Snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands

Professional and amateur snorkelers rejoice! The Galapagos Islands offer one of the most peculiar, quirky, and fascinating places for snorkeling in the world. Because the islands were formed by natural hotspots that shot through the earth’s crust, they are scene to spectacular underwater landscapes and home to an endless variety of interesting creatures. We’re sure that whether it’s your first time diving in the search of the depth’s mysteries or a well-seasoned diver, the mystical waters of the Galapagos Islands will delight and astound you. So – what can you expect to see when floating about some of the islands’ most well-known diving hotspots? We’ve compiled some information about the most interesting creatures you may encounter during your journey; time to charge your GoPro and take it for a dive!

Sea Lions

No matter how you choose to travel in the Galapagos Islands, sea lions are certain to accompany you no matter where you go. The Galapagos are home to a thriving community of sea lions (and a few albino sea lions too!), many of which sit comfortably on the many beaches bordering local towns. Older sea lions are very territorial – so don’t get too close! If one of these quirky creatures happens to be blocking your way (you might be surprised at how often they end up resting on benches or sidewalks!). When it comes to snorkeling, you might encounter baby sea lions playing under the surface. Feel free to play with them if they approach you, but make sure not to touch them too much – or their jealous mother might come after you!

Whales

Snorkeling with whales isn’t something that you should necessarily be counting on during your visit to the Galapagos. However, if you’re lucky and happen to be in the right place at the right time, you might just be able to! Whales are most commonly found on Ecuadorian waters during mating season, which spans from July to November, so if you’re a whale-fan make sure to plan your trip accordingly! Curious about what you might see if you’re lucky enough? Check out the video below and discover the wonders of snorkeling with whales:

Turtles

If there’s one animal that adequately represents the Galapagos Islands, it’s the turtle (or, rather, turtles). There’s many kinds of giant turtles in the Galapagos, and they vary in shape and size from island to island. However, the oceans surrounding the area are also full of sea turtles, many of which inhabit the coral-filled shores. On a good day, you should be able to encounter several of these wonderful animals when snorkeling. Because they’re not very fast swimmers, it should be fairly easy for you to just watch them glide around and even dive down to get a closer look.

Sharks

Much like whales, finding sharks isn’t necessarily easy when snorkeling around the Galapagos Islands. However, if you go actively looking for them (something you might be able to convince your tour operator to do), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find at least one. Reef sharks such as the ones that inhabit the area of the Galapagos Islands live mostly on the seafloor, so you should keep to shallower areas to ensure that you can see them. Don’t be too scared! These sharks aren’t particularly violent and usually have very little interest in getting to know human beings! Just keep your distance and look on!

Fish Fish Fish

Of course, the main purpose of snorkeling is to wonder at the many-colored fish that swim about. The Galapagos are an ideal place to explore reefs chock-full of fish; you’ll encounter large parrotfish, hawkfish, puffer fish (don’t get too close or they might get scared and blow up!), angelfish and so many more! You’ll also be able to explore the incredible coral reefs that dot the underwater landscape. Oh – and don’t forget to spit in your mask! (it won’t get foggy as quick).

Food journalist and serial Galapagos travel