Galapagos without liveaboard : is it worth it ?

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pimouss

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Hello

we are thinking of going to dive for 2 weeks in february in Galapagos.

We are on budget, so it won't be possible to take a liveaboard to dive Wolf and Darwin island. And we are also interested in going on the other islands to watch the fauna

Does dives from other island worth it ? I mean, I know the better is on Wolf and Darwin, but is it possible to watch almost everything but in less quantity or there are seen only by chance ?

Is there island better than others ? dive sites ? dive center ?

Is there live a board around Wolf and Darwin for only 3-4 days ?

Thanks for your help
 

mattia_v

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We did a few decent day dives, saw some hammerheads (not a lot), plenty of reef sharks, turtles. But if you're on a budget do the regular budget cruise and and snorkel, it's still an amazing place. But we found the land based diving, while cool, does not come close to what I've read/seen about the Liveaboard diving.
 

Tbar

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Hi

The serious reason to go to Galapagos is to get to Wolf and Darwin. They are about 250/300Km from Baltra (the airport). see the attached image.

We did a week's Naturalist cruise and then a Week's diving. We found the naturalist cruise to be very controlled, the national parks specify the locations and the land excursions really only allow a short shore walk, no trekking to the centre of the island to see the tortoises! Some island we could not even go ashore. The snorkelling was great though. If I had gone just for the naturalist tour I would have been very disappointed but it was just an 'extra' as we were there to dive. We had some nice dives in the more central islands but the real action was Wolf and Darwin, and one of the reasons is the quantity, schools of fish that can block the sun out, schooling Hammerheads, Galapagos and Silky sharks and we saw Whale sharks.

We used a boat called Astrea. It is the least cost option and was fine. The dive guides are important and they work 'freelance' so our guide has just finished a job on one of the most expensive boats. If you do consider a liveaboard at some time check the itinerary, the boats do vary with some having more time at Wolf and Darwin and the less in some other areas. We had 3 days at Wolf and Darwin and then dived Vicente Roca to see the Mola Mola.
 

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northernone

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Shore snorkeling and breath hold diving was amazing for two weeks in Galapagos. Turtles, penguins, seals offering food to me, sharks, tunnels etc. Tons of little colorful fish.

The boat scuba diving wasn't spectacular as what I've seen in the live aboard trip reports.... Though the dozens of eagle rays and nearly a hundred of nurse sharks along with with a few dozen seals and a couple penguins all in an afternoon is hard to beat elsewhere in the world. Not to mention walls of fish.
 
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pimouss

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We did a few decent day dives, saw some hammerheads (not a lot), plenty of reef sharks, turtles. But if you're on a budget do the regular budget cruise and and snorkel, it's still an amazing place. But we found the land based diving, while cool, does not come close to what I've read/seen about the Liveaboard diving.
Hello,
thank you for your answer
just to understand, what do you mean by regular budget cruise ("if you're on a budget do the regular budget cruise and snorkel"), do you mean day dive or liveaboard ?
Thanks
 

mattia_v

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Hello,
thank you for your answer
just to understand, what do you mean by regular budget cruise ("if you're on a budget do the regular budget cruise and snorkel"), do you mean day dive or liveaboard ?
Thanks

I mean if you want to get the best out of diving the Galapagos, spend the money and do a diving liveaboard.

Otherwise, do a few day boat trips (Gordon's Rocks was an OK dive for us, but conditions weren't great, but mostly the day boat diving whet my appetite for what it could be like at Wolf and Darwin). And a naturalist cruise with snorkeling, because honestly, other than hammerheads, we saw more stuff snorkeling on the naturalist cruise than on most of the dives; giant (HUGE) green turtles, marine iguanas, lots of sea lions (including the hilariously playful pups), plenty of reef sharks (almost every single snorkel), reasonable amount of fish (but not crazy-lots).
 

OnTheSpot

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You can also do a Diving & Trekking Package option.
That can give you 2 or more day's diving as well as taking in quite a few of the sites of interest. It is no substitute for a liveaboard to Wolf and Darwin but it will give you a good flavor of the place.
 

rickthompson

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Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, and Isabela all have dive operations and you can do some fantastic diving. Biggest problem is site access is very restricted and only certain operators can go to certain places on specific days and its all at the whim of the park. Basically if you do a land based trip you'll probably want to be very flexible and expect to pay ~$150 per two-tank trip. There are also lots of excellent sites not open to diving but are incredible for snorkeling under the auspices of a "pesca vivencial" trip.

I'd highly recommend trying to hit up Tortuga (off Isabela) and Leon Dormido (San Cristobal). Gordon Rocks (Santa Cruz) is supposed to be good dive, but we had bad conditions when we were there. Orcas and whale sharks on a snorkeling trip to Punta Moreno (Isabela), and some of the best snorkeling I've ever done around floreana.

I'd recommend talking to Tito with Natural Selection tours. Very knowledgable about local galapagos diving and a great dive guide. All said, don't expect even a land based tour to be a budget vacation, but you really get a better sense of the islands and can have a wonderful positive impact on the local economy. Everything is very laid back you can just book your flights and show up planning one day ahead at a time.
 
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