Advanced Diving in the Galapagos

If you have not yet dived the Galapagos Islands and they are not at the top of your bucket list, can you really call yourself a diver? The Ecuadorean archipelago is well-known as being a centre for biodiversity and the inspiration behind Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The volcanic islands rise from the middle of the eastern Pacific Ocean, 500 nautical miles west of the auspiciously named port city of Manta on the Ecuadorean coast, and are home to what most would argue is the best diving on the planet. Behemoth whale sharks, monstrous oceanic manta rays, immense schools of hammerheads and mola mola are commonly encountered, and while the islands themselves provide shelter on some dives, some of the sites are only for the more advanced. Diving in the Galapagos does not top everybody’s bucket list by chance – it really is that special...

The Caves

An overnight steam northwest from the main island group takes you out toward the archipelago's most famous islands for divers: Darwin Island and Wolf Island. First stop will be the closer Wolf Island, and a dive at The Caves never disappoints. Strong currents and choppy surface conditions ensure it's a dive for the experienced, and despite whale sharks, Galapagos sharks, hammerheads, eagle rays, manta rays and even bottlenose dolphins regularly showing up, the playful sea lions seem perfectly adept at stealing the limelight!

Darwin's Arch

Named after the infamous naturalist, Darwin's Arch was a natural rock arch on the south-east side of Darwin Island. Unfortunately, the arch collapsed into the sea in 2021 due to natural erosion, and while the surface view is not as impressive as it once was, the view below the waves is as epic as always. With surging surface waters and strong currents below, Darwin's Arch definitely joins the list of the more advanced diving in the Galapagos, but thanks to those swirling, strong currents, hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, blacktip sharks and whale sharks all stop by for a snack.

Gordon Rocks

Situated off the east coast of Santa Cruz Island, lies the chance to dive alongside hammerhead sharks inside an extinct volcanic crater. The dive takes you a little deeper than 30 metres and there can be strong currents at times, placing this among the more advanced diving in the Galapagos, but the currents attract the sharks. Schools of up to 50 hammerhead sharks can be seen circling the submerged pinnacles, while the Galapagos' other usual suspects - Galapagos sharks, devil rays, eagle rays, silky sharks, manta rays, turtles and sea lions - all turn up to take part in the show too.

Cape Marshal

Another must-dive among the more advanced diving in the Galapagos sits in the channel between the islands of Isabela and Santiago: Cape Marshall. Following the volcanic slope down from Isabela Island leads you to hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, marble rays and devil rays enjoying the strong currents, while there's also a good chance of the bizarre-looking mola mola lurching out of the blue.

Our team of dive travel experts has visited the Galapagos on numerous occasions to ensure we can offer the best liveaboards in the area. With guaranteed Wolf and Darwin dives on every trip, we have found our top picks and can help you put together your dream itinerary to discover the more advanced diving in the Galapagos as well as the delights of mainland Ecuador.

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Emily C and Eleanor are our 'Advanced Diving in the Galapagos' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Call us on 1-800-652-1972