Snorkeling in Galapagos

Snorkeling in Galapagos is famous worldwide for its close contact with diverse marine life.


Every snorkeling site provides a stunning display of thousands and thousands of colorful fish.

The Galapagos Islands are located on the equator off the western coast of Ecuador in South America. Every year, currents coming up from South American and down from North America bring rich ocean nutrients.

These nutrient-rich waters feed fish and marine plants, which in turn feed sharks, sea turtles and many of the above-water Galapagos animals such as boobies and frigatebirds.

The Galapagos marine world does not have much coral, but does feature fish, echinoderms and other sea life in abundance.

Snorkeling in Galapagos is good year-round and you can always spot sharks, rays or marine turtles.

From June to December the water is a bit cold, but that's good news, because although some swimmers might want a wet suit, cold water is clearer and the visibility is improved.

Seeing brightly colored reef fish, like parrotfish, surgeonfish, angelfish or sergeant-majors is very common at all Galapagos snorkeling sites.

If you're lucky you can see white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos sharks, Hammerhead sharks, green sea turtles, manta rays, pacific sunfish and more. Many times, playful sea lions will frolic along with you.

Some of the best sites for snorkeling in Galapagos are accessible right off the beach, others can be reached when you start your snorkeling from the beach.

And some other sites are only accessible by boat where you have to jump in the water (wet landing) and then return to the boat with the help of a ladder.

The favorite Galapagos snorkeling site for most visitors is the one next to Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome Island

The setting is stunning and chances are you will be snorkeling with the famous Galapagos penguins.

Keep in mind that any month of the year is worth visiting the Galapagos Islands.

Snorkeling in Galapagos Tips

1. Do not touch the animals. Even a gentle caress can disturb the mucous coating that helps protects fish from disease. Do not feed the fish.

If fed by humans, after a while they become dependent on handouts and lose the ability to forage.

Also, they lose their natural wariness, which makes them easy prey for poachers.

2. Do not touch the coral. The tiny jelly-like polyps that live inside the hard calcium casing are fragile.

One swipe of your hand can kill dozens or perhaps hundreds of them.

3. Wear a liberal coating of waterproof sunscreen on your back and the backs of your legs.

The thin film of water over you acts as a magnifier and because the water keeps your skin cool, you may not realize your skin is burning until it is too late.

4. Take off your jewelry.

5. Shark are rare on the shallow reefs that snorkelers frequent, but if you see a shark, do not panic.

Most Galapagos reef sharks are passive types, not man eaters, and they usually ignore swimmers.

The myriad of fish would be enough to keep any swimmer entranced for hours, but it is the larger fish and mammals of the ocean that make snorkeling in Galapagos so compelling.

Snorkeling has become the greatest way to enjoy and understand the beauty of the Galapagos Islands' marine world.

Basic Galapagos Snorkeling Gear

The less you have the more basic you will be. For example a simple list should include the following equipment:

  • Mask and Snorkel (Make sure you have a tempered glass mask and the simplest silicone snorkel available)
  • Full footed fins are best for snorkeling in Galapagos.
  • Snorkeling vest.
  • Mesh bag (It allows you to carry all your gear in an organized way. Great for kids!)
  • Wet suit: to be used mainly during the Dry Season when the waters are cooler. A wet suit provides added comfort for staying in the water longer periods.
  • Underwater camera (Great for documenting your underwater experience).

Enjoy snorkeling in Galapagos, it is the largest Marine Reserve in America, and the only tropical location where sea lions, tropical fishes and penguins ever meet!

More About Galapagos

Galapagos Surfing

Galapagos American Oystercatcher

Galapagos Islands Honeymoon

Galapagos Whales

Best Galapagos Cruises

If you have questions about Snorkeling in Galapagos, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page and if you would like to request more information about our Economic Galapagos Tours to visit these Islands, You can Contact us here

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