Scuba Diving in Ecuador - A Window to an Underwater Wonderland
When you mention the word ‘Ecuador’ to people, the first images that often come to their minds are ones of beautiful mountains, pristine forests, ancient ruins and small, rustic villages. Seldom will they think of beautiful beaches and the wondrous marine life that teams within the waters off the coast of this stunning country. Yet Ecuador’s coasts are teaming with sea creatures that are not only beautiful but friendly too. One of the best places in the world to get better acquainted with all sorts of marine life are the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. This is one of the ultimate locations for scuba diving in Ecuador.
Though relatively few divers know about it, the Galapagos Islands are a world-class diving destination. Though the islands have long been known for the natural abundance that can be found here, very few spare a thought to the abundance of life that inhabits the waters around these islands. For a scuba diver, however, this is paradise and there are quite a few tour companies who have recognized the need to provide diving opportunities in the Galapagos and who have been doing so for more than a decade. When most people choose an exotic location to go diving, a stunning coral reef teaming with life is usually the reason for their choice. However, while you will find some reefs here, these are not the main reason for the Galapagos’ appeal. The Galapagos are the only waters in the world where you will find several rather unique mixtures of marine animals. One in four species of marine animal are endemic to the islands and they are as varied as they are beautiful. Here you can swim with manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, penguins, hammerheads, whale sharks and sea lions as well as an array of tropical reef fish. What’s more, many of these creatures have not yet developed a fear of man so you really do get to enjoy a closeness that is quite different from other dive sites.
There are roughly 30 different dive sites around the islands and you can dive as many as three sites on a given day. Keep in mind that all charters have to be pre-approved by the Ecuadorian National Park Service as this is a strongly protected wilderness area. So even if you usually abandon the tour guides and charters to do your own thing, you will probably not be able to do so in the Galapagos. However the guides provide interesting insight and helpful information and are fully certified while the dive boats have state-of-the-art equipment to ensure your safety. Dives can be tailored to suit the experience level of the divers and snorkeling is also an option at some dive sites. The best time of the year to dive is between November and April when the water is warm and calm.