Galapagos

Galapagos Islands’ Best Snorkeling Sites – Eastern and Central Islands

This is the first of a three-part series about the Galapagos Islands’ best snorkeling sites, to help you plan your dream vacation.

The Galapagos Islands are renowned for its unique land animals – but a whole world of amazing creatures awaits you below the waves. Snorkeling is one way even novices can explore Galapagos’ underwater world.

To help you plan your Galapagos cruise, here are the top places to go snorkeling in the Eastern and Central sectors of the Islands. Some can be visited on day cruises, and others only with multi-day cruises.

Isla Lobos (San Cristobal Island)

As its name indicates, the main attraction of this protected cove is the large sea lion colony. These creatures, especially the young, love to leap and dive around the humans who visit their corner of the Galapagos, which has clear and tranquil waters.

Accessibility: Multi-day Cruise, Day cruise

Tour Region: Eastern

Kicker Rock (San Cristobal Island)

You’ll get your kicks at Kicker Rock. Within this narrow channel, you can see a startling variety of marine life, from rays to white-tipped sharks, from sea turtles to sea lions. With a bit of luck, dolphins and sharks (hammerheads and the endemic Galapagos) may swim by.

Accessibility: Day cruise; Multi-day Cruise (check itinerary to see if snorkeling is included)

Tour Region: Eastern

Gardner Bay (Española Island)

The clear, blue waters of Gardner Bay on Española, the southernmost Galapagos Island, is home to sting rays and colorful parrotfish, as well as sea lions, sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks. From April to December, waved albatross are seen on the shores.

Accessibility: Multi-day cruise, Day cruise

Tour Region: Eastern / Southern

Chinese Hat Islet (Santa Cruz Island)

Here you’ll delight in the array of iconic Galapagos sea residents, including sea lions, green sea turtles, penguins and white-tipped sharks.

Accessibility: Multi-day cruise

Tour Region: Central

North Seymour Island

With little current around this island and low cliffs, this is a favorite snorkeling destination. White-tipped sharks are common, as are a rainbow of fish like parrotfish, hogfish, king angelfish and damselfish. Also on the agenda are rays and sea lions.

Accessibility: Multi-day cruise, Day cruise

Tour Region: Central

Devil’s Crown (Floreana Island)

Within this wave-worn, ancient volcanic cone beneath the waves lies a coral reef where you will observe sea urchins, moray eels and many species of fish, including the beautiful scorpionfish. Schools of spotted eagle and golden rays are also present, as are sea lions and green sea turtles. On the rim of the crater jutting above the water are blue- and red-footed boobies. This is one of the Galapagos Islands’ most treasured snorkeling spots. Accessible by panga (dinghy); current can be strong.

Accessibility: Multi-day cruise

Tour Region: Central / Southern

Pinnacle Rock (Bartholomew Island)

Bartolomé Island’s Pinnacle Rock is a common stop for cruises. On this stone obelisk’s beach sea turtles nest and sea lions rest. Beneath the waters is a jagged-rock labyrinth where colorful fish and white-tipped sharks live. This is also a great place to spot penguins.

Accessibility: Multi-day cruise, Day cruise

Tour Region: Central / Western

James Bay (Santiago Island)

This site delights on land and in the sea. On the shore lounge sea fur lions and sea lions. Offshore are penguins and vibrantly colored fish. Depending on the season, golden and spotted rays may also be present. Beginning snorkelers will enjoy this calm and shallow bay. Access is from the shore.

Accessibility: Multi-day cruise, Day cruise

Tour Region: Central / Western

Prince Phillip’s Steps (Genovesa Island)

On the southwestern side of Genovesa (Tower Island) is a submerged volcanic caldera in whose deeper waters reside hammerhead sharks and huge manta rays. On the eastern side of this island is Prince Phillip’s Steps, with more great snorkeling featuring large tropical fish like angelfish, parrotfish and unicorn fish.

Accessibility: Multi-day cruise

Tour Region: Central / Western

 

The next part of this series will explore the best snorkeling sites in the western part of the Galapagos Islands archipelago.

 

Galapagos Travel Planner - FREE Download

 

Photo credit: pantxorama

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply