Scuba Diving Ecuador
Ecuador is a very promising diving destination, especially for those seeking to marvel at the rich marine biodiversity. Since the Galapagos Islands is part of Ecuador, this is your chance to be able to explore the world’s most biodiverse region.
Ecuador is a paradise for the sealife lover. It is home to more collection of species than anywhere in the world. This is not the place to dive if you are looking for coral reefs, though. But it more than makes up for that as it is filled with pelagic action that thrives in the nutrient-rich waters.
Majority of the divers who come to dive Ecuador heads straight to the Galapagos Islands. This is a group of deep-sea, volcanic islands that is part of a protected marine reserve. Over the last five decades, there have been no trace of commercial fishing in the region.
Aside from the lack of commercial fishing, the deep sea upswellings help to form the most biodiverse marine ecosystem in the world. This is an opportunity for avid divers to experience them close hand when you go on a diving trip to this region. You will get a first-hand lesson on the concept of natural selection from the vast school of fishes and marine life found here.
As mentioned, the Galapagos Islands is a mecca for diving enthusiasts. But it is just one half of the two types of dive sites available here. Within mainland Ecuador, you also have quite a few to choose from. There is up to 400,000 hectares of aquatic preserves that are waiting to be discovered. Even divers who’ve dived Ecuador before will agree there is more to explore here.
BEST DIVE SITES
Machalilla National Park
The Machalilla National Park itself offers a diverse array of diving options as there are over 20 sites to explore. These sites vary in their diving difficulty so it is important to know each dive before you book to ensure that it is suited to your diving skill and expertise.
If you want to dive this site, make sure to book your diving trip from June to October. It is teeming with corals and marine life that includes turtles, sea lions, lobsters, and octopus.
Isla de la Plata
If you prefer to dive in mainland Ecuador, this is one dive site to add to your list. Many even claim it is the best dive site in mainland Ecuador that it has earned the nickname “poor man’s Galapagos”. In here, you will find many animals found in the Galapagos such as the famous spondylus oyster, white-tipped sharks, blue footed boobies, and frigates, among others.
This is a dive site located close to Isla de la Plata. Therefore, these two dives are commonly done together. This site is great for both diving and snorkeling. This site offers the chance to enjoy sightings of tropical fishes, sea cucumbers, stingrays, and sea turtles.
This is another top-notch diving site in Ecuador. It is teeming in exotic sea life and coral reefs. The best time to dive Salinas is from December to May.
The Galapagos Islands is considered by many as a diving mecca. It boasts of a splendid array of marine life and excellent water visibility. Hence, it is an exception site to dive that easily stands out from other diving sites in the world. Darwin Island is the most popular area to dive because this is where you will encounter unique creatures and marine life.
Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands is where you can find the flamingo lagoon, mangrove forest, and the Charles Darwin Research Station. Most of the dive sites here are accessible in a short boat ride. Another great dive site in the Galapagos Islands is El Arco. It is renowned as one of the best dive sites in the world.
Other notable dive sites in the Galapagos are El Arenal, Camaño Islet, and Cape Douglas.
BEST TIME TO DIVE
Ecuador experiences spectacular water conditions and high water visibility that makes it possible to dive all-year round. But with any other diving destination, it is important to consider the changing season to ensure that you get the most out of every dive.
The months of February to April get the highest amount of rainfall. This can affect the water visibility so make sure to avoid diving on this year when you can. On the other hand, the water temperature is at its lowest from July to August.
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COMMON TRAVEL QUESTIONS
If you’re planning to dive Ecuador, there are a few questions that might come to mind. You can check out these questions to find more information to help make the most of your dive in Ecuador.
Does diving Ecuador require dive certificate?
It depends on the specific dive site that you are going to explore. Some dive sites offer extreme dive conditions that require diver’s certificate as proof that you have training and skill to conquer them.
When to go diving?
Due to the fact that there are many dive sites in Ecuador, it can be difficult to plan your trip so you can experience as many dive sites in the country. In general, the period from December to June is when you get high humidity and average temperature of about 30 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, diving from June to November will give you an average temperature of 20-24 degrees Celsius.
What can you see during your dive?
This is another relative question as it will vary from one dive site to another. This is your chance to encounter endemic wildlife, or those that can only be found in Ecuador or Galapagos Islands. Some of those you could possibly encounter are whale sharks, dolphins, seals, seahorses, manta rays, tunas, and more.
Do I need insurance?
Yes. Insurance is required for all those who will be diving in the Galapagos Islands.
Is there an age restriction?
Anyone above the age of 10 can dive provided that they have a diver’s certification. If not, you must be at least 16 years of age.
Ecuador is a nation located in Southern America bordered by Colombia and Peru. The population is 16,385,068 with a total area of 283,561 km2. Ecuador is rich in wildlife specially Galapagos Island s where tortoises, marine iguanas, and doe-eyed sea lions could be seen up close. Now if you’re up to sublime scenery like watching the sunset on the beaches, Ayampe and Olón are the perfect place for you.
Capital city of Ecuador: Quito
Closest neighbors to Ecuador: Ecuador is a republic in northwestern South America, encircled by the Pacific Ocean in west, by Colombia in north and by Peru in south east and south and it shares maritime borders with Costa Rica.
Best times to visit Ecuador: Best time to go to Ecuador if you’re into beaches is during the rainy season which is from December to May. It’s not the peak season so hotel rates are cheaper and the water is very clear for snorkeling and swimming.
Visa requirements for Ecuador: No visa required for US citizens upon traveling Ecuador for tourism purposes unless they planned to stay longer than 90 days in one calendar year.
Currency of Ecuador: The currency of Ecuador is United States Dollar (USD).
Official Language of Ecuador: The official language of Ecuador is Spanish.
UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ecuador
There are 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ecuador and 5 on their tentative list.
- City of Quito (1978)
- Historic Centre of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca (1999)
- Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System (2014)
- Galápagos Islands (1978,2001)
- Sangay National Park (1983)