Eagle Rays in Galapagos, South America

Galapagos

Blue Footed Booby, Galapagos Islands

Blue-footed Booby

The Galapagos are an archipelago of volcanic islands lying west of Ecuador, South America. They have never been connected to the mainland, and the resulting unique biodiversity draws nature enthusiasts from all over the world. The islands are home to giant tortoises, finches and seals that aren’t afraid of humans, and huge marine iguana that swim in the shallows scraping the seaweed from the rocks. Underwater you can find hammerheads, whale sharks, eagle rays, huge schools of fish, giant manta and mobula rays, silky sharks, and turtles.

To get to the Galapagos Islands, you fly from Sydney to Santiago (Chile) and then on to Quito or Guayaquil in Ecuador. From here you will take a domestic flight to the Galapagos Islands to meet your liveaboard dive boat.

Diving in the Galapagos can involve strong currents, and beginner divers may find it challenging. It is some of the best temperate diving in the world so we recommend divers gain appropriate training and experience before diving here. Dive Insurance is required for all diving in the Galapagos.

Click here to view the Galapagos Liveaboards.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Entry Requirements

Australian passport holders require at least six months validity beyond your intended stay. No visa is required for Australians to visit Ecuador. To enter the Galapagos Islands, you will be required to pay a $100 Park entry fee upon arrival. This must be paid in USD at the time of arrival. For more information and for holders of other passports, please refer to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website for the latest travel advice.

Money

The United States Dollar (USD) is the official currency of Ecuador. One Australian dollar buys approximately $0.80USD.

Language

The official language of Ecuador is Spanish. English is understood or spoken in some tourist areas.

Electricity

120 volts and a United States pin type.

Time Zone

GMT-6 (in Galapagos Islands) GMT-5 (Mainland Ecuador)

Clothing

Clothing is generally casual in the Galapagos Islands. Loose fitting light clothing is recommended at night to deter mosquitos.

Climate

The climate in the Galapagos Islands is tropical. Temperatures range from 21’c- 30’c.

Water Temperature

Water temperature varies through the year. During June to December (which is the best time of year to dive), the cooler Humboldt current creates thermoclines which make the water cooler. Water temperature can vary. Surface temperature from 18’c – 27’c depending on the time of year. Thermoclines mean the water temperature at depth can get as low as 5’C.

Departure Tax

Transit tax of $10US is charged to enter the Galapagos Islands. Departure taxes vary to leave Ecuador depending which airport you leave from. Guayaquil is approximately $25-$30 USD, from Quito is closer to $40 USD.

Tipping

Tipping in Ecuador is not customary. In areas such as the Galapagos Islands, it is more common and appreciate, but not mandatory. Some higher end restaurants will add 10% to the bill on top of the 12% tax. Otherwise $1 or $2 USD is always appreciated. Taxi’s do not require a tip, but if they have gone above and beyond, $1 will suffice. A guide may be anything from $2 – $5 USD per day.