Snorkelling in Galapagos: because you don´t need to dive to see sharks (or sea turtles)


“Did you say sharks?”

I never thought I would ever swim with sharks. I recently took my diving open water certificate, but I didn´t really feel at my ease, so I started to accept that I will never see sharks and other sea turtles in wildlife. So when the sales guy from the agency talked about seeing sharks during a snorkelling session in Galapagos, I was suspicious. Was it one of his sales trick?

Snapshot of under water wildlife, just from the surface

The truth is: yes, I saw sharks. I even have a picture to prove it. I even saw more: I swam with sea turtles, thousands of exotic fishes, manta rays, sting rays and pinguins. This is one of the amazing thing about Galapagos: the wildlife is so present that you don´t need to dive deep to be amazed.

If you love being in the water,  for sure you will love snorkelling in the Galapagos!

“as I am chasing a fish, something brushes past me, less than 30 cm away… a penguin! I think it even got more surprised than me, as it disappeared at full speed”


2 good snorkelling spots accessible on your own

With just the snorkelling gear to rent ($5), snorkelling offers you a almost free entertainment on Galapagos, perfect for budget travellers. These 2 sites are easily accessible but still rich on under water life.

  • Perla de Concha & the Pier on Isla Isabella: the visibility can be reduced from the pier, due to the heavy boat activity, but you will be amazed by what you can see under there: pinguins, sea lions, marine iguanas and not naming the dozen of different species of colorful fishes! Perla de Concha is borded with mangroves, quite cool to observe from underwater too.
  • Cerro de las Tijeretas/Frigatebird hill on San Cristobal: snorkel in really clear waters in this lovely bay, in good company with playfull sea lions and with view over Kicker Rock. Bonuses: it´s also a good place to spot frigatebirds and boobies and a fantastic sunset spot!

3 great snorkelling tours in the Galapagos

Snorkelling tours will help you to get to sites further from human activity, where you should be able to see a lot. Most of the day tour usually include a stop on a beach/ a bird observation site in addition to the snorkelling activities. Prices include transportation, activities and usually a snack. (Check if the equipment is included or not).

But don´t worry, there are no bad spots on Galapagos, the wildlife is amazing everywhere. Note that your chances to see wildlife will vary depending on different parameters (time of day, tide, season…).

I can highly recommend these 3 snorkelling tours I took:

1. Cabo rosa/ Los tuneles: a half-day tour on Isla Isabella

Snorkelling on the south coast of Isabella in lava rocks and tunnels. Family owned business Rosedelco (first agency at the entrance of the village) runs a fantastic tour to Los Tuneles, where the naturalist will guide you to reveals the best spots of the area. Spotted: sea turtles, mantas rays, sea horses, lobsters, sharks. If you take only one tour on Galapagos, take this one. $70-80

2. Isla Pinzon: a day tour from Santa Cruz.

You will get off from the boat/zodiac and snorkel in shallow waters until a bay where you will get a “pool like” feeling. Spotted: sea lions, sea turtles, sharks $110

3. Kicker Rock/Leon dormiendo: day tour from San Cristobal.

Snorkelling around the massive 140m high lava rocks, in waters that can go as deep as 20m, giving you a “diving like” feeling. Spotted: sea turtles, sea lions, sharks, corals. $80, or $140 if organized as a day tour from Santa Cruz.

Tips to make the most out of snorkelling in Galapagos

  • Buy a waterproof case or camera… you won´t regret it!
  • Rent a wetsuit during the colder season: it would be a shame to have to shorten your snorkelling session because of hypothermia ($5/ day)
  • Bring your own snorkelling gear if you have space for it, the equipment provided is not always of the best quality.

Wondering how much your dream trip to the Galapagos would cost you? You can read my detailed Galapagos travel budget!


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