Scuba diving Galapagos is the marine version of visiting Jurassic Park. Only in Galapagos can you experience both high voltage shark diving and the sheer abundance of species that live in these waters. Topside, it’s land-before-time vistas and live volcanoes on these remote islands only inhabited by sea birds in the thousands.
With 592 species of fish, 32 species of sharks, 3 species of sea turtles, 7 species of dolphins, penguins, mola molas, orcas, mantas and the only marine iguana on the planet, only in Galapagos can you dive with such a sheer abundance of species AND so many sharks.
Others may say they’re the sharkiest place, but Galapagos actually is. Darwin and Wolf have the largest biomass of sharks in the world averaging 17.5 tons of sharks per hectare (2.47 acres). Cocos comes in 2nd with half that many.
Prehistoric looking hammerheads school in the hundreds. Galapagos sharks, Whale sharks, Silky sharks, Blacktip reef sharks, White Tipped reef sharks and Bullhead sharks are normal sightings though other species have been sighted, too. Only in Galapagos can you dive beside a 60 ft / 18 m pregnant Whale Shark. Most other destinations with whale sharks have smaller males. Whale sharks seasonally migrate through Darwin and Wolf for reasons and destinations still unknown.
All those photos of massive schools of Hammerheads and the up close shots of Galapagos and Silky sharks were taken at Darwin and Wolf Islands which are only accessible from a liveaboard. They are 14-16 hours north of the central islands.
Galapagos is not just the sharkiest place on earth, it also tends to grab top rankings for abundance of species and healthy marine environment. The number of species is incredible.
Cabo Douglas is where you will see endemic Marine Iguanas feeding underwater. Though they are easy to see anywhere in Galapagos, watching them feed underwater is a rare sighting. Mantas are commonly sighted on the eastern side of Isla Isabela. Punta Vicente Roca is a Mola Mola cleaning station and is where you can see the northernmost Penguins on the planet.
In some places, you can see walls of black-striped salemas so thick, you can’t even tell a diver is inside except for the bubbles rising above. They provide cover for the tiny, silver anchovies penguins love to feed on, so they’re not uncommon at Punta Vicente Roca and Cabo Douglas, but the largest walls I’ve ever seen were at Cabo Marshall.
Galapagos is where polar meets tropical. You’ll see an abundance of tropicals like King Angelfish, Butterfly fish, Surgeonfish, Grunts, Sea Stars, Cornetfish, Blennies, Snappers, Damselfish and Hawkfish alongside penguins and Orcas.
We have weird critters like the Red-Lipped Batfish, Sea Robins and you might even have a blue-eyed Flightless Cormorant diving alongside you. Species you quickly begin to take for granted in Galapagos would singularly be the highlight of dive trips at other destinations: Turtles, Sea Lions, Eagle Rays, Manta Rays, Stingrays, Moray eels as well as huge schools of jacks and barracudas.
Galapagos has everything in abundance which is why every diver who has ever been there raves and every diver who hasn’t been there wants to go. Galapagos is legendary diving!