Galapagos, Cocos, Socorro - Anyone been to all three?

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qwimjim

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Hi everyone, I've read a lot of trip reports from these places, and there's the odd comparison between the two of the three from people who've been to two. But I don't think I've ever seen anyone compare all three, has anyone been to all three? And if so how do they compare?

I imagine for someone who thinks they'll only get to do one of these types of liveaboards as a once in a lifetime trip, Galapogos would be the one to do?

I've read that Galapagos and Socorro has more variety than Cocos (which is pretty much all about sharks), and that Socorro is just as good or almost just as good as Galapagos for half the price. But that if all you care about is seeing as many sharks as possible, Cocos wins because you spend 9 days in the same spot diving with sharks everyday, whereas Galapogos you'll only spend 2 or 3 days at Wolf and Darwin.

Is that accurate? Any advice would be great!
 

davehicks

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I have been to all three. There is a LOT more variety in Galapagos that you will find at the other two, things you can only see in Galapagos. You can see sharks in all three. Galapagos sharks, Hammerheads, Silvertips, maybe Whale Sharks, etc. You will see a TON on Mantas in Socorro which will put many folks in heaven. Coco's is a bit more of wild ride than the other two, but Galapagos has it's challenges as well.

If you have never been to any of them yet, I'd start with Socorro. It's cheaper and easier to get to than the others and totally incredible. If you also love wildlife above water, then you'll get more out of Galapagos. You won't see much above water in either of the others, with the exception of Humpbacks. Then hit the other two next, they are all great.
 

Doc

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You might be unknowingly making a false assumption from the get go.

After many trips, I now dive Galapagos land based. Most "Americans" go liveaboard, but in reality, far and away, most visiting divers do it land based. I've seen enough Hammerheads without again enduring that 3 day slog back and forth to Darwin.

That said, the Galapagos is much more than diving. It is the history, the culture, the entire land based available experience. Can't get that bobbing around on a ship, the only thing that Cocos and Socorro offers.

Normally, I will travel great distances and skip things like the Pyramids (or go to Hawaii or NZ just to only ski), eschewing any tourism or lost dives due to drinking. The Galapagos is way beyond the experience afforded to "must do LOB" divers- locked on a ship with only a few hours on terra-firma. It is a real exception, but understood only by a very few.
 
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qwimjim

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(Yes, done all three)

You might be unknowingly making a false assumption from the get go.

After many trips, I now dive Galapagos land based. Most "Americans" go liveaboard, but in reality, far and away, most visiting divers do it land based. I've seen enough Hammerheads without again enduring that 3 day slog back and forth to Darwin.

That said, the Galapagos is much more than diving. It is the history, the culture, the entire land based available experience. Can't get that bobbing around on a ship, the only thing that Cocos and Socorro offers.

Normally, I will travel great distances and skip things like the Pyramids (or go to Hawaii or NZ just to only ski), eschewing any tourism or lost dives due to drinking. The Galapagos is way beyond the experience afforded to "must do LOB" divers- locked on a ship with only a few hours on terra-firma. It is a real exception, but understood only by a very few.

Interesting, but would you be able to compare the diving, that's all I care about :)
 

Doc

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Interesting, but would you be able to compare the diving, that's all I care about :)

I get it, Pyramids do not interest me (unless I had a camera and a Danish GF).

Galapagos then.

Good thing you didn't add any number of SoPac LOBs or Islands to the list. It would have pushed your three specific choices way down on the list, at least my list.

But...

What is the specific attraction that lured you to confining the choice to that short list of three?
 
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qwimjim

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I get it, Pyramids do not interest me (unless I had a camera and a Danish GF).

Galapagos then.

Good thing you didn't add any number of SoPac LOBs or Islands to the list. It would have pushed your three specific choices way down on the list, at least my list.

But...

What is the specific attraction that lured you to confining the choice to that short list of three?

Seeing lots of large marine life in the largest possible numbers. Not looking for soft coral, or nudibranchs, or wrecks, or topside attractions, etc.. I'm looking for a national geographic experience :)
 

Scuba Lawyer

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Seeing lots of large marine life in the largest possible numbers. Not looking for soft coral, or nudibranchs, or wrecks, or topside attractions, etc.. I'm looking for a national geographic experience :)

Been to all three (Galapagos in 1993 and 2006; Cocos in 1994; and Socorro 6 times from 1988 to 2001).

Socorro is cheap and a friend owed the boat so there you have it. The Manta's at San Benedicto Island near Socorro are awesome and not to be missed. Cocos is fantastic for sharks and pelagics. In my opinion Galapagos (especially Wolf and Darwin Islands up north) are worth every penny and more. Yes, same Hammerheads and Galapagos Sharks as at Cocos but at Darwin they come right up to you and you have to push them out of the way - at least in my experience. That is a true NatGeo moment. Plus I have seen the largest Whale Sharks in my life at Darwin's Arch. Where else but Galapagos can you dive with penguins at the equator and Marine Iguanas on the same dive? The land excursions at Galapagos are amazing as well. I will be back. My 2psi. Mark
 

Augustus

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you might want to add Malpelo into the mix. Never been to the Galapagos but various trips to Socorro Cocos and Malpelo. Malpelo had pelagic action that blew Cocos away. Socorro though is your best bang for the buck out there though lots of boats now diving limited number of dive sites.
 

drrich2

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Interesting thread. I didn't notice anyone making an issue of the Galapagos being cold water diving vs. the other two destinations; recently read a trip report that made it sound like if you're not in a dry suit, you'll be layering on the neoprene. Is this an issue worth considering?

After many trips, I now dive Galapagos land based. Most "Americans" go liveaboard, but in reality, far and away, most visiting divers do it land based. I've seen enough Hammerheads without again enduring that 3 day slog back and forth to Darwin.

The Galapagos is way beyond the experience afforded to "must do LOB" divers- locked on a ship with only a few hours on terra-firma.

From other discussions way back, I'd been under the impression Wolf and Darwin were the best of the Galapagos diving sites, and generally reached by live-aboard. Is that true? Do day boats get there, too? If someone were headed to the Galapagos for one trip only, without the option (in time and/or money) to spend a few extra days on land, how appealing would the live-aboard route be vs. land-based?

Richard.
 

Scuba Lawyer

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My first trip to Galapagos was a 14 day liveaboard with a week at Darwin/Wolf. My second trip was a 10 day liveaboard and we all voted to spend 5 days at Darwin/Wolf. These northern islands are not a day trip by any means. Water temp in the south was in the mid-60s (F) and 82 in the north. I was more than warm in a 5mm farmer john/jacket combo down south. Used a thin surf suit up north. You cross the equator during the trip. I personally would only do a liveaboard there but others' opinions may differ. Mark
 
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