Snorkeling the Galapagos With Sea Lions – March 2024

By Kent

We just had an incredible trip snorkeling the Galapagos Islands. The islands are very tightly regulated so you need to travel with an approved cruise company. We used Hurtigruten and snorkeled four times, once from a beach and the rest from zodiacs (Sante Fe, Seymour, and Española Islands).

What We Saw While Snorkeling the Galapagos

Although it is not a coral area, the abundance and variety of fish was great. The water clarity varied by site, but overall was quite good, best from the zodiacs rather than the beach.

School of Yellowtail Surgeonfish Kent saw while snorkeling the Galapagos

We saw sea turtles, Golden and Eagle Rays, White-tip Reef Sharks, angelfish, triggerfish, Yellowtail Sergeant Major, pufferfish, and surgeonfish, plus schools of fish (more than I can identify).

King Angelfish in Galapagos

However, the highlight of snorkeling the Galapagos was seeing and swimming with sea lions, some of which actually played with us! Because they are so protected, the sea lions have no fear of humans. They raced toward us, turning away at the last second, swam right below us upside down and blew bubbles in our faces. One even patted my wife’s derriere as she passed by. It felt like we were in a reverse zoo/aquarium experience where we were the objects of interest by the inhabitants.

Simply amazing!

Three sea lions in Galapagos
Two sea lions with a snorkeler in Galapagos

Snorkeling Gear We Used

We were there in early March 2024 and the water temperature was about 80°F. Although the ship provided shorty wetsuits, we didn’t need them.

I packed my prescription mask and snorkel but used the ship’s provided fins which were fine. I also used my new Tuga Hooded Snorkeling Rash Guard (purchased through this site at 15% off!) which worked great – no sunburn!

Finally, after comparing photos with fellow snorkelers, I realize I need a new underwater camera. My Nikon CoolPix AW130 isn’t cutting it anymore but am still posting a few shots.

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