The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most remote and unique spots for snorkeling and diving. Nearly 20 percent of the marine life found near these islands is endemic, meaning it can’t be found anywhere else in the world. This includes species of sharks, puffer fish, eels, and barnacles.
Beyond the range of biodiversity, what makes the Galapagos Islands special is how easily its marine life can be spotted. The archipelago is one of the only places where animals such as hammerhead sharks and golden rays can be found swimming close to the shore.
While traveling aboard our Galapagos cruise – Aqua Mare, guests will have the opportunity to explore these pristine waters on a number of occasions. Here are the top five hotspots which we’ll visit during our voyage.
Located at the southern end of Genovesa Island, El Barranco is known for its steep volcanic cliffs and lava fields. The landmark is a hotspot for birdwatching, frequented by species of finches, boobies, and mockingbirds. Equally impressive are the calm waters surrounding the cliffs – one of the best spots in the Galapagos Islands to sport exotic fish and coral reefs.
El Barranco is also home to colonies of Galapagos sea lions – an endemic species which can often be found camouflaged within the rocky shoreline. They are among the friendliest animals which inhabit the archipelago, often being social and inquisitive when there are tourists around.
If lucky, snorkelers and divers might get to see these sea lions in action as they hunt for their daily meal. Often working in packs, the marine mammals cajole fish into the rocky shallow waters, where they’re able to catch them despite being much slower swimmers.
A magnificent white-sand beach with crystal clear waters, Bahia Borrero is paradise for snorkelers, and beach lovers alike. The site is most well renowned for being a nesting site for green sea turtles.
While traveling on Aqua Mare’s East Galapagos itinerary, guests will start their expedition with an afternoon at Bahia Borrero. Sea turtles tend to be active around this time, making it the perfect opportunity to swim and snorkel alongside them.
Whitetip reef sharks can also be found in these waters, often fairly close to the shore. They’re quite a curious species and have been known to come up to observe snorkelers up-close. Not to worry, they aren’t known to be aggressive, nor are they considered a threat to humans.
Known for its remarkable red sand beaches, Rabida Island is a well-known site frequented by sea turtles and sea lions. Its surrounding waters offer a unique snorkeling experience, owing to the red tint of the seabed and the presence of corals embedded among the rocks.
Snorkelers may come across schools of brightly colored parrotfish, which spend their time feeding on algae in the shallow waters. Angelfish, mullets, and surgeonfish are among the other species which are commonly spotted in this area.
At times, snorkelers might be approached by friendly sea lions, whose underwater acrobatics make for a truly unforgettable memory.
Snorkeling at Punta Espinoza is one of the most rewarding experiences which the Galapagos Islands have to offer. Located on Fernandina Island, this site is home to the largest colony of marine iguanas in the archipelago.
Nicknamed ‘imps of darkness’ by Charles Darwin, these iguanas can most often be found sunbathing on the volcanic rocks. They enter the shallow waters in search of nutritions, primarily feeding on algae which grows on ocean rocks.
Despite their unwieldy appearance, marine iguanas are graceful swimmers, adopting a snake-like motion and using their claws to grab onto rocks on the ocean beat.
Snorkelers may also come across sea lions and penguins at Punta Espinoza, as well as sea turtles and rays if entering the waters during low tide.
Located on the northern shores of Floreana Island – one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos archipelago – Punta Cormorant is a bucket list spot for any avid diver. On the second day, those traveling on Aqua Mare’s West Galapagos itinerary will have the option to embark on a rendezvous diving session and discover the region’s amazing marine life.
From sea turtles to reef sharks, there are a number of species which can be spotted while diving at this spot. With Floreana Island also being home to a small colony of Galapagos penguins, divers might get lucky and spot these rare equatorial birds out for a swim.
Although they look clumsy while on land, these penguins are excellent swimmers and often spend their days hunting for food in the ocean. They’re very social animals and can be quite friendly towards humans as well.
Book an expedition on Aqua Mare to discover the elusive wildlife and dramatic volcanic landscapes of the Galapagos Archipelago. Curated with exclusivity and personalized service enabled in mind, the yacht is the only one in the Galapagos Islands to have a one-to-one crew to guest ratio. Plan your trip now and feel free to reach out to our Expeditions Consultant with any questions you may have.