Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) Liveaboards

No one is indifferent to the Galápagos Islands. Declared a national park in Ecuador and the second-largest marine reserve in the world, the Galápagos are considered to be one of the best diving destinations in the world, offering a once-in-a-lifetime diving experience. Sea lions, penguins, manta rays, mola mola, a variety of sharks and many more endemic species await those who seek to explore something special

Reviews about Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) Liveaboards

Humboldt Explorer Liveaboard Explorer LiveaboardExplorer Ventures Liveaboard Diving Fleet, 3 reviews

The Galápagos, Wolf and Darwin

A stunning trip, possibly one of the best ever. The Site of Sharks Bay on Wolf Island is fantastic, sitting and watching hundreds of Hammerheads, plus Turtles, Morays, Galápagos Sharks, and a host of different fish was memorable. The staff and guides were great and very helpful, life on board was regimented as we got into the swing of things, sleep eat dive repeat!! Great bunch of diving companions, many of whom l am in contact with now. The boat was a tad tired, in comparison with my last trip in the Maldives on the Blue Force One, but then you are in different waters. Food was ok, well filling, sorry but l have run catering establishments all my life so probably have high standards. Oh and if you like gelatine, you will be in heaven, as it is in almost all the deserts. All in all, a great dive and if you have the cash go for it.
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Humboldt Explorer Liveaboard Explorer LiveaboardExplorer Ventures Liveaboard Diving Fleet, 3 reviews

Did I have good time yes, but for the price it had far to0 many cons.

Here is my honest review of the trip. PLease note that this trip was done in early January 2019 and I have 150 dives before the trip.

• First 2 dives before wolf and Darwin and 2 dives after were at very poor dive sites. There are such better dive sites around San Cristobal and Santa Cruz that could have easily been done instead so it was very disappointing! Given the price I expect to go to all good or at least decent dives sites. The first 2 dives was some of the worst dives I have ever done and made me nervous about the rest of the trip. (Darwin and wolf were great and so I was happy in the end) 
• Darwin and wolf dives are very similar and at the end they decided to do this cavern dive to mix it up. This was different but not at all on the same caliber as the other dive sites and was a poor choice in my opinion. I don’t care if we dive the same site over again if it’s good, as each dive is always different. If they try to do the cave site just say no! It’s some tiny small caverns with a swim through like 3m and then a 7m cave and you see a few turtles and it is not at all darwin or wolf quality dive. Also the current got crazy whirlpool current at the end of the dive to the point where it was dangerous as we were being shot up and down and we were not briefed on this therefore I was not expecting strong up and down currents. . So I was a bit upset they didn't brief this possibility.
• They had 2 dive guides for 16 people. We are paying insane amounts of money for this liveaboard and groups of 8 (or in our case it ended up being 9) is just crazy! Especially given then conditions  At Darwin and wolf. Should be groups of 4 or maybe 6 max. I have never had a group bigger than 6 before this trip and have many dives. 
• The dive guides were poor in that they didn’t show us barely anything on any dives. They would just point out hammerheads. Which yeah I can clearly see. I didn’t mind too much as we found our own stuff but something to note. Maybe because we had group of 9 and they had to focus on making sure everyone was together and okay. 
• My spouse was beside the guide and pointed out a scorpion fish to show him it was there so he wouldn't get hurt and then scooped it into his hand. Very dangerous and you aren’t suppose to touch anything, especially in Galapagos! Made us upset
• They allowed people with far less than 100 dives to go on the trip even though it says minimum 100 dives. These people didn’t even claim to have that. The one girl told them she had 36 dives and then there was an older lady who I’m not sure how many dives she had but she was so poor at diving, the guide actually held her hand the whole time. This is why we needed up with a group of 9 good divers and a group of 7. The dive guide was a baby sitter for the one women. 
• There was a hot tub on the boat but we barely got to use it and when it was filled up it was never warm and then we kept complaining and then finally they heated it up to an insane 45C that no one could get it. A temperature system is very cheap and not hard to instal. It seems crazy to me that they didn’t have this.
• We had requested to have more meals outside as we had a one meal and it was great as the weather was very nice the whole time but nope they wouldn’t allow it. Only 1 meal was planned to be outside so we only got 1 outside meal. How hard is it? All you do is set the outside table instead of the inside one??? 
• We were told to be up at 5:45 and get ready at 6. The first day the guides weren’t awake till 6:15 so I could have slept in more! And then it was like this for the trip where often they were late and so people started sleeping in as well because who is going to get up at 5:45 if guides aren’t ready to dive. Plan a time and everybody wake up then and get ready. 

• Darwin and wolf we saw many many hammerheads, dolphins and even had some time playing with fur seals. 
• The guides did a good job in letting us go over and play with the fur seals at the end of one of the dives. I enjoyed this very much. 
• The food was very good. We ate very well for the week on board. Although desert after lunch and dinner gets to be a lot (complaining about too much food shouldn’t be a complaint lol)! but they use lots of gelatin which got old. 

Other notes
• Darwin and wolf the dives were all very similar. And although I had a great time I was expecting some more variety of wildlife. Eg. school of rays or something in addition to the sharks. I mean seeing hammerheads 14 dives in a row in addition to some dolphins, Galapagos sharks, oceanic black tip sharks, silky sharks, white tips was very cool  and I was very happy but just thought I would let people know so as to what to expect. We dove from land from San Cristobal and Santa Cruz and had more variety like schools of rays, etc but you maybe see a couple hammerheads not schools.
• Visibility wasn’t great in second week of January (I don’t think it’s ever great though?) and while we saw hammerheads every dive, some of the dives you would just see a murky outline but sometimes they would get close and that is when it was real exciting. So with 14 dives there, chances are high some of those dives will be very special but not every dive was like that. 

For the money it is very hard to justify this liveaboard company given all the cons. But the cons didn’t ruin my trip as the diving at wolf and Darwin was very good and overall I had a good time. I would look into other boats to wolf and Darwin but if this boat is the only one in your budget then it’s still worth doing. 

PS: Divebooker is a great website to book through and made the booking of this trip very easy and stress free. I would 100% recommend Divebooker!
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Questions and Answers

Why go diving on liveaboard on the Galápagos Islands?

The Unique Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean 900 km/560 mi from the coast of Ecuador. Due to the unique and abundant natural beauty, the marine territory within 70,000 sq. km/43,496 sq. mi around the Galápagos has been declared a marine reserve. It is the second-largest marine reserve in the world, and more than 95% of the islands are the National Park of Ecuador, with 18 larger islands and 3 smaller ones.

The Galápagos Islands are one of the most famous spots for safari diving in the world. Liveaboard diving trips in the Galápagos feature enormous whale sharks, schools of hammerhead sharks, mola mola fish, endangered sea cucumbers, friendly sea lions, equatorial penguins, a huge diversity of rays (including manta rays, stingrays, eagle rays, and others), whitetip sharks, and reef sharks. 

Galápagos Dive Sites 

The marine life in the islands is strictly protected, and all commercial fishing is prohibited in the marine reserve, which results in immense numbers of fish, sharks, whales, tortoises, and sea lions that you can see during your trip. The Galápagos safari boats visit more than 70 diving sites, some of the most famous of which are Darwin, Wolf, Cabo Marshall, and Cabo Douglas. 

If you check dive site maps and the itineraries of the Galápagos liveaboards, you will see that they are often similar because the most fascinating places are included into the routes of almost every boat, with some variations depending on the season. So when planning your Galápagos safari, we advise that you don’t focus so much on the available routes, and focus more on the season you prefer and the liveaboard on which you want to sail. 

Galápagos Liveaboard Trips 

There is no better way to see all the beauty of the Galápagos Islands than going on a diving safari. Although shore dive sites are also great places, many of them do not allow overnight stays and cannot provide the diversity of views, corals, and animals common to Galápagos liveaboard diving. 

The tours here have a standard length of either 7 nights (8 days) or 10 nights (11 days), and shorter tours are more popular. During liveaboard tours on the Galápagos Islands you will be able to make 19 to 26 dives if you choose a 7-night tour, and approximately 30 dives with the extended trips.

How to choose an itinerary and when to go

Generally there are two main seasons in the Galápagos Islands: the hot, wet season and the cold, dry season. You can choose whichever you want, depending on your preferences for wildlife and water temperatures.

The hot, wet season in the Galápagos lasts from late December to May. This is called the manta ray season (you can see our selection of best offers above), because during these months it is much more likely to see these amazing creatures, along with huge schools of hammerhead sharks and many more penguins. If you prefer wet suits and warm water, then choose the wet season, because the water temperature is usually between 24-30°C/75-86°F. This season also has the best visibility, up to 30 m/100 ft from January to March.

The cold, dry season lasts from June to November. The visibility remains good (10-20 m/30-65 ft), but the water can get as cold as 15°C/59°F, so we advise using at least 7-mm wetsuits or dry suits during this season. During the dry season, you can also expect stronger currents, which make the ocean choppy and bring surges. If you prefer calmer weather or are often seasick, make sure that you only come during the wet season. The dry season has colder water and weather, but the great thing about it is the enormous numbers of whale sharks and sea lions (find your dates with our selection of boats above). If you have been dreaming to see the biggest fish in the ocean, you should definitely choose the dry season, but try to avoid September, because it is the coldest month of the year.

Galápagos liveaboards: read before you go

When traveling to the Galápagos for safari diving, you will be able to either fly or sail to the islands, and flying is more common. To get into the islands, you will have to pay $10 USD fee to acquire a mandatory Tourist Control Card (also known as a Transit Control Card). Another mandatory payment is a $100 fee to get into the Galápagos National Park (or $50 for a child under 12 years of age). Make sure to have general insurance and diver’s insurance for your trip, because most liveaboards require this as a condition of going on board. Most boats require a very important payment, which is $35 for a hyperbaric chamber.

All boats in the Galápagos Islands require every guest to have a mandatory personal underwater computer. Other recommended equipment includes flashlights for night dives and a basic set of personal equipment. During the cold, dry season, we strongly recommend that you take 5-7 mm wetsuits with hoods and gloves or even using dry suits for a more convenient underwater experience.

The general requirements are as follows. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the end of your trip. Citizens of the US, Canada, and European countries do not need a visa, unless you plan to stay in the Galápagos Islands for more than 90 days. You are allowed to bring 400 cigarettes, 500 g of tobacco, or 25 cigars, as well as 3 liters of alcohol without incurring customs duties. 

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