If you are a fan of snorkeling, then Underwater Galapagos is where you need to visit. It offers a better view of wildlife than any place on land. In fact, the Marine Reserve in the Galapagos is one of the world's largest. It covers an area approximately the entire size of Greece! While snorkeling in the Galapagos, you will get to see all kinds of natural oceanic wildlife, everything from sharks to sea lions, from turtles to amazing coral reefs, and much, much more. In addition, all of the waters surrounding the islands are amazing sites for underwater photography. Get your fill of shots of sting rays, sea turtles, grouper, barracudas, and again, amazing coral reefs.
The Galapagos World Heritage site recently had their land portion of the archipelago expanded to include the water reserve as well. This means the ocean waters are kept in pristine fashion, one of the fewest pristine locations in the world. It is most definitely a vacation of a lifetime, snorkeling in the Galapagos, so be sure to get the most out of it by visiting these top five snorkeling sites.
Located just offshore of Floreana Island, Champion Islet is a small island in the southern part of the archipelago. The island itself is actually one of Galapagos' smallest human settlements with a population of almost a hundred people. If you want to snorkel around Champion, it's best to use naturalist guides to do so. Some of the wildlife you may see include the following: sea horses, white tipped reef sharks, sea tortoises, sea lions, and maybe even giant mantas, moray eels, hammerheads, and possibly even dolphins.
Devil’s Crown/Floreana Island
Devil's Crown on Floreana Island is a volcanic crater, making an exemplary environment for a variety of coral life, which also attracts a vast array of aquatic life as well. This is definitely one of the best sites for snorkeling in the Galapagos. Snorkelers have often got see blue-footed boobies diving to catch fish in the water, while also observing sea turtles, eels, tropical fish, rays, sharks, and sea lions. In addition, outside of the crown is a virtual bird sanctuary, housing in addition to boobies, also red-billed tropicbirds, frigatebirds, and pelicans. Make sure to bring your camera because you won't want to miss pictures of these breath-taking beauties.
North Seymour Island
North Seymour Island is the only one of these top five snorkeling sites which is accessible to land-based visitors, but a day trip is needed in order to get there. North Seymour is located north of Baltra Island where they main airport is located. In fact, it used to be a US airbase during World War II. Some of the aquatic life you may witness in this location are harmless white tipped reef sharks, a large variety of tropic fish, such as parrotfish, rays, and king angelfish, and sealions which are generally quite playful.
Punta Mejia/Marchena Island
The snorkeling site at Punta Mejia on Marchena Island is one of the most rarely visited on the main island group's northern fringe even though it's actually one of the best sites in the archipelago. Snorkeling in the clear deep, calm waters of the north west coast as well as viewing the beautiful natural topography of the location gives you the sensation of observing the planet's beginnings as an underwater world. There's much to see here, such as the diversity of great fish life, as well as sea turtles, reef sharks, and manta rays, in addition to the occasional glimpse of other aquatic mammals such as false killer whales.
Punta Vicente Roca/Isabela Island
This snorkeling spot off Isabela Island is located off the western shores. The waters here, although nutrient rich, are usually much cooler. Aquatic life familiar to this area include sea lions, marine iguanas, sea turtles, stingrays, and mantas. Some snorkelers have even spotted passing whale sharks or even penguins. In addition, a common delightful sight in this area is mola mola, or the very large ocean sunfish. Along the edge, you also may see different species of boobies perched along the way as well as cormorants, which are flightless, inhabiting the shoreline.
Keep in mind that the waters in and around the Galapagos are warmest from January to May and are at their coolest temperatures between August and November. If you're are an avid snorkeler who is used to swimming in cooler water, you may not even need a wetsuit any time. However, a shorty will probably be appreciated from June to December and most snorkelers can go completely without a wetsuit between February and April.
Written by Garrett Parker
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