*OtterAquatics is reader-supported. When you purchase something through an outgoing link, we might earn a commission.

*OtterAquatics is reader-supported. When you purchase something through an outgoing link, we might earn an affiliate commission.

5 Best Galapagos Liveaboards

Table of Contents

With some of the best scuba diving in the world, Galapagos liveaboards are in a league of their own.

But with so many options to choose from how is one to know where to start?!

Well, that’s where OtterAquatics comes in, we will guide you through al the differing options and the best ones for what you need and can afford. 

AT A GLANCE: OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST GALAPAGOS LIVEABOARDS

FREE Liveaboard Packing Checklist

All the essentials PLUS things you need to pack that you might not have considered! Created by dive professionals working in the industry.

liveaboard packing checklist graphic

Budget Galapagos Liveaboards

  • AC: Yes
  • # of Divers: 16
  • # Dives: 28
  • Length: Varies 3 to 7 Nights
  • Wifi: No
  • Nitrox: Yes
  • Drinks: Included
  • Port: Baltra
  • Route: 4 Routes, Read Below

Aqua Liveaboard is a large, spacious boat that is an excellent choice for your Galapagos Islands adventure, that does offer flexible booking which is a nice perk if something may arise. 

Aqua can accommodate up to 16 guests in 8 comfortable and bright cabins on 3 different levels. These rooms feature either double, twin, or triple bed configurations with each cabin having a private en-suite, AC, and ample storage space.

The boat has numerous areas where you can socialize with your fellow guests or keep to yourself either way there is something for everyone. These include the comfortable sundeck at the front of the ship, the spacious rooftop sundeck (complete with sunloungers), and the shaded outdoor lounge. There is also an air-conditioned indoor saloon that is stylishly decked out in warm wood paneling and which features a TV and a small library.

Your freshly prepared meals will be enjoyed in the clean and elegant restaurant-style dining room.

The dive deck is large and functional, with a central camera table and individual gear bins under the seats so you can easily keep track of your gear. Nitrox is available for an additional fee.

Aqua offers 3, 4, and 7-night naturalist itineraries around the archipelago. Most trips include diving but some do not so be sure to check before you book! Though even if you choose the wrong one the trips here are out of this world so you will be fine no matter what.  Her diving trips depart from and return to Baltra so you will need to arrange transportation yourself or can do it for an extra fee from the company. 

As the dives are not suitable for beginners, Aqua requires divers to hold their Advanced Open Water qualification and at least 50 logged dives. This gives you the option to see hammerheads, mola-mola, and lots of sharks with some luck. 

What we love

  • Visits Wolf and Darwin Islands
  • Private ensuite cabins
  • Reasonable price

Downsides

  • Not beginner-friendly
  • No wifi
  • Additional cost for nitrox
 

Leader in Liveaboard Sales

Galapagos Aggressor
  • AC: Yes
  • # of Divers: 16
  • # Dives: 28
  • Length: 7 Days
  • Wifi: No
  • Nitrox: Yes
  • Drinks: Included
  • Port: Baltra
  • Route: Punta Carrion -> Darwin & Wolf -> Cabo Douglas

Part of the globe-spanning Aggressor liveaboard fleet, the Galapagos Aggressor III is an excellent, reliable option. Their crew of 9 is always on hand to ensure your comfort and satisfaction.

Up to 16 divers can be accommodated in 8 newly renovated staterooms. Each one boasts a private ensuite bathroom, storage space, a window, air-conditioning, and TV/DVD player. The cabins are beautifully decked out in warm wood paneling and have a pleasant, cozy atmosphere.

The rooftop sundeck has plentiful comfortable loungers, ideal for sunbathing in between dives. There is also a jacuzzi which is great for unwinding in the evening with a cocktail from the rooftop bar.

The inner saloon has comfortable sofas as well as an entertainment system and a small library. There are interior and alfresco dining areas, where you will enjoy your fresh meals which are served buffet style. The cuisine combines local and western fare and is expertly prepared. Alcoholic drinks are complimentary and are included in the price.

The dive deck is wide and spacious, with individual gear bins, a large swim platform, a 2-tier dive table, warm water showers, and rinse bins. There is also nitrox available if you wish to use it.

The Galapagos Aggressor III runs 7-night itineraries, departing from Baltra. Each cruise visits the world-famous Wolf and Darwin Islands. Unlike the other vessels, she will take Open Water qualified divers and there is no minimum dive requirement.

galapagos-map-2022-may-min

What we love

  • Visits top dive sites with up to 4 dives a day
  • Jacuzzi on board
  • Complimentary beer and wine

Downsides

  • No wifi
  • Extra cost for nitrox
  • Start and finish are far 
 

Leader in Liveaboard Sales

Midrange Galapagos Liveaboards

  • AC: Yes
  • # of Divers: 16
  • # Dives: 28
  • Length: Varies – 7 Nights
  • Wifi: No
  • Free Nitrox: Yes
  • Drinks: Included
  • Port: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
  • Route: Puerto Baquerizo – > Bartolome -> Wolf & Darwin

The Galapagos Sky is one of the most expensive options on the list for a reason and to be honest not by much. The extra money for the comfort and luxury found on this liveaboard as well as alcoholic beverages and nitrox included in the price make it a worthy investment.

She can accommodate up to 16 guests in 8 cabins. All cabins feature ensuite bathrooms, wardrobes, hairdryers, air conditioning, and complimentary robes and toiletries.

The spacious sundeck is decked out with grass (ok, it’s not real grass…), sun loungers, and hammocks. There is also a pleasant shaded sofa area with a bar if you would rather not sunbathe. The indoor salon is air-conditioned and roomy, fully fitted out with warm wood paneling and wall-to-wall sofas.

The restaurant-style dining room is luxurious and has excellent ocean views. The buffet food served is fresh and combines local and western food. There is also a comprehensive wine list and snacks are available all day.

The dive deck is spacious and set up for stress-free diving. Each diver will be given an individual station for their gear and tanks. A large camera table and rinse tanks make it easy to maintain your equipment, so it is safe for your cameras and great for photographers. whilst a dive tender will ferry you easily to each dive site. Nitrox is available at no extra cost.

The Galapagos Sky offers 7-night itineraries through the archipelago, including Wolf and Darwin Islands. She departs from and returns to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in San Cristobal.

Due to the advanced nature of the dives, divers are required to hold their Advanced Open Water qualification and have at least 60 logged dives, so keep that log book handy of have a digital copy ready, it is worth it. 

What we love

  • Private, luxury cabins
  • Full board included in price
  • Up to 4 Nitrox dives a day

Downsides

  • Not beginner-friendly
  • No wifi available
  • Higher cost/ Flights/ Park Fes

Leader in Liveaboard Sales

Luxury Galapagos Liveaboards

  • AC: Yes
  • # Divers: 16
  • Wifi: No
  • Nitrox: Extra
  • Drinks: Extra
  • Price: Avg

The Galapagos Master liveaboard combines affordability with luxury for 7 to 10-day trips. The Galapagos Master has been refurbished recently and the sleek style is evident throughout the vessel.

She can accommodate up to 16 guests in 9 cabins with 12 staff to help you with every one of your needs. Each cabin boasts air-conditioning, ensuites, storage, and double or twin beds.

The social areas include a rooftop sundeck, with plenty of loungers for topping up that tan! There is also a rooftop bar to enjoy a cocktail whilst you watch the sunset. Meanwhile, the outdoor lounge offers more shaded relaxation options to take a nap after all those dives.

The indoor area has panoramic windows, for the best views, as well as abundant comfortable sofas and chairs to relax and converse on. In the dining room, you will enjoy all your freshly-cooked, buffet-style meals that blend local and western cuisine alike. If you want something special just ask and I am sure they can assist. 

The dive deck is open and spacious, with individual gear stations that make gearing up easy. Fresh, warm water showers, rinse tanks and a 2-tier camera table are also available on deck. Nitrox (which we recommend) is available for a nominal extra fee.

The Galapagos Master offer itineraries that depart from San Cristobal. Each trip spends at least 2 days at the infamous Wolf and Darwin Islands.

With up to 4 dives a day at some of the most epic and challenging dive sites on the planet, you need to have an Advanced Open Water qualification and at least 50 logged dives before you can book.

What we love

  • Spacious inside and outside areas
  • Rooftop bar
  • Visits Wolf and Darwin Islands

Downsides

  • Not beginner-friendly (50 dive minimum) 
  • No W-Fi
  • Extra cost for nitrox

Leader in Liveaboard Sales

Budget Green Liveaboards

  • AC: Yes
  • # of Divers: 16
  • # Dives: 28
  • Length: 7 Nights
  • Wifi: No
  • Nitrox: Yes
  • Drinks: Included
  • Port: Baltra
  • Route: Punta Carrion, Wolf Island, Darwin Island, Cousins Rock

The beautiful Humboldt Explorer is the perfect way to explore the Galapagos Islands and is one the only ones that offer a “green environmental management policy” to offer sustainability and conservation in areas where they operate. So get your reef-safe sunscreen. 

With a maximum capacity of 16, she features 8 double/twin cabins which all have ocean views (which is not always that common), air-conditioning, entertainment systems, and private ensuite bathrooms.

Social areas include air-conditioning and a covered back deck that has fantastic sea views. There is also a roomy sundeck with a jacuzzi, ideal for relaxing under the stars.

You will enjoy your freshly prepared meals in the stylish restaurant-style dining room, which also boasts a full bar.

The diving deck is spacious and shady, with personal gear bins for each diver. Dedicated diving RIB tenders will help you get quickly and easily to each dive site. You can dive with nitrox, for a small additional fee.

There is a dedicated camera table and rinse bins to ensure that your precious equipment is properly cared for and you can rise and clean all your gear with ease. 

The dive sites around the Galapagos are not suitable for beginners and the Humboldt Explorer requires divers to hold an Advanced Open Water qualification and have at least 100 dives under their belt so drift and deep diving experience is a must. 

Departing from and returning to San Cristobal Island, the Humboldt Explorer ventures around the central regions of the archipelago. The cruise visits epic sites like Punta Carrion, Wolf Island, Darwin Island, and Cousin’s Rock.

What we love

  • Visits top dive sites
  • Year around diving
  • Green Policy 

Downsides

  • No wifi
  • Extra cost for nitrox
 

Leader in Liveaboard Sales

When To Visit The Galapagos Islands

Whilst it is possible to dive in the Galapagos Islands all year round, the year is divided into two distinct seasons.

The warmer season is between December and May when the water temperature ranges between 70F to 73F (23 and 25C) so a bit cold for some like me. This is the calmest time of the year with the best chance of flat, serene seas. However, it is also the rainiest time, with many short, sharp downpours.

This is the busiest time of the year, especially over Christmas and New Year. It’s popular because it is the best time of year to see manta rays, which are attracted to the dense plankton found in the warmer water.

It is also the best time of year to see schooling hammerheads as well as mating marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies.

From June to November, the water can drop to as low as 15 degrees Celsius – though around 22 is more common. Plenty of sharks including hammerheads can be seen throughout the season.

This is the best time of year to see whale sharks who are drawn to the cool upwellings around Wolf and Darwin Islands. Bear in mind, these upwellings can cause the water to get really cold, so investing in the best wetsuit you can find is a great idea!

Why Go On A Galapagos Liveaboard?

The Galapagos Islands are a “one of a kind” dive destination. They offer world-class dive sites and a diversity of marine life that will take your breath away.

There are 4 main inhabited islands which are San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Floreana and Isabela. Whilst there are are many excellent dive sites around these islands, the real gems are found further away -where only liveaboards can go.

A liveaboard cruise allows you to explore some of the most epic dive sites in the world, such as Wolf And Darwin IslandsPunta CarrionCabo Douglas, and Cousins Rock. Spending a week (or more!) on a boat is the best way to make the most of the fantastic diving found in the Galapagos.

One of the undeniable highlights of liveaboard diving is the opportunity to maximize the underwater creatures you get to see. And there is certainly no shortage of marine wildlife in the Galapagos Islands!

At Wolf and Darwin Islands alone, you can dive with whale sharksmanta rays, sea lions, penguins, hammerhead sharks, silky sharks, and Galapagos sharks alongside dense schools of fish. We did tell you that a Galapagos liveaboard would be good.

Aside from the location, a liveaboard is a fantastic experience for any keen scuba diver. It offers you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself into the diving lifestyle, without having to worry about any logistics or travel you can just enjoy diving up to 4 times a day!

It’s also a great way to make friends with your fellow scuba divers. For more information on why a liveaboard is something that every diver should experience at least once, check out our Ultimate Liveaboard Guide.

Scuba Diving In The Galapagos Islands

In the Galapagos, there are 4 inhabited islands: Isabela, Floreana, San Cristobal, and Santa Cruz. Each island has numerous dive centers and dive resorts from which you can explore the fantastic local diving.

However, many of the most famous dive sites in the Galapagos are extremely remote and only accessible on a liveaboard. The most famous (and arguably the best!) are Wolf and Darwin Islands, though there are dozens of other excellent sites.

There are many dive sites around the Galapagos that are suitable for beginners and there are plenty of dive centers that will even run open-water courses. Some even off nitrox and advanced on the boats, so do your research. 

Many of the most epic dive sites are really best suited to at least experienced or advanced divers. This is mostly due to the conditions, which can be unpredictable and challenging. Surface swell, up and downdrafts, deep water, and strong drifts are all easily surmountable issues – if you have the knowledge and skills to stay safe.

Diving on nitrox can make you feel less tired and allows you to stay at depth for longer, without straying into your no-deco time.

Marine Life

a few hammerhead sharks swimming together

Wherever you dive in the Galapagos, you will be spoilt with exceptional views and a huge array of wildlife – some of which are found nowhere else on earth.

There are over 30 different species of sharks in the Galapagos, including silky, Galapagos, and reef varieties as well as the gently gigantic whale sharks and dramatically silhouetted hammerheads which can be seen in huge schools.

If the sharks weren’t enough for you, you can also see sea lions, manta rays, eagle rays, penguins, turtles, marine iguanas, dolphins, and even the occasional pilot whale or orca. You know, for a bit of variety!

Many liveaboards also offer land excursions as part of their package. These are fantastic opportunities to explore one of the most unique regions of the world which have had such a huge historic and biological impact. The nature above sea level is just as beautiful as below you really are in for a treat.

Conclusion

Scuba diving in the Galapagos is something that every ever should experience at least once. The sheer volume and variety of marine life alone make this one of the best diving locations on the planet – and a liveaboard is one of the best ways to do that!

Tick numerous creatures off your diving bucket list, dive some of the most famous sites in the world, and have an awesome adventure onboard a luxury yacht. It sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us!

Looking for more diving adventures in Central America and love pelagics?

Why not check out the best liveaboards in Costa Rica?

  • Welcome

    My name’s Austin Tuwiner, a PADI Divemaster based in South Florida. With nearly 10 years of diving under my belt, I’ve accumulated the knowledge to help readers become better divers, buy their next piece of gear, and plan their dream dive vacation!

  • Join Our Facebook Group

    Feel free to ask any questions about scuba diving, liveaboards, freediving, and more, and the community (and me) will do our best to help you out.
    Join Here

  • Related Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *