My First Dive Trip To The Galapagos Islands

Underwater highlights from my dive trip to the Galapagos Islands.

For many years, I wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands, especially Wolf & Darwin. For some reason, I thought it was very difficult and expensive to get to from the New York. I was completely wrong!

My first opportunity to dive the Galapagos came in May 2018. A few month before the trip, my friend called me to say he found a last minute deal on the Galapagos Master Liveaboard. I agreed to join the dive trip and began to arrange travel.

Traveling to Ecuador from New York is so easy. We flew from NYC to Miami (MIA), switched planes and flew from MIA to Guayaquil. We planned to spend a day in Guayaquil to do some light sightseeing then head over to San Cristóbal Island to meet the liveaboard. Lucky we planed an extra day because my buddies dive gear didn’t make it on to our flight from Miami. The next day we tracked his bag through the airline’s baggage tracker app. We were relieved once it was loaded on the plane in the morning and arrived to the hotel ahead of schedule.

Walking around the waterfront.

We spent the remainder of the day randomly touring the city on foot and by taxi. I though the area was pretty easy to get around and taxis were readily available. The food was quite delicious and affordable. Guayaquil offers a few significant architectural points of interests, such as Churches, Government Buildings, Museums, and high look-out points. The Seminario Public Park (also known as Iguana Park) is located across the street from our hotel (Unipark by Oro Verde), and is host to several families of Iguanas who are quite entertaining.

A day later, we hopped on a short plane ride from Guayaquil to San Cristóbal Island to finally meet our liveaboard. Please note there were a few fees we had to pay in the Guayaquil airport (about $25) and we also paid a park entry fee (about $125) once we landed on San Cristóbal Island. While the fees were not a big deal, you have wait on line to pay them and can’t prepay online. So, I would advise to arrive at the airport earlier than normal and have cash ready.

San Cristóbal Island is filled with Sea Lions.

Once at our hotel, Casa Opuntia in San Cristóbal, we were greeted by a bunch of amazing sea lions. They were everywhere you looked – on the stairs, benches, walkways, bar stools, etc. The locals treat all wildlife with a great deal of respect and they expect visitors to do the same.

Sea Lions everywhere on San Cristóbal Island

The Best Check-Out Dive Ever!

Check-Out Dive with Sea Lions.

The opening video highlights some of the cool creatures we observed during the week. Visibility was not that great when we visited so I wasn’t able to capture the greatest underwater footage. It’s ok, I just have to visit again.

I couldn’t find a better place to watch the sunset!

We spent 10 days aboard the Galapagos Master Liveaboard. Our first stop after the check out dives was Wolf and Darwin. We spent a day and a half at each dive site. During the dives we saw plenty of Hammerhead Sharks, Galapagos Sharks, Silky Sharks and a Tiger Shark.

We spent a morning with Marine Iguanas after Wolf & Darwin. These Marine Iguanas are only found in the Galapagos and they are the only Iguanas that forage for food in the ocean.

Marine Iguanas Foraging For Food.

We also found a rare Galapagos Bullhead Shark on one of our dives. Even though this small shark species was described as early as 1840, little is known about this elusive creature. It’s geographic distribution, life cycle and population size are still unknown to science. There are several organization who are trying to learn more about Bullhead Sharks like and

Galapagos Bullhead Shark

During my trip to the Galapagos. I shot mostly video on a Gopro Hero 6 Black and photographs on a Sealife DC2000. Both with Sealife Sea Dragon 2500 lumen lights. You can see a picture of my underwater camera set up here.

21 thoughts on “My First Dive Trip To The Galapagos Islands

  1. We’ll make it to the Galapagos one day.

    Our trip to Cabo/La Paz was cancelled. We were supposed to leave tomorrow, but that’s not going to happen. We just heard Colorado is pretty much on complete shutdown, effective tomorrow. The whole world has gone completely crazy. Stay safe. Your travel pictures are helping us all more than you know. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    1. Sorry to hear about your trip. I know how you feel. On the brighter side, I tried to replicate your chicken and lemon recipe over the weekend and it came out great!

  2. So jealous! Your videos are just what I needed to see today. Love the marine iguanas and what a thrill to see those hammerheads. For some reason I wasn’t expecting whale sharks. I was there ages ago before I had my diving certification and even the snorkeling was out of this world. Being in the water with sea lions is just a joy.

    1. Thanks! The dive guides said more Whale Sharks show up in the summer months. I was glad to see 3. The sea lions were so much fun in and out of the water. Hopefully, we’ll all be able to travel again!

  3. Amazing video footages, the sea lions are adorable! (although I imagine can be a bit territorial and therefore dangerous). I had no idea there was a water lizard, cool!

    1. The small sea lions are quite friendly and are interested in playing with divers. It’s the big ones that you have to watch. You can hear their strong bark underwater as they get closer.

  4. Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:
    My Featured Blogger this week is Scuba Hank, an NYC-based digital marketing consultant, DJ, and Master Scuba Diver. In other words, he does of lot of things. And if his underwater photos and videos are anything to go by, he does them remarkably well. Hanks videos of the world underwater–captured all over the world–never cease to amaze me. Visit his site, and you’ll see exactly what I mean!

  5. Wow, very cool videos Hank! We have never been to the Galapagos, hopefully one day. So much wildlife, looks like an incredible trip! I love diving, we only did it once in Thailand but we need to get certified ASAP. We live in Florida for goodness sakes!

    1. Galapagos is one of my favorite places. Hopefully, we’ll all be able to travel more in a few months or so.
      Florida has some great diving. I’ve been there several times specifically for diving. You shouldn’t have a problem finding a dive shop… LOL!

  6. Great diving footage! We went to mainland Ecuador on our sailboat, but never made it to Galapagos. We are in The Sea of Cortez, Mexico right now, where the sealife is amazing too… sea lions, sharks, whales, and many whale sharks in the right season!

    Check out my blog for more at

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