Cruises & Tours to the Galapagos IslandsEcuador Ministry of Tourism Official Agent

The Best Galapagos Liveaboards

The Best Galapagos Liveaboards

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The Best Galapagos Liveaboards

There’s no doubt that the Galapagos Islands are one of the most enchanting places for a diver to witness the rainbow of marine life that this unique, volcanically formed ecosystem supports. And the absolute best way to experience diving is by reserving your spot on one of the exclusive liveaboard diving cruise.

While all Galapagos cruises will give you opportunities to snorkel, there are actually very few boats that have a license from the National Park to do diving tours.

In fact, if you want to see the amazing wonders of the northern Galapagos dive sites and islands, like Wolf & Darwin, where sharks patrol the depths in astonishing numbers and manta rays glide ominously through the waters, then liveaboards are your only option.

Although the Galapagos Islands are a most-enticing opportunity for divers, the conditions at many of the dive sites include strong currents and washing machine-like waters. Most liveaboards recommend a minimum of 45 dives prior to departure to ensure your safety.

Currently, the only licensed diving yachts are:

We’ve put together a brief description of what you can expect with each of them to help you choose the ideal one for you. Be sure to check out some of the hottest dive sites in the Galapagos too!

Astrea

Ship type: Single hull motor vessel

Tour length: 8 days

Destinations:

  • Bartholomew Island (Pinnacle Rock & Cousins Rock)

  • Wolf & Darwin Islands (The Cave, optional)

  • Vicente Roca Point

  • Cape Marshall

  • Pinzon Island

  • Charles Darwin Research Station

  • Santa Cruz (Highlands)

Average Number of dives: 15

Requirements: Passengers must have a valid intermediate or advanced international diving license with at least 45 logged dives, a medical certificate, diving insurance (DAN), Nitrox certification

Price to rent complete equipment per week: $475/ person

Onboard accommodations:

  • 8 double cabins with closets & private bathrooms (hot water showers)

  • Air conditioning in cabins and common areas

  • Restaurant and bar with full menu of local and international cuisine

  • Ample space for storing and drying dive equipment

  • Lounge with TV & library

  • Sun deck

Galapagos Master

Ship type: Single hull motor vessel

Tour length: 7 night/ 10 night

Destinations:

  • Darwin Island & Wolf Island

  • Cape Douglas

  • Vicente Roca Point

  • Punta Albermarle

  • Puerto Coca

  • Manta City

  • Cape Marshall

  • Bartholomew Island

  • Cousins Rock

  • Isla Lobos

Requirements: It is strongly encouraged that guests have at least 50 dives of experience and at least some experience in similar open water conditions; if the instructors feel that you do not have adequate experience to safely dive at a certain site, they may recommend that you sit out.

Price to rent complete equipment per day: $22.50

Onboard accommodations:

  • 8 modern cabins

  • Indoor lounge with plasma TV

  • Dining area and cocktail bar

  • Indoor camera setup station with numerous charging points

  • Top-level sundeck

  • Dive center, storage, and rinse tanks

Galapagos Sky

Ship type: Single hull motor vessel

Tour length: 8 days/ 7 nights

Destinations:

  • Isla Lobos

  • Cape Douglas

  • Vicente Roca Point

  • Darwin & Wolf Island

  • Cousins Rock

  • Pinzon Island

Average number of dives: 19

Requirements: Open water diving certification.

Equipment rental onboard is not available.

Onboard accommodations:

  • 8 air conditioned cabins with private bathrooms and hot water

  • Sun deck

  • Dive deck

  • Lounge & Bar

  • Boutique & Common area

Humboldt Explorer

Ship type: Single hull motor cruiser

Tour length: 8 days/ 7 nights

Destinations:

  • Isla Lobos

  • Punta Carrion

  • North Seymour Island

  • Wolf & Darwin Islands

  • Cousins Rock

Average number of dives: 20

Requirements:  Open water SCUBA certification and recommended at least 100 dives prior to departure, with at least one dive within the 6 months before your trip.

Price to rent complete equipment per week is not included in the price. Use of tanks, weights, and belts are included.

Onboard accommodations:

  • 8 double air conditioned cabins with private bathrooms & hot running water

  • Air conditioned lounge

  • Sun deck & covered deck

  • Jacuzzi

  • Staging area

  • Camera table & rinse tank

  • Dining area

Nortada

Ship type:  Single hull motor vessel

Tour lengths: 8 day/ 7 night; *15 day/ 14 night

Destinations:

  • Puerto Ayora

  • Punta Carrion

  • Cousins Rock

  • Wolf & Darwin Islands

  • Cape Douglas

  • Vicente Roca Point

  • Cape Marshall

  • Manta Ray City

  • Roca Blanca*

  • Pinzon Island*

Average number of dives: 20/ week

Requirements: Because of the Galapagos conditions, you must come to the Islands with open water SCUBA certification and a recommended minimum of 45 dives.

Price to rent complete equipment per week: $275

Onboard accommodations:

  • 4 air conditioned guest cabins with private bathrooms

  • Diving platform with ample space

  • Rinsing tanks

  • Sun deck

  • Air conditioned dining room and lounge

Nautilus

Ship type: Pilot house motor sailor (ketch-rigged)

Tour length: 4, 5, 8 day packages available

Destinations:

  • Seymour Canal

  • Gordon Rocks

  • Daphne Minor

  • Cousins Rock

  • Mosquera South

  • Mosquera North

Average number of dives: 12

Requirements:  If you are not already SCUBA certified upon arrival, you will do one Discover Scuba Dive and an optional one Snorkeling session per day.

Equipment and gear is included in the price.

Onboard accommodations:

  • 4 double cabins

  • Dining area

  • Lounge with TV/ DVD & library

  • Minibar

  • Sun deck

  • Al fresco areas

  • Swimming ladder

Galapagos Diving Tips from Columbus Travel:
  • There are lava tunnels and lava formations like caves that are unique ecosystems for tropical fish.

  • Strong currents are present in most diving sites and require a minimum of 30 dives.

  • Galapagos is the breeding place for several types of whales; the humpback whale and the shark whale are very famous.

  • The northern Islands are considered among the best places in the world to see pelagic life, and liveaboards are the only way to see them.

  • Warm waters allow divers to stay longer time underwater, depending on their expertise.

  • While some liveaboards do offer alcohol or allow you to bring your own, it is a hard and fast rule for all of them that as soon as you take your first drink, you are done diving for the day, with no exceptions.

  • Make sure you know what equipment your operator will provide and what equipment you are expected to bring. It will definitely cost less to bring your own equipment than it will to buy it new in the Galapagos Islands.

Before heading out, here’s a great list of some things you should consider packing for a diving tour, from tiptopdiving.com.

Lonesome George

Lonesome George is unique on the islands as their itineraries usually include a mix of non-diving cruise and diving cruise activities where you will also be hiking, snorkeling and kayaking. It’s the ideal boat for groups that have both divers and non-diver members.

Ship type: 55-foot Catamaran

Tour length: 4, 5 or 8 days

Destinations:

  • Pinzon Island

  • Albany Islet, Santiago Island

  • Cousin’s Rock, Santiago Island

  • Leon Dormido - Kicker’s Rock

  • Santa Fe Island

  • Cormorant Point - Champion Rock

  • Carrion Point - Daphne Mayor

  • Mosquera Canal

Number of dives: 4 - 7

Onboard features:

  • For 16 Passengers: 4 double cabins, 2 triples, and 2 single bed cabins

  • Ample diving equipment storage

  • Eco-friendly solar panels

  • Indoor and outdoor dining areas

  • Built in 2014

Danubio Azul

Ship type: 71-foot Single hulled yacht

Tour length: days

Destinations:

  • Cousin’s Rock, Santiago Island

  • Carrion Point - Daphne Mayor

  • Mosquera Canal

  • Shark Point

  • El Derrumbe

  • Darwin & Wolf Islands

  • La Ventana

  • La Banana

  • Cape Marshall

  • Egas Port

  • North Seymour Island

Number of dives: 14

Onboard features:

  • For 10 Passengers: 4 double cabins, 2 triples, and 2 single bed cabins

  • Ample diving equipment storage

  • Eco-friendly solar panels

  • Indoor and outdoor dining areas

  • New in 2016

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