In the northern islands, water is slightly warmer and visibility is better, making this the most favorable area for diving in the Galapagos. Darwin’s Arch, which some consider the best dive site in the world, is a great place to find schools of Hammerheads and Whale Sharks and it’s not uncommon to see several species of sharks in one dive, along with Dolphins, Rays, huge schools of Tuna and more. You might even spot a Tiger Shark, Marlins, and even Killer Whales! If you take a moment to observe the bottom you will notice Moray Eels, Octopuses and more. This is by far the highlight of diving in the Galapagos.
This is the closest Island to Darwin and part of the Northern Islands. This magical island is home to Whale Sharks who arrive at the same time every year and stay around for a whole season, as well as Galapagos Sharks and Hammerheads which are more abundant here than anywhere else in the Galapagos. You can also spot here large schools of Rays, many turtles and Sea Lions. Moray Eels swim freely out of the reef. One of the dive sites around the island is called Shark Spot and lives up to its name. The dives in the Northern Islands are harder due to strong currents but undoubtedly worth it.
A fairly easy drift dive closer to the main island – San Cristobal. Here you can see giant schools of fish in various shapes and different species, with turtles and rays swimming among them. Visibility is good, 10-15m (33-50 ft).
This is a wall dive from Isabela Island, with a depth of up to 40m (130ft) and fit for experienced divers. Here you can spot a few local species such as Galapagos Sharks, Galapagos Sheephead and Galapagos Groupers. In addition you can see several types of Rays including giant Manta Rays. If you are lucky, you might even spot Orcas!
A wall dive north of Bartolome Island. Great site for spotting Sea Horses, Octopuses, Lobsters, Blue Crabs, Nudibranches, Frogfish and more. This is a prime hunting grounds for Sea Lions, which are abundant in the area. Visibility is not ideal but you can still spot a lot of marine life, including turtles and a school of about 30 Eagle Rays who frequently visit the area.
This is a very interesting site, thanks to its diversity. The current is medium to strong so this is mainly a drift dive and home to many Sea Lions which come to play with divers during the dive, gently nibbling on your head and fins and playing “Chicken” with you before they get bored and carry on. Rays of different types would visit along the way and a pack of 100 White Tip Sharks might join the party. Huge schools of Barracudas and many more surprises on this great dive site.
The Northern Channel
This site is located at a depth of about 15m (50ft) on the north side of Seymour Island. At the bottom you can see a giant Eel Garden home to many Sting Rays, White Tips Sharks, Eagle Rays and colorful schools of fish. This is considered one of the most unique dives in the Galapagos Islands and on some points the current is so strong that you have to hold on to the rocks to avoid being swept away, with the guidance of experienced local instructors of course.