Swim with marine iguanas and sea lions

Unique experience with curious animals in the Galapagos Islands

Snorkel with marine iguanas and sea lions in the Galapagos Islands. It is one of the most special excursions on these islands. Where you also have the chance to see other animals. So dive into the water and let yourself be surprised.

Float in the water with marine iguanas, arguably the most striking animals in the entire archipelago. It is possible, just like snorkeling (or diving) with sea lions, and sometimes with penguins and many other animals.

Which animals can I see while snorkeling?

In the Galapagos Islands, the animals have never been hunted by humans. As a result, the animals are not afraid of you. The wonderful marine iguana is relatively easy to view underwater. You can see how the animal scrapes algae from the rocks and how it uses its tail in the strong current.
The sea lion also likes to be seen. These animals are naturally very curious and often come to you than the other way around. They are remarkably fast and very manoeuvrable.
Various types of sea turtles can easily be seen around the islands. Just like various species of rays. Sharks are also spotted remarkably often by divers.

Snorkelling with a Galapagos penguin.

You only have to be lucky to see the rare Galapagos penguins. Since you mainly travel with boats, you can ask the local guides where you can best jump into the water.

See how beautiful snorkelling on the Galapagos Islands

Ten best locations for snorkelling

The Galapagos Islands have numerous spots for snorkeling. These are the ten best places to get into the water.

1. Chinese Hat

Galapagos penguins are seen quite often in the waters of Chinese Hat. And then you immediately saw one of the most special (and rare) animals on the islands. Also a great chance of the green turtle, reef sharks and of course sea lions.

2. San Cristobal Island – Lobos Islet

Lobos Islet; the name lobo says it all. This is one of the best places to snorkel with sea lions.

3. Isabela Island – Punta Vicente Roca

Punta Vicente Roca is located on the northern part of Isabela Island. This is primarily a place to see the rare fish of the Galapagos Islands. Including seahorses and sea turtles.

4. North Seymour Island

North Seymour Island is a popular spot. Especially to spot white tip reef sharks. Snorkelers can also see these sharks. In these waters you also have a chance to see the Galapagos penguin.

5. Santiago Island – James Bay

James Bay on Santiago Island is one of the few places that can be accessed on foot. Put on your flippers, your mask and go into the water. You will certainly encounter sea lions here, but also many green turtles. Just like the occasional penguin and sometimes groups of rays.

6. Bartolome Island – Pinnacle Rock

The famous Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome Island is also a very good snorkeling spot. In fact, you have a fair chance of seeing penguins. In the water or on the rocks around it. Sea turtles and countless fish species also like to be seen here.

7. Floreana Island – Devil’s Crown

Devil's Crown on Floreana Island is also a good spot to spot the many fish. And here you have a very high chance of rays, various types even. You will likely encounter turtles and sea lions.

8. Isabela Island – Tagus Cove

Tagus Cove on Isabela Island is different. A striking amount of algae grows on the bottom here. These are happy to be eaten by marine iguanas, while you will also meet many sea lions here. There is also a lot of seaweed on display, with countless seahorses in it.

9. Genovesa/Tower Island – Prince Phillip’s Steps

Remote Prince Philip's Steps on Genovesa (also known as Tower Island) is the home of hammerhead sharks and manta rays. And snorkelers can also see them well here.

10. Fernandina Island – Punta Espinosa

Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island is arguably the best spot. You'll find all animals such as penguins, sea lions, marine iguanas and even the famous Galapagos cormorant often sits on the rocks of this island.

Best time for snorkelling

The best time is February and March when the water is relatively calm. Keep in mind that you are not allowed in the water during the mating season of the sea lions.

My Tips

Show all Bucket List Tips on Ecuador

Read My Tips

all 12 articles on Ecuador

Show all articles