Ecuador is also home to some of the most beautiful marine life in the world. Divers love to explore the popular underwater destinations where they can find underwater cliffs, various types of coral, and more. The Galapagos Marine Reserve, Machalilla National Park, and the Pacific Coast offer some of the most unique sites in world while showcasing the wonder of the South Pacific.
La Isla de la Plata
Even though people usually equate the Galapagos with Ecuador’s best diving spots, there are also some wonderful dive spots off the mainland coast, the best of which is around Isla de la Plata, an island about a two-hour boat ride away from Puerto López. This island, which is part of the Machalilla National Park, offers various diving destinations where one can see the awe-inspiring beauty of the South Pacific.Isla de la Plata is home to a variety of animals, even some that can also be found in the Galapagos. You can even find the famous spondylus oyster, which was used as a currency during Incan times.
The island has something for everyone with scuba diving and snorkeling options for everyone, including more advanced divers. And if you are a fan of whales, make sure to visit from June to October, when dive trips can be accompanied with whale watching. This island is also home to many different forms of marine life and fish including the Giant Manta Ray Birostris, Mola Mola (Sunfish), Yellow and Grey Butterfly fish, Black Angel fish, Sting Rays, Sea Bass, and lots of Coral Reef, in all sorts of different shapes and colors.
Some divers don’t even bother considering Puerto Lopez because Isla de la Plata is much closer to get to. However, Puerto Lopez offers outstanding scuba diving and snorkeling with some different sights and marine life to experience. Dive boat operators can take divers to different spots from the local reefs near the town to the Machalilla National Park which surrounds the beach, where visitors can spot a variety of tropical fish, sea turtles, stingrays, and sea cucumbers. If you visit during the whale watching months, you also might be lucky enough to hear the humpback whales singing underwater.
Puerto Lopez is also a great destination for any traveler as it offers a wide range of accommodations, restaurants, and facilities that can fit any budget.
Ayangue is a small fishing town in Santa Elena that is home to a horseshoe-shaped bay with tranquil waters. This town is the now seen as the new scuba diving mecca of southern Ecuador with spots for experienced divers and beginners. People from all over Ecuador and the world come to this serene coastal village to see the famous Sagrado Corazón de Jesús de las Aguas (the underwater statue of Christ) and take in the colorful coral and variety of marine life.
The best dive spot is at Islote El Pelado, which is located approximately 20 minutes from the coast. Here you can observe marine turtles, lobsters, octopus, reef sharks, manta rays, puffer fish, parrotfish, and unique coral. You may even have a chance to see the fluorescent sea weed, which always makes for a unique and beautiful dive.
The Galapagos Islands are a major attraction for tourists each year, known for its beauty and its unique flora and fauna visitors want to take in as much as they can. This means that a walking tour around the Island, just isn’t enough. If you want to take in everything Galapagos has to offer you will want to explore the various scuba diving options on the Island, which are available for intermediate and advanced level divers.
Scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands is truly an experience like no other and will take all your encounters with wildlife to the next level. Since the coral reef here has been shaped by the volcanic activity of the islands, the underwater landscape is much more diverse, wild, and unique than other resort reefs you may have encountered before. The variety of species that you may see while exploring the rocky inlets of the shores of the Galapagos islands certainly makes sense given the area’s reputation for diverse fauna.