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Snorkeling in Galápagos - Diving - Ecuador



Good snorkeling in Galápagos is easy: if you’re near any island, chances are you can strap on a mask, jump into the water and you’ll see something.  The water is generally quite nice, although often cooler than you might expect.  If you have an underwater camera, be sure to bring it: there are many species to see and photograph, including many endemic ones – species that you’ll only see in Galápagos.


The Devil’s Crown is a circle of craggy rocks that rises out of the sapphire waters off the north coast of Floreana Island.  The jagged rocks – far too small to be considered islands in their own right – are home to the usual assortment of blue-footed boobys, frigate birds and marine iguanas that seem to make their home on any sunny rock in the islands.  Probably the premier snorkel spot in Galápagos, the devil’s crown is home to numerous marine species, including a wide variety of fish, sea turtles, sharks, eels and rays. The swift currents can be treacherous for beginning swimmers, but if you’re up to it, don’t miss the chance to dive in.


Another great spot is Genovesa Island.  Genovesa, or Tower, was once a mighty volcano. Over time, the island and crater wore down, and today all that is left of the original shape of the island is the semi-circular Darwin Bay.  The circular edge of the old crater is excellent for snorkeling: sea lions regularly swim along with visitors, you can expect to see a lot of fish (and eels if you’re lucky) and the presence of land on three sides keeps the water from ever getting too rough. While you’re there, be sure to go ashore: Genovesa is known as “bird island” because it is home to many species of rare birds, including the endemic short-eared owl.


On San Cristóbal Island, not far from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Isla Lobos, or Sea Lion Island, is another hot spot.  As you would expect, there is a large colony of sea lions on this long, narrow island, which shelters a small, tranquil bay. Perfect for beginners, the water is shallow, warm, never rough and there is a lot to see. Sea lions often come play with swimmers, and you have a good chance of seeing a sea turtle or rays.


Off of Española Island is Xarifa, more commonly known as “Turtle Rock” because it looks like an enormous sea turtle surging out of the water. It’s a good place to see white-tip reef sharks, sea turtles, rays, scorpionfish and other fish. Turtle Rock is good for all levels: although the currents can be tricky and the water can be rough, there is always part of the island that is sheltered from the wind and easy to swim.


Most tours in Galápagos include some snorkeling. If you own a mask and snorkel, it is a good idea to bring it with you, as the equipment provided by the ships is often in bad repair (the fins are usually OK). The smaller ships are more flexible (and therefore allow you more time to snorkel if that's what you want to do) but the larger ships have better equipment. 


Here are other activities in and around The Galápagos Islands that may be of interest: Puerto Ayora Dive Shops, Snorkeling in Urbina Bay, Galápagos Islands Diving, Galápagos Dive Sites, Rabida Island Snorkeling, Galakiwi Tours and Dive Shop, Nauti Diving, Isla Lobos, Kicker Rock/León Dormido and Scuba Iguana Galapagos.

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