most effective.
Not solely is it essentially the most stunning vista in your complete area, however the snorkeling off of Pinnacle Rock would be the finest likelihood most guests have of swimming with the uncommon Galapagos Penguin.
⛵️ READ MORE:
BARTOLOME ISLAND ULTIMATE GUIDE
The day tour tour to Pinzon Island is absolutely extra of a snorkeling tour as you can’t truly step foot onto the island.
The islet that excursions will take you to at Pinzon is the clearest water we snorkeled in all of our time within the Galapagos.
The water was extremely crystalline and teeming with sharks, turtles, sea lions, and diving blue footed boobies.
🦈 READ MORE:
PINZON ISLAND ULTIMATE GUIDE
South Plaza Island (Punta Carrion)
Whereas the Punta Carrion snorkel spot is definitely simply off Santa Cruz, it’s sometimes visited on a day journey to South Plaza Island.
Right here, you may uncover a myriad of colourful fish, together with sergeant majors, parrotfish, surgeonfish, and angelfish.
You might also spot sea turtles, rays, and sharks, together with white-tipped reef sharks and infrequently hammerhead sharks.
Santa Fe Island
Isla Santa Fe has three marine customer websites, all of that are well-known for being glorious locations to snorkel with sea lions.
There are fewer fish right here however you could encounter sea turtles, varied ray species, and Galapagos sharks.
North Seymour Island (Mosquera / Las Bachas)
A go to to North Seymour Island will sometimes embrace a snorkel cease at both Mosquera or Las Bachas.
Each of those areas provide a number of the finest snorkeling in Galapagos, with a big selection of marine life.
It is not uncommon to see sea lions, parrot fish, Mexican hogfish, surgeonfish, backyard eels, and white-tip reef sharks.
Most individuals don’t notice that Floreana Island is inhabited and you may truly keep in a single day by reserving a day tour or ferry and arranging your journey again the subsequent day.
There are a number of locations to snorkel from on Floreana, however Punta Cormorant is the most effective and hottest.
That is house to a inexperienced sand seaside and flamingo lagoon, along with clear, calm water.
Daphne Island is a minor island positioned simply north of Santa Cruz and east of Baltra.
Like a number of the different islands talked about, you can’t step onto land on a day tour however the snorkeling off the shores is phenomenal.
Daphne Island has a number of the finest visibility within the space and is an efficient place to identify blue-footed boobies, in addition to starfish, sea lions, sea turtles, and sponges.
Snorkel Excursions from San Cristobal
Kicker Rock is maybe the most effective place to dive or snorkel in all of Galapagos.
The water is extremely clear, the panorama is implausible, and it is likely one of the commonest locations to see Galapagos hammerhead sharks.
Even if you happen to would not have the nice fortune of recognizing hammerheads, you’re certain to see a thriving underwater world and swimming via the enormous crevice between the rocks is a humbling expertise.
Bahia Sardina is likely one of the most photogenic seashores within the Galapagos islands with a beautiful white sand seaside, crystal clear water, and mountainous backdrop.
The water at Sardina Bay has a number of the higher visibility you’ll snorkel, although you gained’t see as a lot right here as different websites.
The one method to go to Sardina Bay is by reserving the San Cristobal 360º Tour.
Bahia Rosa Blanca
Bahia Rosa Blanca is maybe the most effective place to snorkel within the Galapagos for seeing inexperienced sea turtles.
In our 45-minute swim, we personally encountered about 15 turtles, one among which can have been the most important now we have ever seen in our lives.
You possibly can solely get to Bahia Rosa Blanca by reserving the San Cristobal 360º Tour.
Española (Gardner Bay)
Though most guests head to Española Island to see the waved albatross that nest right here, there’s loads extra to the island.
With its pristine white sand, Gardner Bay is likely one of the most stunning seashores in Galapagos and a very good place for snorkeling.
Though sea lions are the primary attraction, you too can swim with reef white-tipped sharks, rays, and a wide range of colourful reef fish.
Situated simply off the coast of San Cristobal is the small islet of Isla Lobos.
Named for the ocean lions (lobos marinos) that stay right here, you may count on to swim with a few of these majestic creatures in crystal clear waters.
Ochoa Seaside is often visited as a part of a day tour to Isla Lobos. The white sand seaside is positioned simply south of the islet on San Cristobal Island.
Its shallow waters make it a perfect spot for snorkeling, notably for freshmen.
Equally to Isla Lobos, you may count on clear waters and loads of sea lions.
Snorkel Excursions from Isabela
Los Tuneles (Cabo Rosa)
Los Tuneles is the most effective place to snorkel on Isabela Island.
This unusual lava-tube panorama is fascinating to expertise, and the clear water is full of wildlife.
Past the standard sharks, inexperienced sea turtles, and sea lions, Los Tuneles is the most effective place to see sea horses and a number of the extra elusive species of sea turtles.
That is additionally the most effective place to stand up shut and private with blue-footed boobies!
Tintoreras is a well-liked kayaking and snorkeling vacation spot simply off the shore of Playa Isabela to see the uncommon Galapagos penguins.
The phrase “tintorera” means shark in Spanish, so unsurprisingly, it is usually a typical place to identify white-tipped reef sharks.
Only a quick boat journey from Isabela Island is the small islet referred to as Isla Tortuga or Turtle Island, supposedly named for its form reasonably than inhabitants.
The snorkeling is superb for recognizing hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, blacktip reef sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, and starfish!
4 Hermanos & Cartago Bay
One hour by pace boat from Isabela are 4 island rock formations referred to as Los 4 Hermanos, or The 4 Brothers.
This Galapagos snorkeling spot is a deep sea website with a excessive likelihood of seeing pelagic fish in addition to hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, and manta rays.
A snorkeling day tour will even embrace a cease at Cartago Bay, which provides a sheltered space for shallow water snorkeling. Right here you’re prone to swim with sea turtles, rays, sharks, and a wide range of fish.
🚢 Finest Cruise-Solely Galapagos Snorkeling Spots
In the event you’re planning to go to the Galapagos by cruise, you should have the chance to go to different unimaginable snorkel spots.
One of many advantages of a cruise is the flexibility to entry extra distant areas, particularly distant islands that can not be reached on a day journey.
Beneath are the highest 10 finest snorkeling spots that may be reached by cruise solely.
- Punta Espinosa (Fernandina) provides the most effective Galapagos snorkeling spot for seeing marine iguanas within the water. Different highlights embrace flightless cormorants, sea turtles, and infrequently Galapagos penguins.
- Satan’s Crown (Floreana) is likely one of the most well-known snorkeling spots within the Galapagos. The sunken volcanic crater offers a house to a wealth of marine life together with moray eels, golden rays, eagle rays, scorpionfish, and rather more.
- Chinese language Hat (Santiago) is a protected cove with calm, clear waters the place you may spot child sea lions, Galapagos penguins, reef sharks, and sea turtles.
- Tagus Cove (Isabela) is carpeted with inexperienced algae, making it common with marine iguanas, sea turtles, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, and seahorses. There are additionally giant numbers of starfish.
- Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela) has a big inhabitants of inexperienced sea turtles, making it among the best snorkel websites within the Galapagos these majestic creatures.
- Prince Philip Steps (Genovesa) provides some nice snorkeling within the north of the archipelago. The submerged crater offers house to an enormous vary of tropical fish, in addition to the occasional hammerhead shark and manta ray.
- Rabida Island is famed for its purple sand seaside. Nonetheless, it is usually nice snorkeling across the north of the island the place you may spot sea lions, sea turtles, eagle rays, and backyard eels, in addition to the occasional sharks and penguins.
- Osborn Islet is a tiny island close to Española that may solely be accessed by zodiac. You’ll uncover a range of multi-colored tropical fish, comparable to angelfish, parrotfish, and butterfly fish, in addition to varied species of sharks, inexperienced pencil urchins, and manta rays.
- Buccaneer Cove & Espumilla Seaside (Santiago) offers the possibility to witness a colourful underwater world with stunning coral formations, along with sea lions, fur seals, rays, turtles, and a myriad of vibrant fish.
- Champion Islet (Floreana) is likely one of the finest locations in Galapagos for recognizing dolphins. Moreover, snorkeling right here is nearly assured to be within the firm of sea lions, together with the possibility to swim with Galapagos penguins and sea turtles.
🙋♀️ FAQs About Snorkeling within the Galapagos
Hopefully, you don’t have any questions left unanswered about snorkeling within the Galapagos islands, however simply in case, you’ll find solutions to essentially the most incessantly requested questions under.
Merely click on the drop-down arrows to disclose solutions.
Is it secure to snorkel in Galapagos?
It’s completely secure to snorkel within the Galapagos islands, although the water is surprisingly chilly a lot of the yr. The archipelago has many seashores and sheltered bays teeming with wildlife which you could snorkel from with out having to make any preparations in any respect.
What’s snorkeling like within the Galapagos?
Snorkeling within the Galapagos islands is likely one of the most transcendent experiences you’ll ever have relating to wildlife interactions. No the place else on the planet are you as prone to be engaged by marine life as you’re by the famously-tame animal residents of Galapagos.
Do you want a wetsuit to snorkel in Galapagos?
A wetsuit isn’t required for snorkeling in Galapagos, particularly throughout heat and dry season (December-June) when the Panama Present is current. Nonetheless, it might be most popular for heat throughout throughout the “cool and dry” season (July-November) when the frigid Humboldt Present is flowing up from Antarctica.
What’s going to I see snorkeling within the Galapagos?
Every island and spot has completely different wildlife current, however you’re nearly assured to see sea lions, marine iguanas, tropical fish, and inexperienced sea turtles in most locations you’ll snorkel in Galapagos. Moreover, you’ll probably see a wide range of sharks and rays, with. an opportunity for penguins, sea horses, leatherback and hawksbill turtles, and hammerheads.
What’s the finest time of yr to snorkel in Galapagos?
June and July are the most effective time to snorkel in Galapagos because the nutrient-dense Humboldt Present arrives inflicting a flurry of wildlife exercise. Whereas this chilly water present makes temperatures extra frigid, the water is extra tolerable than it will likely be additional into the season.
How a lot does it value to snorkel within the Galapagos Islands?
You possibly can snorkel from any seaside and varied coves within the Galapagos free of charge! A number of the finest spots, nonetheless, require day excursions to succeed in which fluctuate broadly in value primarily based on the space required. On-island excursions are usually within the $50-$100 vary, with distant islands and spots trending as much as the $150-$250 vary domestically.
📚 Extra Galapagos Journey Guides
The 2 of us work very exhausting to create these free journey guides that will help you plan your dream trip. In the event you suppose we’ve carried out a great job and want to say thanks, please contemplate clicking the donate button under 🙂
Now that you understand how many days you’ll need on your Galapagos trip, it’s time for the remainder of your planning!
These guides will assist you to via the method step-by-step, offering perception on the whole lot from discovering flights to prime actions and a lot extra.
💬 Ultimate Ideas
The 2 of us work very exhausting to create these free journey guides that will help you plan your dream trip. In the event you suppose we’ve carried out a great job and want to say thanks, please contemplate clicking the donate button under 🙂
We actually hope you might have discovered this information on the most effective snorkeling spots within the Galapagos helpful as you proceed to plan your good trip.
Now we’d like to listen to from YOU!
Was there any data that you just discovered complicated, inaccurate, outdated, or lacking?
Or maybe that is the most effective information you’ve discovered on the subject and had your whole questions answered?
No matter your ideas, we need to hear them! Assist us to assist future readers like your self by offering your suggestions within the feedback under.