Ideal for: Advanced open water divers or equivalent with 50+ dives
The Galapagos Islands lie some 500 miles from mainland Ecuador having emerged from the sea nine million years ago, these islands were created by a combination of tectonic forces and volcanic eruptions, a process which continues even today. Due to their isolation and nutrient rich currents sweeping past they remained undisturbed for millions of years and this resulted in the evolution of a number of unique individual ecosystems, with many species found nowhere else in the world.
Charles Darwin, visiting the islands as a young man in 1835, was inspired to develop his revolutionary “Theory of Evolution,” based on his observations of the subtle differences between the same species found on different islands.
The mixture of warm currents from Central America with this cooler water has produced an amazing variety of climates, flora and fauna. In the highlands of the larger islands are extinguished craters covered with lush, endemic cloud forests, while closer to the shore, it becomes desert-like, characterized by the towering Opuntia cactus and spiny Acacias. The fauna too provides some unusual sights: sea lions sharing habitat with tropical flamingos, and cold water penguins feeding amongst brightly coloured tropical fish.
Diving in the Galapagos Islands is characterised by the diversity of life and strong currents with the possibility of diving with Sea Lions, Marine Iguanas, Penguins, Turtles, Manta Rays and a number of Shark species including the giant Whaleshark and schooling Scalloped Hammerheads. Due to the remoteness of many of the best diving spots including Darwin and Wolf Islands a liveaboard is the obvious choice when planning a dive holiday to the Galapagos Islands and most itineraries allow for some land exploration. It is also possible to spend a few days exploring the islands before or after the liveaboard or even combine with the stunning jungles of mainland Ecuador or visit Peru and experience Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.