You’d be hard pressed to find any place more enticing to a scuba diver than the Galapagos Islands. But what is it about this magical destination that puts at the top of divers ‘must visit’ list? The Galapagos Islands are so rich in biodiversity and natural beauty that the list of reasons to visit this untouched area of the world could go for pages, but here we’ve listed the top five.
It’s home to species that are found nowhere else in the world.
The archipelagos are an incredibly remote location, located 1000 kilometres or so off the coast of Ecuador. Because of this, the Galapagos Islands’ flora and fauna evolved isolated from the mainland, and it has many unique species that are endemic to this particular area. One of those species is a lizard that can swim, and spends most of its time underwater. Some species of wildlife are so unique that they look like they’ve stepped straight out of the pages of a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale, and the marine iguana resembles a ferocious looking dragon. Reaching up to one metre long, the gentle reptiles feed exclusively on seaweed and algae. Along with the marine iguana, the Galapagos Islands are home to giant tortoises. These animals can long outlive any human, growing to be over 150 years old! Along with these reptilian creatures, the Galapagos provides habitat to its very own species of fur seal, penguin and an assortment of birds.
You’ll have closer encounters with wildlife than you’ve ever had before.
As this area is so well protected and untouched, wildlife does not perceive humans as a threat. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can spend time above or below the water with turtles, lizards, seals and sharks that appear oblivious to your presence. It is a rare and wonderful treat to be allowed into such close proximity with so many awe-inspiring animals, who don’t bat an eyelid as you glide past them underwater.
Everything is BIG.
This area is very well protected, and many of the species that live there have few natural predators. Animals can reach their full size without being gobbled up, and you can have encounters with giant sea turtles and hundred year old tortoises, huge playful sea lions, pods of friendly dolphins, schools of 300 hammerhead sharks and flocks of blue footed boobies (who look as funny as their name sounds). Whale sharks and manta rays frequent the area at different times of the year, and it’s not uncommon for divers to tick off all their bucket list species in a single dive.
It’s home to some of the best dive sites in the world.
The archipelago is located at the meeting point of three major ocean currents. These currents are one of the reasons that there is such a vast array of biodiversity in the Galapagos Islands. The currents are a mixture of tropical and temperate waters, and can therefore provide habitat for both cold and warm water species, making it one of the most spectacular places to dive in the world. Referred to by the United Nations as a ‘living museum’, the area is a world heritage site and was the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. In the Galapagos Islands there is no such thing as a bad dive.
There are birds with bright blue feet.
Need I say more?
Blue Footed Boobies are blessed with bright blue turquoise feet, and during breeding season males show these off to win the affection of a female.
Visiting the Galapagos Islands is best done on an all-inclusive overnight live aboard. Find out more about live aboard diving in the Galapagos Islands.