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Galapagos Information

Unforgettable destination
like no other.
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Location

Scuba diving Galapagos means first flying to Equador, the country to which the islands belong. The Galapagos islands are actually located on both sides of the equatorial line almost 1000km west of Equador, in the Pacific Ocean. Local time in Galapagos is -6 hours GMT.

The 13 large islands, 6 smaller islands and over 100 smaller islets and rocks that make up the Galapagos archipelago cover a total area of 7850sq km. It is thought the first islands formed here at least 8 million and possibly up to 90 million years ago. The 70 000 sqm of ocean surrounding the Galapagos has been a marine reserve for over 30 years and it is second in size only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The location and make-up of the Galapagos Islands, volcanic islands unconnected from the continent, brings deep sea upswellings making the waters rich in nutrients and thriving with life! Historically the islands played a major role in the development of Charles Darwin's revolutionary thinking on evolution of species and getting to see the evidence for yourself makes Galapagos Islands truly the diving holiday of a lifetime. It is often seen as the pinnacle of any divers career and should be on any serious divers bucket list.

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Domestic flight from Equador to Galapagos

Getting Here

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Domestic flight from Equador to Galapagos


To get to the Galapagos Islands for your diving holiday you will first take an international flight to Equador. Equador has 2 international airports; Guayaquil and Quito. Ultimately you are heading to Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island, the location of our SUB AQUA DiveCenter, Silberstein.

José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil (Equador) is the recommended route simply because there are cheaper and often better-timed flights to Galapagos from Guayaquil. Quito is still an option if you want to explore some of Equador before taking your connection to Galapagos and most international flights make a stop in Quito anyway on the way to Guayaquil.

Direct flights are possible from Europe, USA and South America. KLM's flight from Netherlands is probably the most popular for European travellers but there are also flights directly from Spain. Skyscanner is a useful tool to find the best prices for online flights.

It is normal that you have to spend one night in Guayaquil or Quito before flying on to Galapagos. Allow yourself at least 2 hours before your flight to Galapagos because there is a pre-flight procedure at the airport that can require patience!

• Before check-in you must obtain a Transit Control Card. You will see a desk where you can do this. The cost is 20US$ for the card and you need this card for permission to enter Galapagos.

• You can then check-in as normal for your flight. Your bags will be weighed and scanned so beware of excess luggage. There are charges for excess luggage.

Bring cash - you will need 100US$ the moment you land in Galapagos in payment of the national park fee. Credit cards are not accepted and there are no cash machines at the airport.

• Outside Baltra Island airport (the airport closest to our SUB AQUA DiveCenter Partner, Silberstein) you will find buses to the dock. It is just a 10 minute ride and then you can board the ferry to Santa Cruz Island - there are frequent trips across to Santa Cruz Island and journey time is 15 to 20 minutes.

• Typically once you arrive to Santa Cruz Island, your transfer will be waiting for you to take you to SUB AQUA DiveCenter Partner, Silberstein. Transfers are arranged through Galextur and will have been pre-arranged at booking of your accommodation on Santa Cruz Island.

Visa Information
Any person from any country can enter Equador and receive a tourist visa on arrival valid for 90 days. You need a passport (that has minimum 6 months more validity) and a return ticket.
We do however recommend that you check with your local Consulate for Equador to double-check.

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February in Galapagos - clear blue skies

Weather and Seasons

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February in Galapagos - clear blue skies


There are two main seasons in Galapagos controlled by the behaviour of the Pacific Ocean currents whether coming from the cold south, or from the warm equatorial Pacific area. Due to the unique location of the Galapagos islands, they do not have a typical equatorial climate but rather their own micro-climate depending on the prevailing current at the time.

The average year round temperature is 24° celsius.
December to June is warm.
January to March can be hot and humid.
July to November is a little cooler with temperatures varying between 17° at the lowest and 25° at the highest.

2 diving seasons in Galapagos
You can dive the Galapagos year-round and what you see while diving Galapagos will depend on when you choose to visit. Here are some guidelines as to the two seasons:

• November to May is known as 'wet season' in Galapagos but the skies are actually clear at this time with the exception of occasional short-strong rainfalls. There is hardly any wind at this time and the sea is usually relatively calm with average water temperature of 25° .

• June to November is when the Humboldt current moves through the islands, cooling both the land and sea temperature. During these Garúa months the air is cooler and drier while the sky is generally cloudy and grey. The wind is particularly strong at this time and water temperatures can drop as low as 17° . This might sound uninviting for divers but then consider the Humboldt current at this time increases the plankton percentage and brings with it a lot of marine animals and seabirds for their breeding seasons. It is amazing!

Best time to dive Galapagos
You will have great diving in Galapagos at all times of year. However, the months of August to November are generally considered the best time to dive the Galapagos because of the increased proliferation of marine life. During this time, the chance of encountering whales, whale sharks and dolphins is particularly high.

January to May is better for those divers preferring warm water water and sunny skies and is actually the best time of year for seeing hammerhead sharks.

Tips for travel to Galapagos

Currency - US Dollar ($). Smaller bills are more easily accepted in restaurants and shops so avoiding large bills is advised.

Credit Cards - Visa and MasterCard are the most widely used credit cards in Equador. You may find merchants add 4-10% claiming to be an administration fee.

Time Zone - 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), or 7 hours during daylight savings time (late April to late September)

Electricity - Standard electrical power in the Galapagos is 110v, 60Hz. Most outlets take two flat-prong plugs.

Communication - On Santa Cruz Island, where our SUB AQUA DiveCenter partner Silberstein is located, you will have no problem to access the internet or to make international calls. Beware of costs making international calls! There are internet cafes in the area and most hotels, restaurants and shops in this area also offer free wifi to customers. However do not expect to get a phone signal when on the boat at more remote dive sites! For calls, please note that roaming rates are generally high so check with your operator first before you travel. Local stores on Santa Cruz island do sell international prepaid SIM cards that allow you to make international calls at cheap rates but please note that instructions are usually in Spanish language. As a general rule, don't worry about communication and simply enjoy your holiday without the hassles of phone calls!

Entrance Fee - There is an entrance fee (tax) to be paid upon arrival at the airport in Galapagos. The fee is 100$ and must be paid in cash at the airport. This fee goes directly to the protection of the National Park of Galapagos.