The Five Best Sites to Snorkel or Dive in the Galápagos

Underwater photo of two divers and a bus-sized whale shark with schools of fish.

Diver encounters a Whale Shark in the waters of the Galápagos. Photo © Dieder Brandelet.

The Galápagos may be the best destination worldwide for watching wildlife on land, but the marine marvels underwater are beyond belief. From snorkeling with playful sea lion pups and nonchalant sea turtles to diving with hammerheads and whale sharks, the Caribbean and Red Sea simply pale in comparison.

Gordon Rocks

One hour from Puerto Ayora, this site is for intermediate to advanced divers due to strong currents. Visibility is usually excellent, and you can watch schools of hammerheads, rays, moray eels, and marine turtles.

Kicker Rock (León Dormido), San Cristóbal

The narrow channel between the sheer walls of this volcanic tuff cone is a prime snorkeling spot. White-tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, and rays are commonly seen in the channel, while divers go deeper to see hammerheads. A visit is combined with snorkeling among a sea lion colony at nearby Isla Lobos.

Devil’s Crown and Champion Island, Floreana

The jagged peaks of this submerged volcanic cone poke out of the water, hence its ominous name. Snorkel outside the ring or in the shallow inner chamber with tropical fish and occasional sharks. A visit is usually combined with snorkeling among a sea lion colony at Champion Island.

Gardner Bay, Española

On the northeast side of Española, this crescent beach offers snorkeling with a sea lion colony, stingrays, white-tipped sharks, and parrot fish. It’s also an important nesting site for marine turtles.

Wolf and Darwin Islands

The ultimate diving experience, open only to live-aboard dive cruises, is found around these islands in the far north. Hundreds of hammerheads can be seen off Wolf, gigantic whale sharks cruise by June–November, and bottlenose dolphins are common at Darwin’s Arch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Ben,

    I dove in Kicker Rock and Rock and Gordon did snorkeling at Champion Island and Gardner Bay and now share with you readers and friends of Moon Travel Guide videos that I made in Champion and Kicker Rock.


    Enjoy it

    Edson Ricardo Cunha

  2. eileen gonzalez says:

    Hi Ben. Would you recommend a reputable tour company for a leon dormido and los lobos snorkeling?