Everything You Need to Know About Diving Day Trips & Diving Cruises

There are two ways to dive the Galapagos marine reserve – either with a live-aboard cruise or with day trips from an inhabited island.

When planning your Galapagos dive adventure, take into account that there are two diving seasons: Whale Shark Season (June to November) and Manta Season (December to May).


Liveaboard Diving Cruise

Diving cruises are the only way you can visit the remote islands Wolf and Darwin where you have the best chances to see whale sharks and big schools of hammerhead sharks. As on the naturalist cruises, you eat and sleep on board. Each day you do 3 to 4 dives – two in the morning and 1-2 in the afternoon – and some cruises even offer night dives. Besides diving, you also do at least one land visit, usually either on Santa Cruz or San Cristobal Island.

Nine live-aboard diving yachts are currently cruising the Galapagos Islands. During their 7-day diving itineraries, they travel far north to dive at the islands Darwin and Wolf, amongst other islands.

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Diving & Hotel Package

If you’re looking for a more flexible diving experience, our hotel-diving package may be the way to go. With a hotel stay, you can explore the Galapagos Islands at your own pace, and you’ll participate in 2 diving day trips, with 2 dives each day at different diving hot spots throughout your 5-day Galapagos visit. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from an accommodation that fits your budget and preferences. Overall, a hotel-diving package offers a great balance of convenience, flexibility, and comfort.

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Requirements to Dive the Galapagos

For diving day trips from Santa Cruz or San Cristobal Island, you need at least an Open-Water Dive Certification for beginner and intermediate dive sites. For advanced dive sites like Gordon Rocks, you need at least 20-30 logged dives.

Due to the strong currents, the varying visibility, and the cold water in Galapagos, live-aboard diving can be challenging and is only recommended for experienced divers. Yachts recommend having done at least 50 open-water dives.

Minimum requirements may vary depending on the day tour or cruise operator.

Diving Day Trips

These tours are a great alternative for people who are not very experienced divers, travel with children, or can’t afford a diving cruise. It is also the favorite option for mixed couples and groups with divers and non-divers.

Many travelers do a naturalist cruise to see the unique land animals and extend their stay on the archipelago to do diving day trips. Some naturalist cruises offer diving day trips at an extra charge. However, we usually don’t recommend these because you would miss the day’s actual cruise program.

Almost all diving day trips start from Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island and only a few start from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island. The cost of a diving day trip depends on the tour operator but the average price is $270 including check dive, 2 dives, diving gear, a certified English-speaking guide, transportation, and lunch.

Find an example program including accommodation on an inhabited island and diving day trips here. If you want to learn more about the dive sites and tour availability, contact our Midland Travel staff.


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