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Galapagos diving

Galápagos Diving Cruise

8 Days Galápagos cruise on board the Danubio Azul

Length

8 Days

Ship category

Budget

Ship type

Small Yacht

Capacity

14 Passengers

Galápagos Diving Cruise

7 Reviews

Trip highlights

Two of world's best diving spots: Darwin & Wolf

Hundreds of hammerheads at Darwin's Arch

Majestic whale sharks at Wolf Island

Sunfish, Mantas, Turtles sighted regularly

The Galapatours experience

Excellent itineraries

Smaller groups than usual

English-speaking guide for all activities

Lectures in the evening

This diving cruise on board the Danubio Azul will take you to the most remote islands of the Galápagos Archipelago, Darwin and Wolf, where you will explore what are arguably some of the world's best diving spots. Depending on the season and your luck, you can expect to see whale sharks, schools with hundreds of hammerhead sharks, sea lions, penguins, mantas, eagle rays, Galápagos sharks, sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, mola mola, iguanas, golden rays, seals and with a bit of luck even whales and dolphins!

Important: Please be aware that this is a cruise for advanced divers. Both Darwin and Wolf, but also other spots on this route, require experience with strong currents and a minimum of 50 logged open-water dives. If you feel like this might be a challenge for you, you can book an additional diving guide to accompany you. Nitrox is available upon request and much recommended. Please inquire with us for more details about this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. We're divers, too.

Your ship: Danubio Azul

Danubio Azul Galapagos
Danubio Azul Galapagos Cruise
danubio6

The Danubio Azul is a budget class yacht with amazing service on board. She offers some superb naturalist itineraries, including some of the more intimate and less frequented sites the Galápagos have to offer.

The vessel carries complimentary snorkels and wetsuits, and is equipped with two tenders (or "pangas"). With a maximum of 14 guests, as opposed to the more common 16, the Danubio Azul really does give you are more intimate and friendly experience.

We personally cruised with this vessel. Featuring 5 double cabins, each with air-conditioning and en suite bathrooms, the Danubio Azul featu … Read more about Danubio Azul

Cabins

Double Twin
Standard cabin

Type:

Triple

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

Double Twin
Standard cabin

Type:

Triple

Max. occupancy:

3

More about this cabin

Map

Itinerary

Your itinerary below may vary, depending on the weather, wildlife breeding, and local conditions.

Punta Moreno walk - Nemo i galapagos cruise - gal0087

3 Days

Day Trip + 2 Hotel Nights

Enjoy a 3-day cruise extension from Puerto Ayora, including a full-day land excursion to an exquisite uninhabited island in the Galápagos. Observe the remarkable biodiversity up close and snorkel in the tropical waters in the afternoon.

From

USD 680

Galapagos Green Turtle

3 Days

Diving Trip + 2 Hotel Nights

This Mid-range 3-day cruise extension will take you from Puerto Ayora on a full-day diving trip to one of the most spectacular sites in the Galápagos Islands. Get up close to the amazing life, swim amongst sea turtles, sea lions and an endless array of colorful fish!

From

USD 490

Baltra Arrival at Baltra airport+transfer to ship
Baltra: Arrival at Baltra airportBaltra: Arrival at Baltra airport + transfer to ship - la pinta yacht galapagos cruise - gal0104 + transfer to ship - la pinta yacht galapagos cruise - gal0104

Welcome to Galápagos! Once your flight has landed and you went through the immigration process, you'll be met in the Arrivals lounge by our English-speaking guide who will take you to your transfer vehicle for the short journey to your waiting ship.

Baltra Island, where your arrival airport is, was used as an important Air Force base in the Second World War. This is the primary airport for the Galápagos Islands and you'll be rubbing shoulders with fellow tourists, international naturalists and conservationists, researchers and academics, and Galápagos residents alike. The airport has been built as a "green" airport, and as well as using recycled materials in its construction, it's special design keeps the buildings relatively cool without the need for any air conditioning.

Once on board your ship, you will be introduced to the crew and given a welcome briefing as well as an important safety drill. After this you'll be shown to your cabin. While you're served a well-deserved and delicious lunch, the captain will cast off and your adventure truly starts.

Note: If you plan to spend a few days prior to the cruise in Puerto Ayora and want to do the cruise later this is no problem at all. The transfer from Puerto Ayora to Baltra is very easy.

Santa Cruz Carrion Point
Carrion Point

Carrion Point on the eastern coast of Santa Cruz protrudes into the ocean, creating a sheltered cove which is a superb place to snorkel.

There's no landing here, you can simply dive into the water from your boat. The sheltered waters are crystal clear and you will see a wide range of marine wildlife, including Galápagos rays, sharks, and innumerable tropical fish.

A panga ride along the coast here will also allow your Galapatours guide to tell you more about the bird species and about the ecology of this part of Santa Cruz in general.

Bartholomew A walk on Bartholomew
A walk on Bartholomew, Galápagos

Bartholomew (known as Bartolomé locally) is the most popular excursion for Galápagos visitors, and its iconic scenery is the most photographed in the whole archipelago.

To start your walk on this island you will land in the small bay opposite the famous Pinnacle Rock. You then start the climb to the 375ft peak of Bartholomew. You’ll travel along a half mile trail that includes a series of wooden steps that have been built by the National Park Service to protect the ground here from erosion caused by tourists hiking to the summit.

When you arrive at the top of island the spectacular views will have made your efforts worthwhile. Your Galapatours expert guide will point out all the landmarks you will see from here - Pinnacle Rock itself, jutting skywards. The huge black lava flows of Sullivan Bay. The islands of Daphne Major and Daphne Minor.

On the way back down, you will be able to recognise the different volcanic formations evident on the island, such as tuff cones and volcanic spatter. You'll also see some remarkable examples of the Galápagos' ability to highlight the adaptation of species. For example the  bushes that all look dead are actually very much alive, with leaves covered with special grey hairs that help to reflect the harsh sun and reduce moisture loss for the plants.

Back at the beach there is excellent snorkeling, thanks to the underwater caves and rocks in the area. You will see various sharks, rays and tropical fish. You may also see Galápagos Penguins swimming with you!

Santiago Cousin Rock
Cousin Rock

This is a famous site thanks to the wide variety of marine life you can encounter in just one dive, but it is for moderate to advanced divers only. Depths range from 10 to 90ft, with visibility between 30 and 60ft depending on the season. Currents here are moderate, and surges will be experienced in the shallows.

In the water you'll encounter sloping rock plate formations and a fantastic wall that drops far down out of sight. These rocky formations are home to seahorses, Galápagos black coral, octopus, a wide range of tropical fish and Galápagos sharks and hammerheads.

When you add to this the friendly sea lions who almost always come to play with divers and the elegant green turtles that cruise past, this dive site really does have it all.

Wolf Shark Bay
Shark Bay

Shark Bay at Wolf Island is an underwater visitor point well known as being among THE best dive sites in Galápagos to see Hammerheads and Galápagos Sharks. Whale sharks have alse been encountered here, as well as a huge range of fish, rays, turtles, marine mammals and many more iconic Galápagos creatures.

Wolf The Landslide Dive Site
The Landslide Dive Site

El Derrumbe is particularly well known as THE dive in Galápagos to see Hammerheads and Galápagos Sharks. Whale sharks have alse been encountered here, as well as a huge range of fish, rays, turtles, marine mammals and many more iconic Galápagos creatures.

Darwin Main Darwin Island
Galapagos Darwin's Arch Darwin's Tower Diving

Darwin Island (originally named Culpepper Island) was renamed in honor of the famous naturalist. It is considered by many to be one of the best underwater habitats anywhere on earth.

Darwin is the most northerly island in the Galápagos, and is over 100 miles northwest of Isabela. Together with its neighbour Wolf Island, it is the most remote part of the archipelago.

Renowned for the large schools of hammerhead sharks that gather here (for reasons scientists still don't fully understand), Darwin and Wolf are tips of huge long-extinct undersea volcanoes that grew up over half a mile from the seafloor below.

You will enjoy spectacular diving here, and among the species you are likely to encounter are hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, rays, green turtles, and a myriad of tropical reef fish. If you have any particular species that you are keen to see on your dive, contact one of our Galápagos experts today and we can advise on the best dive itinerary to suit your requirements.

Darwin Main Darwin Island
Galapagos Darwin's Arch Darwin's Tower Diving

Darwin Island (originally named Culpepper Island) was renamed in honor of the famous naturalist. It is considered by many to be one of the best underwater habitats anywhere on earth.

Darwin is the most northerly island in the Galápagos, and is over 100 miles northwest of Isabela. Together with its neighbour Wolf Island, it is the most remote part of the archipelago.

Renowned for the large schools of hammerhead sharks that gather here (for reasons scientists still don't fully understand), Darwin and Wolf are tips of huge long-extinct undersea volcanoes that grew up over half a mile from the seafloor below.

You will enjoy spectacular diving here, and among the species you are likely to encounter are hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, rays, green turtles, and a myriad of tropical reef fish. If you have any particular species that you are keen to see on your dive, contact one of our Galápagos experts today and we can advise on the best dive itinerary to suit your requirements.

Wolf North Islet / La Banana
North Islet / La Banana

North Islet is a small outcrop just off the north coast of Wolf, and because of the wall's shape it's known to locals as "the banana"!

This is a stunning sheer wall with caverns, tunnels and other wonderful rock formations. Depth here ranges from 30 to 120ft and the visibility is usually excellent, varying from 40 to 80ft depending on season. There is always a moderate to heavy current here.

A superb site for spotting Galápagos sharks, hammerheads, manta rays, green turtles and a wide range of fantastic Galápagos marine life.

Isabela Cape Marshall
Eden Islet

Cape (or Cabo) Marshall is a good wall dive on the northeastern coast of Isabela. Depths here can be as much as 130ft and the visibility is anywhere from 20 to 70ft depending on the time of year.

Because of the geography of the site the current here is always moderate to heavy, and this is always done as a drift dive following the coast. There's little surge here, though and you'll have a mix of wall and reef diving.

Cape Marshall is a great location for giant manta rays and a wide variety of pelagic fish, and hammerhead sharks are a common sight. Galapatours visitors have also reported encounters with large schools of barracuda and sea lions who come along to join in with your dive!

Santiago Egas Port
Santiago - Egas Port - nemo i galapagos cruise - gal00

Puerto Egas (Port Egas) is a sheltered landing site at the southern end of James Bay on the northwestern coast of Santiago. This landing site is the trailhead for two hiking paths.

The first trail runs along the coast to visit the so-called "Fur Seal Grottos". The Galápagos Fur Seals like to seek shade from the equatorial sun, and they prefer rocky shores with caves or other nooks and crannies in which they can keep cool. The grottos here are perfect for them, and the tidal pools are also popular with Galápagos Marine Iguanas who can be seen feeding in and around them.

The second trail from Egas Port heads inland to the "Salt Mine Volcano". This hike is just under 2 miles long and takes you to the rim of a salt mine crater. This "mine" is actually a small volcanic cone that is filled with a salt water lagoon that dries up in the dry season. At several points in the 20th century individuals or companies attempted to mine salt from it, but without commercial success. The name of your landing site is after the owner of the last company to try salt mining here, Hector Egas.

The lagoon is often home to Galápagos flamingos and other birds, and the wonderful Galápagos Hawk can often be seen circling above this area.

North Seymour North Seymour
A walk on North Seymour

The island is named after an English nobleman, Lord Hugh Seymour and has an area of 1.9 square kilometers and a maximum altitude of 28 meters. This island is home to a large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls and hosts one of the largest populations of frigatebirds. North Seymour has a visitor trail approximately 1.2 mi in length crossing the inland of the island and exploring the rocky coast.

North Seymour was formed at the same time as neighboring Baltra Island, and by the same process - an uplifting of undersea lava. This small, flat island has hiking trails throughout, allowing you to explore the arid landscape and to meet the seabirds that call North Seymour home.

North Seymour was the site of one of the earliest conservation experiments in the Galápagos. In 1934 a group of Galápagos Land Iguanas were moved there by Captain Hanckock. They have since thrivedthrived, and there are now well over 2,500 of them on the island and more than 3,000 on the neighbouring Baltra island.

The biggest attraction of North Seymour is its large colony of Blue-Footed Boobies and its Frigatebirds. These popular Galápagos species are often found together because the Frigatebirds rely on the Boobies’ fishing prowess. The Frigatebirds actively steal the Boobies catch to feed themselves!

There is also a population of Marine Iguanas and Galápagos Sea Lions are frequently spotted. The snorkeling here is also very good, with plenty of marine life to see including rays and reef sharks.

Baltra Transfer to Baltra airport
Transfer from ship to Baltra airport (organized)

Your Galápagos adventure ends with the arrival of your ship back at Baltra Island. After what many guests describe as an emotional goodbye to your ship and its crew, you'll board the transfer vehicle that will take you on the short journey to the airport in plenty of time for your flight back to the mainland.

Baltra airport serves both Guayaquil or Quito, and we can arrange flights that fit best with your onward plans - particularly if you are continuing a South America tour. Speak to one of our travel experts as we are often able to beat even internet pricing on flights to and from Galápagos.

Note: If you plan to spend a few days in Galápagos after your cruise this is no problem at all. Just let us know and we will arrange for the logistics. The transfer from Baltra to Puerto Ayora, for example, is very easy.

Punta Moreno walk - Nemo i galapagos cruise - gal0087

3 Days

Day Trip + 2 Hotel Nights

Enjoy a 3-day cruise extension from Puerto Ayora, including a full-day land excursion to an exquisite uninhabited island in the Galápagos. Observe the remarkable biodiversity up close and snorkel in the tropical waters in the afternoon.

From

USD 680

Galapagos Green Turtle

3 Days

Diving Trip + 2 Hotel Nights

This Mid-range 3-day cruise extension will take you from Puerto Ayora on a full-day diving trip to one of the most spectacular sites in the Galápagos Islands. Get up close to the amazing life, swim amongst sea turtles, sea lions and an endless array of colorful fish!

From

USD 490

Dates & Prices

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Info

Single Cabin Supplement

When booking online, you can choose the option to "Upgrade to single occupancy". This will guarantee you the whole cabin to yourself, for an additional fee. If you don't select this option, then another traveler of the same sex might be placed into the same cabin with you.

What's included

All meals onboard (International and Ecuadorian Cuisine). Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for with advance notice - please ask us about your needs.

Snorkeling sessions - whenever possible and allowed by the National Park.

Extensive Zodiac Rides to explore the shorelines and mangrove forests from close up.

All transport to and from the ship: Pick-up by your guide directly from the airport (if you arrive at the first day) and drop-off by your guide directly to the airport (if you leave on the last day).

English-speaking naturalist guides with you at all times during the excursions.

Briefings in the evening, during which your guide will explain what you can expect from your next day.

Lectures in the evenings about a variety of topics, including Geology, Marine Biology, Natural History, Human History, and more.

Entry costs to museums, research stations, breeding stations, etc.

We offset 100% of all CO2 emissions caused by your trip, including all transport, your cruise and your flights (should you choose to book them through us). Carbon offset is achieved through a Gold Standard Climate Protection Project. Learn more

What's not included

Galápagos National Park Fee: 100USD, payable in cash upon arrival at the airport in Galápagos (please see our FAQ)

INGALA Luggage Check Fee at the airport on the mainland: 20USD (please see our FAQ)

Alcoholic beverages onboard (please see our FAQ)

Bottled soft drinks onboard (Coke, Sprite etc.)

Tips & Gratuities for your Guide and Crew (please see our FAQ)

Travel Health Insurance

Scuba Diving Equipment (please inquire for rental pricing)

Nitrox (please inquire for pricing)

Reviews

David Alvarez

Danubio Azul Galapagos Cruise

Budget

Ausgezeichneter Service Die Danubio Azul bietet einen ausgezeichneten Service und fährt die ausgeschriebene Route genau entland. Die Besatzung ist super ausgebildet. Quelle: https://goo.gl/AoMvZP

Fareham

Danubio Azul Galapagos Cruise

Budget

Want to go back on Danubio Azul Guide George excellent. Very informative and always available. He got on well with all of us and was a good diver and snorkeller. Food. How the chef made us meals I do not know. They were excellent. After every trip ashore there were little snacks and juice waiting. Boat. Nice comfortable boat except on night cruising. You need sea sickness tablets. It's a small boat so probably moves more than a big one. The rooms were cleaned every day. Captain Wilson. Very pleasant and always on the look out for interesting animals. Crew were very pleasant and helpful. Trips to islands. Always very good with tons to see. Snorkelling at Devil's Crown was outstanding. Only issue was getting back on Panga after snorkelling as there are no ropes and being hauled on board was not dignified We had a Taxi laid on from Puerto Ayora to the boat. Free. Make sure you tip well. These guys and ladies deserve it. Feedback from: https://goo.gl/3rcHFG

Fareham

Danubio Azul Galapagos Cruise

Budget

Ich will wieder zurück! Der Guide George ist exzellent, sehr gut informiert und immer verfügbar. Er hat sich mit allen gut verstanden und war ein gute Taucher und Schnorchler. Essen: wie der Küchenchef es geschafft hat zu kochen, keine Ahnung. Es war jedoch köstlich. Nach jedem Ausflug warteten Snacks und frisch gepresste Säfte auf uns. Schiff: schönes, gemütliches Schiff abgesehen von den nächtlichen Bewegungen - man braucht anti-Übelkeitstabletten. Da es ein kleines Schiff ist, bewegt es sich mehr, als ein großes. Die Zimmer wurden täglich gereinigt. Kapitän Wilson war großartig und spähte immer nach Tieren für uns. Die Crew war hilfsbereit und ging großartig mit den Gästen um. Die Inselausflüge waren immer toll, mit einer Menge Sehenswürdigkeiten. Das Schnorcheln am Devil´s Crown war phänomenal. Es war etwas problematisch wieder zurück ins Schlauchboot zu klettern aber man schafft es. Versichern Sie sich, dass Sie gutes Trinkgeld dalassen. Diese Männer und Frauen haben es wirklich verdient. Quelle: https://goo.gl/3rcHFG

FAQs

Under Ecuadorian law, if you are only temporarily visiting the Galápagos then you are exempted from the requirement to pay any customs charges on items that you are bringing in to the country. This includes new or used portable electronics such as cameras, laptops, music players, etc.

You MUST NOT bring any agricultural or plant materials or any unprocessed food products to the islands. To avoid problems at customs and bag check we suggest only traveling to Galápagos with pre-wrapped snack products such as chocolate bars, etc. Food is plentiful and freshly cooked on your Galapatours cruise, with a wide range of choice on offer to suit all tastes - you really don't need to bring anything with you!

US, Canadian and Australian citizens do not need a visa for tourist stays of less than 90 days in Ecuador. Upon entry, the passport must be valid for at least 6 months. To enter Galapagos, the first official requirement is a valid Ecuadorian tourist visa stamp in your passport - this should have been issued to you upon arrival to mainland Ecuador.

This is a multi-layered question, that we have tried to answer in various articles. Please click on the corresponding links to learn more about the different topics. To recap: Tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands must have a valid passport and, in most cases, can obtain a visa upon arrival in Ecuador. When leaving Ecuador's main land, tourists' luggage will be checked for restricted items by the Tourist Control and Certification (TCC) to ensure the preservation of the islands' unique environment and wildlife. This check costs 20USD and is done at the airport in Quito or Guayaquil, before checking in for your flight to Galapagos. A Galapagos National Park entrance fee of $100 must be paid upon arriving in Galapagos. Travel insurance that covers emergency evacuation and medical expenses is also recommended. Visitors are advised to respect the park's rules, such as restrictions on hiking and camping and removal of natural objects. At the following link you can find out more about vaccinations for a Galápagos trip.

The Galápagos National Park Entrance fee is levied on all visitors to the islands. The Galápagos entry fee is currently 100 USD per person (reduced to 50 USD for children under 12 years old). This fee must be paid, in cash, at the airport of arrival. If you do not pay, you will not be allowed to leave the terminal - so please make sure you have the means to pay the Galápagos entrance fee! If you are a citizen of a country in South America you might pay less, check here for more information. Therefore, the payment of this entrance fee is indispensable to take part in a Galapagos cruise.

Some people have expressed surprise about paying a Galápagos park "entry fee" simply to set foot on the islands, but the proceeds of this entrance fee go directly into the ongoing conservation, protection and management of the islands. The proceeds are split between several important institutions as follows:

  • 40% Galapagos National Park
  • 20% Galapagos Municipalities
  • 10% National Insitute
  • 10% Galapagos province local government
  • 5% National Navy
  • 5% Ministry of Environment
  • 5% Quarantine and pest control
  • 5% Galapagos Marine Reserve

To protect the vulnerable and unique Galapagos habitats and wildlife, no non-native plant or animal species must be allowed to arrive on the archipelago. SICGAL is the government department responsible for ensuring the islands are protected in this way.

After you have received your TCT/TCC card at the airport in Ecuador, you should proceed to the SICGAL booth. There you will be asked to fill out a form and may have your luggage examined.

To make sure you don't have any trouble here, please do not attempt to travel with any foods other than small quantities of pre-wrapped snack items like chocolate bars or similar, and certainly don't have any plants or plant materials in your bags. Once checked, you will receive an approval label to attach to your bags, and you can then make your way to your airline check in.

Arrival at Quito Airport: SICGAL Luggage Check and TCC Card for your flight to Galápagos
SIGAL Luggage Check at Quito Airport

Galapagos boasts two airports on Baltra and San Cristóbal Islands, offering daily flights from Quito and Guayaquil. Departing in the early morning, the journey from Quito to Galapagos takes approximately 2.5 hours, often including a brief stopover in Guayaquil. The direct flight from Guayaquil to Galapagos clocks in at around 1.5 hours. Three airlines currently serve Galapagos - Avianca, TAME and LATAM.

To mitigate any potential issues arising from flight delays or cancellations on your international leg, it is advisable to arrive in Quito or Guayaquil the night before your Galapagos departure. Ask us for advice on Ecuador hotels when you book your cruise with us.