Snorkelling in the Galapagos is unlike snorkelling anywhere else in the world.
Just check out our video!
But it wasn’t like the Galapagos.
In Galapagos, it’s less about the beauty of the reef, as most of the seabed is made from jutting volcanic rock. Instead, there are an abundance of animals to play with.
And when I say ‘play’, I mean it. You’re not simply observing the animals as they quickly swim away from you. Galapagos sealife is unique, in that what’s under the water is not afraid of human activity and in many cases will approach you.
Being inside a natural aquarium
I’m sure you’ve been to an aquarium once or twice in your life. You know the tunnels you can walk through where you have fish swimming all around you?
Snorkelling in the Galapagos is like that, except you’re in the water with the animals.
As you breaststroke and dive through the water, expect to see fish above, below and to the sides of you. You’re in a natural aquarium and it’s brilliant.
Types of sealife you’ll see snorkelling in the Galapagos
We snorkelled with massive marine turtles who were nearly the length of us. Graceful swimmers, we found them either resting on the sea floor or swimming peacefully closeby.
In some parts of the Galapagos you have the opportunity to snorkel with penguins, and we swam with them on Isabela island. Fast and manic movers, you can blink and they’ll be gone. Their small bodies are irresistably cute though.
A few times when we were snorkelling in the Galapagos, a large black tip, white tip or Galapagos reef shark would swim by. Although at first it might set your heart racing, the sharks are relatively harmless so it’s wonderful to be able to swim with them in such close proximity.
We were also lucky enough to see a huge school of cow-nosed rays which was fascinating. They swam back and forth past us as if they were showing off and it was brilliant to see them grouped in such large numbers.
Watch the video above to see it!
However, the absolute highlight for me was snorkelling with the sea lions. They are the friendliest animals of the ocean and they’d swim up to us, perform barrell rolls and then blow bubbles in our faces. I fell in love with these beautiful creatures while snorkelling in the Galapagos.
Scuba diving vs snorkelling in the Galapagos
We love scuba diving. Ever since we got our PADI certifications a few months ago, we’ve been racking up our dives.
And although I think snorkelling doesn’t really compare – there’s something about getting deep in the water that’s truely magical – if there’s a place where snorkelling is nearly as good as scuba diving, it’s in the Galapagos.
For many, the thought of scuba diving is frightening, and they’re much more comfortable floating on the surface of the sea with a snorkel. And in the Galapagos, you really don’t feel like you’re missing out because the animals are so abundant and easy to spot.
Snorkelling from the Seaman Journey yacht
Most of the snorkelling we did in the Galapagos was from the Seaman Journey catamaran and it was a very safe way to swim.
The Seaman Journey provided us with wetsuits, snorkels and flippers, and then drove us out to the snorkel spot on their panga (or dinghy boat).
We then had a short briefing about the conditions, what we could expect to see and what direction to swim in, before jumping in the water.
The panga stayed by our sides while we snorkelled, so if anyone in the group got tired from the activity they could go back onto the dinghy.
One lady in our group had never snorkelled before but our guide Geoff gave her some tips and she quickly got the hang of it.