By Juan Sebastian Torres
EPI Galapagos Program Coordinator
Coming to the Galápagos Islands is a once in a life experience. People from all over the world come to see iconic animals like giant tortoises, Darwin´s finches, and blue footed boobies. But what many people forget is that Galápagos is home to the second largest marine reserve in the world. This reserve harbors exquisite biodiversity, inviting you to don your snorkeling mask and flippers and explore a variety of volcanic underwater landscapes decorated with the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.
The best 5 snorkeling spots in the enchanted archipelago:
1. The Devil's Crown
This ancient volcano crater near Floreana Island creates an underwater paradise. Its peaks remain above water giving the area a crowned shape. A great variety of tropical fish including moorish idols, puffer fish, and large schools of surgeonfish can be found here due the great habitat of coral reefs.
2. The Pinnacle Rock
The Pinnacle Rock is a place of remarkable beauty in and out of the water, located near Bartolome Island. An extraordinary variety of marine invertebrates and microorganisms can be found there, including sea stars, anemones, and corals. Humboldt´s penguins feed on salemas and anchovies, making the snorkeling a unique experience.
3. Vicente Roca Point
Vicente Roca Point is located on the west side of Isabela Island and is a wonderful place to find larger animals like sea turtles, manta rays, sharks, and sunfish: a fish that can be a big attraction for snorkelers due to its unique shape and friendly behavior. You can find sea horses at the bottom attached to the seagrass.
4. Los Tuneles
Tuneles is a labyrinth of underwater lava tubes with an incredible abundance of sea life easily seen as soon as you get in the water. Manta rays, sea turtles, sea horses, tropical fish, sharks, and even penguins live in this special ecosystem. Los Tuneles is a must snorkel if you go to Isabela Island.
5. Las Grietas
Las Grietas is another volcanic depression in the costal line of Santa Cruz Island. It has high walls of about 40 feet on both sides and a mix of fresh and sea water in the bottom. The rocky environment and the lack of currents make the water in Las Grietas very still and clear. Snorkeling is an incredible experience, and with a depth of 30 feet Las Grietas is a great place to practice free diving. You’re likely to see parrot fish, salema schools, and eels among other species. Las Grietas is located only 20 minutes from Puerto Ayora Town, and the best time to go is early in the morning or at noon to avoid crowds.
The best time of the year to come to Galápagos and explore these spots is between April and October, although many other snorkeling areas are available according to your time and budget. You can purchase snorkeling tours or just explore on your own by asking directions from the locals. No doubt the traditional ceviche and a cold drink are the best snacks you can get between your snorkeling plans. So don’t hesitate anymore and start planning a unique underwater experience around these magical islands. Enjoy snorkeling Galápagos.
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