Choosing between Cocos and The Galapagos is one of the diving world's biggest questions. It's like comparing a glass of Sancerre with a glass of Malbec, both immensely enjoyable and both, rightly, have their time and place.
Cocos and The Galapagos are remote islands in the Pacific Ocean, each drawing a huge range of oceanic life to their coral encrusted shores. The Galapagos lie a whopping 600 miles away from mainland Ecuador and can be easily reached by a three-hour flight from Quito. Cocos, on the other hand, is a lesser distance, at 350 miles from Costa Rica, but can only be reached by a 32 to 36-hour boat crossing.
They both offer close encounters with some of the best marine life in our oceans. Our Marketing Director, Andy, was lucky enough to dive both within a year (The Galapagos in July and Cocos in October), and he's still finding it difficult to pick a favourite...
In Cocos, we had daily encounters with sharks; many, many sharks. We were lucky to see tigers, schooling hammerheads, Galapagos, silky and bull sharks up close, as well as a fair few white, silver and black tip sharks. On the less toothy side, we also saw giant manta rays, marbled rays, frog fish, green turtles, huge schools of black-eyed jacks and an abundance of fish.
The Galapagos Islands
In The Galapagos, we had the plethora of sharks, mantas and large schools of fish too. But, the show-stopping contenders were the whale sharks and hammerheads. The impact of sharing the water with such spectacles was breath-taking.
Only after a long mental safety stop would I sway toward The Galapagos - and only with the strongest caveat that my Galapagos trip was where I had my first (and thankfully second, third and fourth) whale shark encounter. For me, one of the most beautiful, pleasurable and peaceful experiences was swimming alongside these majestic beauties.
The easy, and much more enjoyable, answer…. dive them both! For The Galapagos, June to December is whale shark season and you should see more hammerheads than you can count. For Cocos, July to August will have colder water, which draws the hammerheads from the deep blue to the 'warmer' shallower waters, and offers you a good chance to see whale sharks. Or, if you plan for October, you'll encounter tiger sharks.
The Humboldt current is key, as the cold waters attract a bevy of sharks, mantas and even whales. So, it's best to speak to one of our specialists who will help your choose the perfect travel window. Tell them your hit-list and they will design the perfect trip, catered to your interests and dive level, making this one of the most incredible dive trips of your life.