Galapagos Sky – Diving 8D/7N
San Cristobal Island: Airport // Lobos Island (Check out dive)
AM: When you arrive at the airport at San Cristobal on Sunday, the crew of the Galapagos Sky will personally meet you, collect your luggage, and escort you to the Galapagos Sky. Your luggage will be delivered to the dive deck for you. After everyone is on board, you will be introduced to the boat and the mandatory safety briefings and drill.
PM: In the afternoon, we cruise to the area of Lobos Island for your check-out dive. This will be your first underwater introduction to Galapagos sea lions and fur seals! Watch them zoom in and out and dance playfully for you! Even on the first day of your live-aboard cruise – you begin to see the myriad and diverse land formations which comprise the Galapagos Islands topside. It is then you realize you will see nothing like it in your lifetime.
Bartolome: Land excursion // Cousins Islands (2 dives)
AM: Bartolome is a lovely area where guests enjoy a favorite land tour where they can climb to the top of the hill to where breathe taking views abound. Conditions permitting, snorkeling with penguins will be allowed.
PM: This dive off Cousins Rocks is an itinerary favorite. It is done along a beautiful wall and allows for great viewing opportunities for corals, frog fish, sea horses, scorpion fish and octopus. It is also a great dive for large schools of Barracuda and also Hammerhead shark sightings. Sea lions will be your companions upon entry and on the safety stops.
Wolf Island (4 dives a day plus a night dive)
AM: Wolf Island is one of those magical islands, with several dive sites to choose from. If you want to see sharks, you are at the right spot. This is a place for schooling hammerhead sharks, large aggregations of Galapagos sharks, and occasionally whale sharks. Seeing dolphins, large schools of tuna, spotted eagle rays, barracudas, sea lions and sea turtles is common. The bottom is littered with hundreds of moray eels, many of them free swimming. Being several degrees warmer than the central islands, you can look for many representatives of the Indo-Pacific underwater fauna.
PM: On a night dive here, you will also enjoy spotting and watching the Red-lipped batfish walk along the bottom of the sea!
Darwin Island (4 Dives)
AM/PM: Considered by many experienced divers as the very best dive site in the world, the Arch at Darwin Island (actually several dive sites depending on where you enter, currents, etc.) lives up to its reputation. Warmer by a few degrees than the central islands, in one single dive you can find schooling hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, large pods of dolphins, thick schools of skipjack and yellow fin tuna, big eye jacks, mobula rays, and silky sharks. From June to November, it is not uncommon to encounter whale sharks in multiple numbers on one single dive. The presence of occasional tiger sharks, black and blue marlin, and killer whales add to this amazing diving experience. If you still have time to look for smaller stuff, you’ll find octopus, flounders, and an enormous variety and abundance of tropical fish. Darwin Island is the biggest jewel on the Galapagos Crown.
Darwin Island // Wolf Island
This tour will take you to the legendary Darwin and Wolf islands, where three days will be spent diving (going on up to four dives per day, plus one at night dive) in what are unquestionably two of the best diving sites on the planet. The range of amazing underwater species in the areas around these islands will likely leave you speechless. From mid-May through November, there is a great chance that you will encounter Whale sharks here, while at “Darwin’s Arch” you will encounter the occasional lone Hammerhead shark or even entire schools blotting out the light above. Then too, the reef is home to many warm water varieties of fish found nowhere else in the islands, and contacts with Bottlenose dolphins are common. While there are no shore excursions on this part of the cruise – the vertical cliffs of these two islands prevent these – the diving in the Darwin/Wolf islands area more than a good tradeoff.
Fernandina Island: Cape Douglas (1 dive) // Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca (up to 2 dives, and a Panga ride if time allows)
AM: At Cape Douglas, on the western side of Fernandina Island, we will do one (1) dive Friday morning. Here you can expect to see Galapagos Penguins, Marine Iguanas, Flightless Cormorants, Sea Lions, Seahorse, Sea Turtles, Horn Sharks, Red Lipped Batfish, and occasional hammerhead sharks and white tip sharks. Also keep an eye out for chevron barracuda, snappers, yellow fin tuna, rainbow runners, and wahoo. There are also a lot of smaller fishes like creole fishes, parrot fishes, scrawled filefishes, pacific box fishes, and tiger snake eels.
PM This afternoon, we will visit Punta Vicente Roca for up to two (2) dives. The coldest yet rapidly increasing favorite dive – steep, deep vertical wall covered in soft coral, sponges, and endemic black coral. Regular sightings of mola mola (oceanic sun fish,) sea horses, bullhead sharks, red lipped bat fish, various shrimp and many other marine invertebrates. Keep your eyes open for fly-bys of flightless cormorants, penguins and maybe even a marine iguana. The after-dive panga ride offers great topside photo ops for penguins, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, sea lions, blue footed & Nazca booby Birds, magnificent frigates and noddy terns. The diving here is chilly (particularly below the thermocline – but not to be missed!).
Pinzon Islet (1 dive) // Santa Crus Island: Puerto Ayora – Highlands land excursion
AM: While diving Pinzon Islet, you will be provided opportunities for encounters with a variety of species of sharks, sea lions, mantas, eagle rays, and moray eels, as well as many species of yellow tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, Moorish idols, steel pompanos, snappers, grunts, creole fish and barracuda.
PM: This dive is then followed by a transit to Itabaca Channel where guests will be transferred by bus (at approx. 14:00 p.m. and approx. a 45 minute ground transfer) to visit the Highlands of Santa Cruz to see the Galapagos Tortoises in their natural environment; and visit to Puerto Ayora. Guests will then be transferred back to Itabaca Channel to board the Galapagos Sky.
San Cristobal Island: Interpretation Center – Town Walk – Airport
AM: Arrival on San Cristobal Island for a land excursion to the Interpretation Center (where an interesting human history of Galapagos is presented) and a town walk (last chance for shopping). Late morning departure from the San Cristobal airport back to the Ecuadorian mainland.
Aggressor III – Diving 8D/7N
Baltra Airport, Afternoon Greeting by Staff, Bus Transfer to the Itabaca Channel Canal and Boarding. Welcome, and Orientation Dive at Punta Carrion at Itabaca Channel.
2 Morning dives; Punta Carrion (Santa Cruz Island) or Bartolome Punta. 1-afternoon hike to Bartolome Summit and panga ride at Pinnacle Rock.
January to May: 4 Dives at Wolf; 2 mornings, 2-afternoon dives.
June to December: 2-morning dives, 1 afternoon and 1-night dive.
January to May: 2-morning dives at Darwin and 2-afternoon dives at Wolf.
June to December: 2-morning dives and 2-afternoon dives at Darwin.
January to May: 4 dives at Cabo Marshall; 2-morning dives, 1 afternoon and 1-night dive.
June to December: 2-morning dives at Darwin; and 2-afternoon dives at Wolf.
Tuesday: 2-morning dives at Cabo Douglas and 2-afternoon dives at Punta Vicente Roca.
1-morning dive at Cousins Rock. Wednesday afternoon arrives at Itabaca Channel or Puerto Ayora. After lunch guests will disembark at 1 pm to go ashore for a private bus tour to see the beautiful Highlands of Santa Cruz Island. This will include a scenic view over Santa Cruz and a Tortoise Reserve to see giant tortoises.
After the hike, guests can walk through town, shop and visit the tortoise-breeding center Fausto Llerena at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Guests will have dinner ashore at a local restaurant of their choice (only meal not included in the cruise). The Galapagos Aggressor III will depart at 10 pm from Puerto Ayora town to Baltra.
Guests will have a full breakfast then check out and depart to the Baltra Airport.
The itinerary is subject to change without notice.
Astrea Pinguino Explorer – Diving 8D/7N
TUESDAY – BALTRA ISLAND – CHECK DIVE
AM – BALTRA Arrival at Baltra airport. Our guide will welcome you, gather the group and take you to ASTREA to check in.
PM After a fine lunch served, divers will gather at the diving platform where they will be informed some aspects to be considered for your first dive and the respective equipment asthe yacht is sailing to Northeast Baltra Island for your first dive or Weight check. Once this activity is completed, the yacht will continue its itinerary, dinner will be served during navigation.
AM – Bartolome This is the perfects potto start your adventure with moderate currents. At the depth of around 20 mtrs (60ft) we might see white tip reef sharks, green marine turtles, different types of rays, tropical fish and the red lip batfish, which are endemic to the Islands. Occasionally even the first hammerhead sharks can be spotted swimming nearby. After this first dive our chef awaits with an amazing breakfast.
PM – Cousins Rock Today’s second dive will be approximately 15 minutes north of Bartolome by an islet. It is a perfect spot with moderate to stronger currents with excellent possibilities to spot sea horses, bloody frogfish, and schools of eagle rays, sea lions seals and sometimes giant manta rays. The topography forms a nicely populated slope full of volcanically formed holes that are the perfect refuge for moray eels, octopus and lobster. We will be surrounded by black coral and many different types of sponges. A warm shower and little snacks wait for guests on board before lunch. After a well-deserved nap the third dive of the day will be at this same spot.
THURSDAY: WOLF ISLAND (4 DIVES)
El Derrumbe (Landslide). The topography is forming a slope where we descend up to 25m (75ft). Large schools of hammerhead sharks are welcoming the divers to the first highlight of the trip. We also find Galapagos sharks and other open water species such as green and carey turtles. With some luck even the large whale shark will make its first appearance, as well as the giant manta ray, and eagle rays. Amongst the rocks we can spot morays, scorpion fish and many others… Shark Bay: The conditions and topography are the same than El Derrumbe La Cueva (The Cave). To dive this spot a flashlight is highly recommended. We will encounter an underwater tunnel to dive through with various caves to explore. Amongst the rocks we find moray eels, lobster, Nudibranchs and more. Turtles are found all over with a large quantity of fish. At the entrance and exit of The Cave we might find Galapagos and Black Tip Sharks.
FRIDAY: DARWIN ISLAND (4 DIVES)
Arco de Darwin (Darwins Arch). To visit this unique spot is every divers dream. Here you see everything the marine life of Galapagos has to offer. Above the ocean uncountable groups of Blue and Red Footed Boobies along with many tropical birds welcome the visitors. Playful dolphins and occasionally whales around ASTREA are part of the excitement. Underwater we will observe a large quantity of species, immense amounts of fish, large schools of hammerhead sharks, turtles, large fish such as yellow tail tuna and albacore. Of course, the most important visitor of this remote spot and one of the main reasons to visit Darwin is the impressive Whale Shark, which is usually present from July to November.
SATURDAY: WOLF ISLAND (3 DIVES)
Back at Wolf we will have two dives at El Derrumbe and La Cueva. A new day brings a new adventure! While in the company of turtles and plenty of hammerheads divers can search for some more whale sharks.
SUNDAY: ISABELA ISLAND – PUNTA VICENTE ROCA (3 DIVES)
Punta Vicente Roca. At the sandy bottom by the corals we will look for large sea horses which live as couples scattered over the dive spot. We also find the catfish, red lip bat fish and the highlight of the day the Sunfish. This area is home of many marine turtles. All of the above stay in the area the whole year. After the dive, we will do a panga ride to the shoreline to observe the penguins, flightless cormorants and marine iguanas.
MONDAY: PINZON ISLAND (2 DIVES)
CHARLES DARWIN STATION Punta Vicente Roca. At the sandy bottom by the corals we will look for large sea horses which live as couples scattered over the dive spot. We also find the catfish, red lip bat fish and the highlight of the day the Sunfish. This area is home of many marine turtles. All of the above stay in the area the whole year. After the dive, we will do a panga ride to the shoreline to observe the penguins, flightless cormorants and marine iguanas.
TUESDAY: SANTA CRUZ HIGHLANDS – BALTRA AIRPORT
Before flying back to the mainland or continuing your adventure at Hotel Silberstein we visit the Highlands with the tortoises.
Tiburon Explorer – Diving 8D/7N
Guests fly to the Galapagos Islands from Mainland Ecuador, arriving in the late morning. The dive guides will meet the guests at the airport and escort them to the Galapagos liveaboard.
Guests will board the vessel, have lunch and listen to the briefings. After the briefings, the guests will do a checkout dive at Punta Carrion. After dinner, the vessel will depart to the next scheduled destination.
- Balta North (2 Dives): 6.30 am and 9.30 am dives – Sightings include rays and schools of fish.
- Afternoon North Seymour land visit. Walk the path around North Seymour Island to see the large colonies of Blue Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds. Sighting of Sea Lions and Marine Iguanas is also common.
- Depart for Wolf Island (long transit)
Monday: Wolf Island (4 dives)
- 6.30 am, 10.30 am, 2 pm, and 4.30 pm dives. Possible night dive.
- Sightings often include hammerheads, the whale shark (in season), eagle rays, sea lions, Galapagos sharks, and silky sharks
Tuesday: Darwin Island (4 dives)
- 6.30 am, 10.30 am, 2 pm, and 4.30 pm dives
- Sightings often include hammerheads, whale sharks (in season) eagle rays, Galapagos sharks, and silky sharks.
- Transit to Wolf Island
Wednesday: Wolf Island (3-4 dives)
- 6.30 am, 10.30 am, 2 pm, and 4.30 pm dives
- Sightings often include hammerheads, whale sharks (in season), eagle rays, Galapagos sharks, and silky sharks.
- Transit to Cabo Douglas (12 hours)
Thursday: Cabo Douglas (2 dives)
- Sightings include marine iguanas.
- Transit to Punta Vicente Roca
Punta Vicente Roca (1-2 Dives)
- Sightings often include Mola mola, turtles, and macro life
- Transit to Cousins Rock (10 hours)
Friday: Cousins Rock (2 dives)
- 6.30 am and 9.30 am dives
- This is great macro diving with an excellent chance of seeing seahorses, sea lions, and eagle rays.
- Lunch will be served while transiting to Santa Cruz (3 hours).
- Travel by bus to the Santa Cruz Highlands to visit the giant tortoises in their natural habitat.
- Transfer to the town of Puerto Ayora. The last dinner before disembarkation day is not included (taken at a local restaurant in Puerto Ayora).
- Return to the boat at 8.30 pm.
Saturday: Baltra – Depart the vessel by 9 am. Transfer to the airport.
Aqua – Diving 8D/7N
AM – Baltra Airport
Upon arrival at Seymour Ecological Airport, a check-up is carried out first, to ensure that no foreign plant or animal species are introduced on the islands. Then, your TCC (Transit Control Card) will be stamped; this must be kept safe during your trip, as it has to be presented again on your return flight. Lastly, entrance to the Galapagos National Park is due for entry (USD 100), if this has not yet been paid.
Your guide will meet you at the airport, assist you with the luggage, and accompany you on the short bus ride. Here, you will climb aboard the yacht Aqua, where the crew and the captain will greet all passengers. Your cabin will be assigned and you can check any rented diving gear. After this, the guide will begin the briefing about safety and activity details, as well as the afternoon’s dive. Finally, you will enjoy your first lunch on board.
PM – Baltra North East (Check-out dive)
This is the perfect spot to start your adventure with moderate currents. This dive site is for adventurous divers looking to see fascinating lava and rock formations, as well as an incredible number of marine species. At the depth of around 20 m/60 ft, we might see white-tip reef sharks, pelagic sharks, reef sharks, rays, and turtles. Additionally, sea lions will be your companions upon entry and on the safety stops. Occasionally, hammerhead sharks can be spotted swimming nearby.
AM – Cape Marshall (Isabela) (2 dives)
Cape Marshall is located on the northeastern coast of Isabela island, just a bit south of the equatorial line and the base of Wolf volcano. This area offers drift diving and also an almost vertical wall of volcanic rock that falls all the way to the bottom of the sea. This is a great location for spotting hammerhead, white-tipped, and Galapagos sharks. Occasionally, whale sharks can also be seen. There are huge schools of black-striped salema and large schools of barracudas. You can also see black coral growing along the volcanic wall.
PM – City of de Mantas (Isabela) (1 dive)
The main attraction of Cape Marshall is a spot where it is so frequent to see giant mantas that it was named “Ciudad de las Mantas” (the City of the Mantas, in Spanish). They come to feed on the plankton-rich waters, which is why visibility can be low. After returning aboard the Aqua, the navigation to Darwin will begin, since the distance to be covered is quite considerable.
Darwin (6 dives) & Wolf (5 dives)
Due to a large number of dive sites available in Darwin and Wolf as well as the marked influence that marine conditions can have on the area, the dive sites will be chosen with these factors in mind. The guide will talk with all passengers in advance to inform them about the location, expected conditions, and alternatives of each site, and learn about their interests. On Friday, the fourth day of the expedition, conditions may be suitable for night diving in one of the two available locations.
The regular options include the following:
El Darwin’s Arch (Darwin): Though being one of the eye-catching landmarks of the Galapagos Islands, only a few can truly admire the sculpture of Darwin’s Arch themselves. The monumental portal is not even the real highlight, of which treasure is hidden beneath the breakers that splash against the shallow reef platform. Long-cherished dreams often come true at this world-class underwater theatre. It is an outstanding hotspot for schools of scalloped hammerhead and, particularly, whale sharks.
Darwin’s Theatre (Darwin): Two forked ridges point from the reef foundation of Darwin’s Arch to the Northeast and to the Southeast. Beneath the splashing waves, curved shelves bend around the northern branch, which is illustratively called “Darwin’s Theatre”. It features a genuine grandstand with panoramic hangouts at about 18 m/60 ft, right above the edge of the deep drop-off wall. The exposed, barnacle-covered rocks are the perfect seats to enjoy the upcoming aquatic show, but as soon as one of the expected celebrities makes its grand entrance, every diver hurries into the blue to keep up for a while.
El Arenal (Darwin): Sharks, turtles, and jacks visit cleaning stations all around Darwin’s Arch, to be freed from parasites. They maintain an incredible symbiotic relationship with the resident barber fishes and king angelfishes. The busiest area is usually the sandy slope right in front of the portal, known as “El Arenal”. If the surge is not too strong, it is possible to be dropped off in these shallows, amidst dancing clouds of creole fish, to come face-to-face with individual and small groups of scalloped hammerhead sharks, as well as resting Pacific green turtles and rare hawksbill turtles in between hundreds of garden eels stretching up and plenty of colorful starfish.
Shark Bay (Wolf): Shark Bay, located on the exposed east coast of Wolf, is shallower than most sites around, yet for many the most memorable. Besides being another spot where sharks galore, local cleaning stations reveal fascinating symbiotic relationships. Critically endangered hawksbill and Pacific green turtles visit busy king angelfishes. Cleaner fishes also groom spotted eagle rays and even hammerhead sharks. In these shallows, individual male hammerheads tend to approach motionless divers closer than schooling females in open water do. Their reluctant character is quite opposite to the curious Galapagos sea lions, that immediately look for company and love to interact!
The Landslide(Wolf): The Landslide is the premium dive spot of Wolf Islet. Looming silhouettes of dozens, seasonally even hundreds of hammerhead sharks circle around or head against the currents, preferably when these currents are strong. Ending up the blue-water safety stop right into their middle might even give you an extra rush of adrenaline!
The Pinnacle and The Caves (Wolf): This area has some of the best caves in the Galapagos and an exciting experience at The Pinnacle, and it’s located on the northern tip of the main island. It has four good underwater caves that penetrate into the wall of the islet and are easily accessible, although the current can get a bit strong from time to time, from south to north. All the entrances to the caves are at depths of 15-21m/50-70 ft and there is a sandy ledge that runs along the wall below the entrances. Hawksbill and green turtles usually gather in this area, hanging around the opening or swimming in and out. The fourth cave has the largest opening, with an entrance at 18m/60 ft, and can also be interesting to explore if you have the time. In general, the large variety of life around and in the caves includes schools of soldierfish, guineafowl puffers, moray eels, whitetip reef sharks, marble rays, cardinalfish, and lobsters hiding in holes and cracks.
The Secret Cave – Night dive (Wolf): The Secret Cave has its origins in gas chambers that date back to the formation of the island that eroded and collapsed with the passing of time. It is a great alternative on the northern side of Wolf if the conditions allow you to dive here. Along the wall, sometimes with hammerheads, we find the entrance into a cave that may reveal several nocturnal species, such as cardinal fishes, spiny lobsters, shrimps, colorful sea urchins, hunting moray eels, as well as Pacific green turtles and sea lions.
Anchorage – Night dive (Wolf): The Anchorage of Wolf is the only dive site located at its sheltered west coast. The cove and surrounding cliffs reveal outlines of the former main crater of this extinct volcanic islet. Leeward, water temperature is higher and the turbulent currents and treacherous swell of the surroundings are hardly felt anymore. Nevertheless, some sharks and reef fish may be spotted during the surface intervals back aboard, as well as blue-footed boobies.
AM – Vicente Roca Point (1 dive)
Right at the mouth of the seahorse that Isabela Island looks like is Vicente Roca Point. The roaring echoes of the waves will accompany you as you enter a dark cave under a spectacular arch. Just around the corner, the collapsed amphitheater of Ecuador volcano offers another impressive sight. The calmer waters of the caves are well protected from the ocean swell and are a great place to dive amongst various species of sharks, penguins, pufferfish, and even seahorses. Encounters with sunfish are also very common, and it is convenient to keep in mind that the water in this area is usually a bit cold.
PM – Cape Douglas (Fernandina) (1 dive)
Cape Douglas is sure to provide you with incredible opportunities to observe an abundance of marine life, above and below the water. As you prepare for the dive, you can see Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, and Galapagos marine iguanas, animals that are only found exclusively on these islands. We will also go looking for incredible marine iguanas swimming and feeding on the rocks below the surface. Some of the marine life forms you can see are the red-lipped batfish, horned shark, sunfish, and possibly whales.
AM – Cousin’s Rock (Santiago) (2 dives)
The lone, symmetrical pyramid of Cousin’s Rock sticks just above the coastal waters of Santiago, approximately 5 km/3 mi north of Bartolomé Islet. This bare volcanic rock serves as a roosting place for blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, Galapagos fur seals, sea lions, and seasonally Galapagos penguins, which might be spotted during a dinghy ride around.
PM – Highlands (Santa Cruz)
The native scalesia forest of El Chato Tortoise Reserve is the best place to search for Galapagos giant tortoises in their most authentic setting! Despite the interesting breeding centers – where you are guaranteed to find tortoises in their corrals – there is nothing better than to observe them in their wild environment. Though it can be quite moist and muddy, your visit may turn into an adventurous quest when they have silently left their favorite pond.
Unlike the adjacent agricultural zone, El Chato Giant Tortoise Reserve is a protected area and an official part of the Galapagos National Park. It extends from Cerro El Chato as far down as the southwestern coast of Santa Cruz Island, where females follow Darwin’s “tortoise highways” to lay their eggs. It is estimated that in 2015 about 32,000 tortoises lived in the wild in all the islands, most of them on restricted locations on Isabela Island.
Besides tortoises in El Chato Giant Tortoise Reserve, there is also a native scalesia forest to be appreciated, overgrown with lichens, ferns, and other epiphytes. This protected area also provides excellent chances to spot numerous endemic songbirds between the dense foliage, relishing the delicacy of introduced blackberries, including Darwin’s finches, colorful vermilion flycatchers, and yellow warblers. In the tortoise pond are also aquatic birds, including the paint-billed crake. If lucky, you might spot the elusive Galapagos rail in the high grass or short-eared owls at the entrance of the lava tubes.