Destination – Galapagos Islands

Giant Whale Shark - Darwin Island, Galapagos

Darwin certainly picked some of the most dynamic islands to stop by on his journey on the Sea Beagle. The Galapagos Islands are a treasure trove of endemism (that means things found here and nowhere else on Earth!). If you want to see creatures and sea creatures that exist only here…GO! And go soon as long line fishing boats are wiping out the area quickly. Yes, it is a national park and yes it is being fished. There is great control over what and where travelers are allowed but there are still infinite adventures to be had. We have traveled to the Galapagos six times and would go at the drop of a hat any day over and over. Different seasons bring different adventures

Galapagos Facts

If you want cool things to do on Galapagos, check out the next section. If you are look-ing for facts and figures, click here.

Adventure

The adventure life comes in many styles in the Galapagos Islands and it comes mainly in the form of INCREDIBLE wildlife. Some of our favorite things to do include:

  1. Dive Dive Dive. Scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands is our favorite thing to do.
  2. Sea lions. In October, wander near the sealion harems and spot one giving birth. Simply amazing.
  3. Waved Albatross. Arrive on the island of Espanola in late March, their only breeding ground. Some 12,000 pairs arrive here and to watch their mating dance is a HIGHLIGHT of a visit. They need strong headwinds to take flight so at Punta Suarez they simply jump off the high cliffs into the updraft.
  4. Snorkel with Penguins. At Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome Island. These are the most northern penguins in the world! Then hike the Summit Trail to the top of the island and get the best view in the archipelago.
  5. Visit Blue Footed Booby Colonies. On many of the islands. Paint your toenails blue and do the mating dance by lifting one foot then the other. The bluer the feet the more attractive to the opposite sex!
  6. Snorkel and Spot Marine Iguanas Feeding Underwater. These sea going reptiles are only found in the Galapagos.
  7. Humpback Whales. Divers only will travel to Wolfe and Darwin Islands. Watch for humpback whales in the late fall (September-November) off Darwin.
  8. Snorkel with dolphin off Darwin island. We like to get in the water and have a small inflatable circle us at high speed. The dolphin love to follow the boat and you can get great photos and video literally in the center of the action!
  9. Whale Sharks and Hammerheads. Dive with the BIGGEST fish in the sea….the whale shark and schooling hammerhead sharks at Wolfe and Darwin!!!!
  10. 41 Species of Fish in the Galapagos are Endemic. See how many you can find!

Galapagos Seasonality

Something is going on all the time in the Galapagos Islands. June thru December is considered the dry season and most of the sea birds are in mating mode. The colder Humboldt current is present and water and air temps are cooler and often a mist hangs over the islands. This is called the garua and the height of the cold and mist is usually around September and October. December to June is the warmer season when the Panama current brings warmer waters and more tropical conditions including rain.

Here’s a partial critter list!

Whale Sharks & Hammerheads Wolfe & Darwin June-November
Waved Albatross Espanola Late March-December
Sea Lion & Fur Seas Year Around
Iguana Year Around
Penguins Bartolome Year Around
Dolphin Bartolome

Favorite Dive Sites (just to name a few there are SO many)

  • Wolfe Island- The dive sites on Wolfe are fantastic for eagle rays. We have found them in large shoals here. As well during the season, hammerheads rule. We’ve seen upwards of 400-500 cruising by and you know what? It’s tough to count them all! Occasional whale sharks are spotted here.
  • Darwin Island- This is whale shark heaven in the season. We’ve had up to 12 dives with sightings on EVERY DIVE. These 35 foot females are one of the most amazing sites IN THE UNIVERSE.
  • North Seymour- We love this site because it is a smorgasbord. Turtles, galapagos sharks, TONS of white tips, manta rays, eagle rays, schools and schools of reef fish. You just never know what’s going to show up here! A totally kick ass dive when its going off!
  • Gordon Rocks- Two large rocks stick out of nowhere here and we often figure eight: them. Visibility can be hit or miss but when this place goes off it goes off! A great place to find cownose rays and to see fur seals…it can be a literal fish soup!
  • Cousins Rock- This is a unique site as one side is basically terraced with ledges and sea grasses. It is a fantastic place to play with sea lions and find sea horses. So be sure to bring your macro lens ….oh and be sure to bring your 17:35 f2.8D….got it??

Dive Gear Note

Galapagos has varied sea temperatures depending on currents and can range from below 60 (yea, damn cold!) to 80’s (too warm for most of the critters). This is a trip you might want to consider a couple of wetsuits or a 7mm with a 5mm hooded vest or a semi or dry for those central island freezing ass cold plunges!

No trips scheduled to the Galapagos Islands at this time. Check back!