Best Galapagos Liveaboards: Best Dive Boats [2024 Edition]

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

Looking for the best Galapagos Liveaboards? In this article, I will walk you through the best liveaboards in the area, helping you choose the best boat for a trip of a lifetime. Diving in the Galapagos Islands is probably on the bucket list of every avid diver and there is a reason why.

Located off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Island Archipelago is a place that is so rich in both land and marine animals. The animals here are so diverse and abundant that it popularly even inspired the theory of evolution.

Given its abundant natural resources, the Galapagos Islands, including the marine reserve, is listed as a Unesco World Heritage site which limits travelers to only exploring these parts on a liveaboard.

Liveaboards in the Galapagos Islands visit two of the thirteen large islands, Darwin and Wolf.

Here, divers can swim in awe around large schools of hammerhead sharks, manta rays, pods of dolphins, and whale sharks. Not to mention the marine iguanas, other species of sharks, and penguins.

To help you choose between the best liveaboards in the Galapagos, we’ve put together this comprehensive list of liveaboard reviews and popular scuba dive sites.

Editor’s Top Galapagos Liveaboard Picks

Best Budget Liveaboard in the Galapagos


Humboldt Explorer

Max Divers: 16

Rooms: 8 cabins

Bathrooms: 8

Best Small Group Liveaboard in the Galapagos



Max Divers: 8

Rooms: 4 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 5

Best Luxury Liveaboards in the Galapagos

Galapagos Sky

Max Divers: 16

Rooms: 8 /AC

Bathrooms: 8

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Comparison Table for Galapagos Liveaboards

Boat NamePriceGuestsShared CabinsPhotography StationExtended ItinerariesReviews
Humbolt Explorer$$16
Galapagos Master$$$16
Galapagos Agressor III$$$$16
Galapagos Sky$$$$16
Tiburon Explorer$$$$16

Galapagos Liveaboard Reviews

Humboldt Explorer

Max. Divers: 16 guests

Rooms: 8 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 8

The Humboldt Explorer is one of the most affordable Liveaboards in the Galapagos, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks quality.

This spectacular 33m ship takes divers to some of the best dive sites in the Galapagos where you can immerse yourself in schools of sharks, tuna, manta rays, and white tip sharks.

It offers 8 air-conditioned cabins, all equipped with TV and DVDs. When you’re not diving, soak in their jacuzzi situated on the sundeck. Designed with premier diving in mind, the MV Humboldt has a large dive station, takes, weights, rental equipment, as well as proper camera and rinse tables.

With cruises running 8 nights long, this is one of your best options when choosing a Galapagos liveaboard. As far as liveaboards in the Galapagos go, while it definitely budget friendly!

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Tanks, Weights, Belts, All Meals, Alcoholic beverages

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability of the Humboldt Explorer.


8 guests

Rooms: 4 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 5

If you’re looking for a Galapagos Liveaboard adventure holiday which caters to smaller groups, the Nortada is a great option, offering you a more intimate and private experience.

Each cabin has lockers and drawers for storing personal belongings as well as air-conditioning. Guests can lounge and dining area equipped with an entertainment system or in the open area and sundeck.

Aboard the Nortada, divers can go on at least 20 dives per week around the famous Wolf and Darwin islands as well as other dive sites north of the archipelago.

Safety is of primary importance which is why each diver is given a marine radio with GPS, dive alert and DSMB.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Dive Master Services, All Meals

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability of the Nortada.

Galapagos Master

Max. Divers: 16 guests

Rooms: 9 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 10

This 32m luxury liveaboard yacht shows you the best of the Galapagos Islands while giving you comfort and relaxation.

Each cabin is well decorated, complete with a wardrobe and en-suite bathroom. There is a spacious indoor lounge area as well as a deck with a full entertainment system. The outer deck has a cocktail bar where guests can unwind after a full day of spectacular diving.

The dive deck is ample and spacious, leaving you room for all your equipment. It also has warm showers, rinse tanks, plus camera tables. Offering 7-10 night luxury cruises, you can dive up to four times a day during your liveaboard trip.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Transfers/pickups from the airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, All Meals

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability of the Galapagos Master.

Galapagos Aggressor III

Max. Divers: 16 guests

Rooms: 8 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 11

As part of the Aggressor fleet, this 32m luxury liveaboard offers year-round diving around the Galapagos Islands. Offering up to four action-packed dives and two-night dives, guests are able to make the most out of their time in the Galapagos.

You can relax on the large sun deck equipped with sun loungers and deck chairs, as well as a hot tub. The Galapagos Aggressor has a large swim platform, air/nitrox fill stations, as well as proper shower and camera areas.

Alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer are also served complimentary to guests. This liveaboard is very well-rated and is a popular choice.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary toiletries, Tanks, Weights, Belts, All Meals

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Galapagos Aggressor.

Galapagos Sky

Max. Divers: 16 guests

Rooms: 8 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 8

This 33m luxury liveaboard yacht is your top choice if you want to discover the Galapagos in style. Offering lavish cabins, lounge areas, plus a stylish deck, guests can fully relax and enjoy after doing a full day’s dive.

Two dive masters are available on board, all very familiar with the underwater conditions. The Galapagos Sky has a large dive platform which has ample room and gear storage. Nitrox is provided for free for guests.

Apart from this, you can enjoy buffet-style local and International fare as well as complimentary alcohol throughout your trip.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary Toiletries, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster services, All Meals, Alcoholic Beverages, Free Nitrox, Towels Provided

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Galapagos Sky

Tiburon Explorer

Max. Divers: 16 guests

Rooms: 9 cabins

This stunning dive boat is one of the best liveaboards in the Galapagos. It can house up to 16 guests in 9 spacious en-suite staterooms. After an exciting day underwater, you can relax on the main deck where there’s a dining area, bar, and entertainment. Or you could lounge on the sun deck which also has a jacuzzi and enjoy the beautiful Galapagos scenery.

The dive deck on the Tiburon Explorer is well-equipped with tank ranks, a nitrox filling station, and amenities for underwater photographers such as a camera recharging station and a dedicated underwater camera rinse tank.

Throughout your trip, all your meals are taken care of, including snacks and complimentary wine served during dinner.

What’s Included: VAT, Airport Transfer, Alcoholic Beverages, Drinking Water, Soft drinks, Tea & Coffee, Welcome Cocktails, Full-Board Meal Plan (All meals), Snacks, Diving Package, Land Excursions, Naturalist Guide, Beach Towels, Cabin Towels, Complimentary Toiletries, Deck Towels.

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Tiburon Explorer


Max. Divers: 16 guests

Rooms: 8 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 8

Looking for a combination of diving and naturalist activities? The Aqua liveaboard offers this unique mix which allows you to experience the best of the Galapagos both in and out of the water.

This 26m boat can accommodate up to 16 guests in its 8 en-suite cabins. With a nearly 1:1 ratio of crew to guests, you can be assured you’ll have a great liveaboard experience. The social areas on the boat include an indoor lounge, library and bar as well as two lounges on the upper deck and a sun deck.

Their dive deck has fresh water showers. They also have a shaded diving area and nitrox is available. While onboard, you’ll enjoy buffet-style meals featuring local cuisine.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster services, All Meals Including Snacks, Welcome Cocktails, Towels Provided

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for Aqua.


Max. Divers: 16 guests

Rooms: 8 cabins / AC

With occupancy for 16 guests, the Calipso is ideal for small group charters. Out of their eight cabins, there are two single rooms available.

Their knowledgeable dive masters will guide you on your diving expeditions, and wetsuits, diving tanks, and weights are included in your package.

Onboard the Calipso, you’ll enjoy al fresco dining and local cuisine. When not diving or enjoying other activities, you can lounge on their leisure deck or jacuzzi and take in the stunning Galapagos scenery.

Included: VAT, Fuel Surcharge, Airport Transfer, Drinking Water, Soft drinks, Tea & Coffee, Welcome Cocktails, Full-Board Meal Plan (All meals), Snacks, Diving Package, Land Excursions, Cabin Towels, Complimentary Toiletries, Deck Towels, WiFi internet.

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Calipso.

FAQ on Galapagos Liveaboards

How much is a Galapagos Liveaboard?

The cost of your liveaboard depends on how long your trip is. Some trips are usually 8 days, while some offer extended itineraries which last for 11 days. Expect to pay around $400-600 per day. This includes a private room, all meals, plus all your dives. The average liveaboard price in the Galapagos is around $5000+ for double occupancy for eight days.

When is the best time to go diving in the Galapagos?

While diving is possible all year round, but it can get slightly cold at times.

The warmer seasons are from December to May where you can find calmer conditions and currents.
Coldest months are from June to November where the sea conditions can get a little bit rougher and challenging. Whale sharks often grace the presence during the cooler season.

Most of the liveaboards in the Galapagos run tours and cruises all-year-round. 7mm wetsuits during the colder season is recommended.

Can beginners dive in the Galapagos?

While most liveaboard dives require you to have at least your Open Water certification, there are some schools which offer beginner lessons in the Galapagos. Some dives in the Galapagos, especially the ones you visit via a liveaboard boat can be quite technical due to the current so they aren’t advisable for beginners.

When can you see hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos?

If you want to see Hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos, you’re in luck as they are there all year-round. However, you can expect a lot of them during the month of January, and they tend to thin out by May. You can often see them by Darwin Island and Wolf Island.

Galapagos Liveaboard Diving Highlights

There is literally nowhere else in the world where you can swim with hundreds of hammerhead sharks, whale sharks while spotting some penguins and marine iguanas. Nowhere.

The entire marine reserve is free of commercial fishing, allowing you access to some of the most pristine reefs imaginable.

An amazing 20% of the marine life found in the Galapagos can only be found here! This alone is enough reason why you should explore its rich waters. 

Due to the remoteness of the Galapagos Islands, liveaboard boats are the best way to discover the region. Staying on the boats will allow you to reach the dive sites at their peak time, giving you what I would claim, one of the best dive experiences of your life.

A few of the popular must-visit dive sites that the liveaboards will visit are El Arco in Darwin Island. Here, expect to find schools of hammerheads, whale sharks, eagle rays, as well as Galapagos and silky sharks.

The currents are strong so usually, you hook yourself in and watch the large creatures swim around you. It is truly a spectacular sight.

Other sites not to be missed are Gordon Rocks, Tijeretas Hill for sea lions, and Shark Point. Tortuga Island is for more intermediate divers who are ready to face the deep drift walls plunging down up to 40 meters, or 131 feet. Some divers have been lucky enough to spot an Orca from this spot.

Apart from the fantastic diving, the Galapagos Island also offers some of the best non-diving wildlife adventure cruises due to the vast amount of animals seen on the islands. From giant tortoises to various species of birds, it is a fantastic place teeming with wildlife.

Your Galapagos liveaboard experience may also include some fun shore excursions such as the Charles Darwin Research Station and visiting Santa Cruz island to see its resident giant tortoises.


Galapagos Liveaboard Diving: What You Need to Know

Galapagos Diving Safety

Due to its location, the Galapagos is an intersection for several ocean currents which is why the marine life here is so vibrant and alive.

In some areas, currents can be very strong and surface conditions can get choppy, depending on the time of the year. Descending currents may be encountered at some sites along vertical walls.

Due to the complexity of some dive sites, diving in the Galapagos is best suited for experienced divers. However, with that being said, as long as you communicate any troubles with your divemasters, they can give you the appropriate guidance when necessary.

A good practice is to ensure that you always have a neon dive flag or collapsible pole stowed in your BC pocket in case of the current sweeps you astray. Reef hooks and gloves are also advisable due to the strong currents.

For peace of mind during your diving adventures, we recommend having dive insurance in case of any medical emergencies.

scuba diving in the galapagos

Best Dive Sites Around the Galapagos

1. Darwin Island

Located four hours north of Wolf Island, Darwin Island is a must-visit on a liveaboard diving trip. The easily-spotted Darwin Arch makes the spot to arguably one of the best diving sites in not just the Galapagos but the world.

At Darwin Island, you’ll encounter a wide variety of marine life with occasional appearances by dolphins and whale sharks. Your best chance to encountering a whale shark is the late summer, fall, and early winter when they arrive in this area to feed.

Most liveaboards in the Galapagos spend at least one day here, allowing divers to explore the area. For more time in this beautiful dive site, you’ll want to select an extended trip that can provide 2 full days at Darwin Island.

Unpredictable surface conditions and strong currents mean that this site is not recommended for novice divers.


2. Isabela Island

Cape Marshall, Isabela Island is another location that’s only accessible via a liveaboard diving trip. Its strong currents mean that it’s recommended for advanced divers, but it’s well worth the effort if you have enough experience under your belt.

Formed by a wall of volcanic rock that goes deep into the sea, the Cape Marshall dive site provides you with opportunities to swim with manta rays, large schools of fish and, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot some hammerhead sharks or Galapagos black-striped salema.

Another cool dive spot around Isabela Island is Redonda Rock, known for its volcanic fumaroles and being home to some unique macro life not seen elsewhere.

3. Santa Cruz and San Cristobal

Known for the various dive sites in the areas, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal islands are on the itinerary of every liveaboard. With a wide range of dive sites available, it’s an ideal diving spot for both novice and experienced divers.

Based on the experience level of the divers on the boat, your liveaboard will choose the sites best suited for its passengers. The easy dive sites for great as introduction dives. Easy doesn’t mean unexciting though; even at these sites, you could spot Galapagos sharks and schooling reef sharks.

Photographers will love the area outside Academy Bay in Santa Cruz which is teeming with animal life such as seahorses, batfish and marine iguanas.

Advanced divers can get a thrilling experience at Gordon’s Rock, which is famous for its strong and unpredictable currents. It’s the most visited site in this area, as divers can easily spot hammerhead sharks, stingrays, turtles, and mobulas. If you’re an experienced diver, this is a dive site not to be missed!

4. Wolf Island

One great reason to choose a Galapagos liveaboard diving experience is that it’ll take you to places you otherwise couldn’t reach. Wolf Island is one of those places.

The waters around this small, uninhabited island is home to a wonderful array of marine life such as dolphins, hammerheads, and thousands of reef fish. The true prize, however, is that Wolf Island offers you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of swimming alongside whale sharks!

As the currents at Wolf Island can be unpredictable and strong, diving here is best suited for advanced divers.


How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Getting to Ecuador can be relatively easy with lots of International flights flying straight to Guayaquil and Quito. We advise going directly to Guayaquil as it is nearer in terms of location.

From there, you can fly to Baltra Island Airport. Most of the liveaboards will have staff ready to meet you at the airport so you can immediately get situated and started on your exploration.

Other additional charges are:

  • Galapagos National Park Tax – $100 (cash only, payable upon arrival at Galapagos Airport)
  • a Tourist card – $20

Best Diving Itineraries in the Galapagos Islands

Short Galapagos Liveaboard Trips

Given how remote the Galapagos Islands are and the wealth of diving that is available, you can expect to spend about a week in the area even on a short trip.

Most liveaboard operators offer an 8-day itinerary, which means that you get to enjoy 6 full days of amazing diving in this beautiful region. The classic 8-day itinerary will take you to the best that the Galapagos has to offer, including the best dive seats in the area.

Liveaboards will typically offer 3 to 4 tanks per day, and you’ll also get 2 shore excursions as well. It’ll be a trip to remember!

Extended Galapagos Liveaboard Trips

If you have more time on your hands, go for the full Galapagos experience with an extended liveaboard trip. Selected Galapagos liveaboards offer an 11-day experience that is perfect for serious divers or underwater photography enthusiasts.

The additional days onboard give you the chance to spend more time on the islands of Darwin and Wolf, which offer some of the most exciting diving in the region. With more time underwater, you’ll have the opportunity to spot all the famous species in the Galapagos. Your trip will also likely include another shore excursion as well.

If you’re choosing an extended liveaboard trip in the Galapagos, be sure to take into account the area remote’s location and pack adequately.

Search for your dream Galapagos liveaboard now!

There you have it! Hopefully, this article has helped you compare these Galapagos liveaboards and find a suitable one for you.

For those looking for last-minute deals, or Divebooker offers greatly discounted prices which are worth checking out. Happy diving!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. That means that if you book any of the liveaboards above, we get a small commission at NO EXTRA COST to you. This commission will help us maintain this site so we can keep producing awesome free content for you.

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