Snorkeling in the Galapagos?

by Carma Ryan
(Springfield, VA)

Has anyone been snorkeling in the Galapagos? What time of year is best? I'm looking at trying to plan a future trip - early 2019. Any suggestions fellow snorkelers?

Thanks in advance.

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Mar 11, 2018
Consider April
by: Diana

I went in April, and the snorkeling was fantastic! The water was warm enough that I didn’t need a wetsuit (but some other people on my trip preferred to wear one).

April is also during the nesting time for the Waved Albatross, which is an added bonus (but you have to go to the island of Española to see them).

Mar 12, 2018
Snorkel in January
by: Kathy

We went on a galapagos adventure trip Jan. 2018. We snorkeled once or twice a day. Water was calm and clear. The temperature was cool, about low to mid 70s. We definitely used the wetsuits provided. My favorite was Kicker Rock, four kinds of sharks. If you want to snorkel with penguins you better go to the western islands. Snorkeling with the sea lions was fun too. We saw almost no coral, it was killed in the El Nino years ago.

Mar 12, 2018
April Worked for Us
by: Carole

Our friends who went to the Galapagos in November experienced choppy waters and a little research led us to go in April. The waters were calm and the snorkeling was grand (the trade-off was that air temps were higher than they would have been earlier in the year).

Our ship was the Eclipse (part of an Abercrombie and Kent tour) and it called on western and central islands over a period of seven nights. When snorkeling, the highlights were a school of 20+ golden rays, numerous inquisitive sea lions, and equatorial penguins zipping by.

You'll definitely want to use the wet suits to protect yourself from the equatorial sun.

We've been snorkeling for over 30 years and saw things we'd never seen before. As much as we enjoyed the snorkeling, the rest of what we saw was pretty incredible and the Ecuadorian park service guides that accompany each group of 12 travelers were terrific, very knowledgeable and fun, with excellent English skills.

We were in our early 60s when we went and we concluded that it's a trip best taken when you're younger rather than older, so if you're thinking of going, don't put it off.

As an aside, I have a relative who's led a couple of trips to the Galapagos for alumni of his university, and he recommended we read "The Beak of the Finch", by Jonathan Weiner, before we went. We were so glad we did. The book, which won the Pulitzer prize, is about a married couple, both biologists, who visited the same uninhabited Galapagos island every year for 20 years, with their ids and grad assistants. They banded and studied all of the finches on this island and were able to observe evolution in real time.

Mar 12, 2018
Consider a Dive Skin
by: Diana

I'll second Carole's comment that full-body protection is a good idea. If the water's warm enough, though, a dive skin or two-piece combo of a full-length rash guard combined with ankle-length swim pants works well and is easier to put on and take off than a wetsuit.

It all depends on how much warmth you personally need and how much added buoyancy in the water you'd like. But either way, cover up!

Mar 12, 2018
Thanks so much!
by: Carma

Thanks so much for the great information, you guys!

Especially thanks to Carole, for the sage advice. We're looking to celebrate our 25th anniversary - I'm 53 & spouse is 51 - I got the idea from a 20-something snorkel guide in Turks and Caicos Islands.

I hope to still be snorkeling & adventuring in my 80s, but also realize I may have to redefine my idea of adventuring as time moves on! We'll see...

Here's to adventure at any age!

Mar 12, 2018
Galapagos
by: GregK

My wife and I have made 2 trips to the Galapagos with 2 different sets of friends - both with Galapagos Travel. I highly recommend them because they use the smaller boats, have knowledgeable crews and excellent guides and naturalists, good grub and only about 16 passengers per boat. They can go to the landing spots that don't take 50 or 60 people at a time.

We spent one delightful afternoon with Tui De Roy's mom on her patio talking about finches while they (the finches) ate out of our hands.

Snorkeling is great there because, like on land, every stop is different. We went in March/April and used a 3 mil wetsuit to keep warm on the snorkels.

Just go (and stay in Casa Mojanda (Otavalo) for a half-week or more before and close out your trip staying at the Sanctuary Lodge (now Belmond Sanctuary) on the Machu Picchu grounds.

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