The Galapagos Islands are often just viewed as a place to go and observe animals and bird life. While a Galapagos Islands cruise is no doubt the trip of a lifetime, there are other lesser-known activities to do here. These can be fun and exhilarating. In the Galapagos extreme sports can be found if you know where to look for them. Galapagos surfing is one option, and Galapagos sea kayaking another.
We will also look at SCUBA diving, biking and SUP options. For everything you need to know about adventure sports in the Galapagos Islands, read on. This guide will cover the types of activities you can do and where you can expect to find them.
Galapagos surfing can be found mainly on San Cristobal Island and Santa Cruz Island. Galapagos surfing is enjoyable because it does not tend to get very crowded compared to some of the other spots on the Ecuadorian mainland coast line. Surfers rate the activity as being best from San Cristobal Island, highlighting in particular, surfing spots at La Carola, Loberia and Tongo Reef. Waves average between three to six feet, but can at times get up to 15 feet. The best swells are mostly found on the northwest and southwest sides of the island. Not all of the surf spots are very easy to access, but that makes them all the more worthwhile when you do get there!
Surfing is possible in the Galapagos Islands all year around. However, the best surf is to be had in the warmer, wetter season, between December and March. That said, any time of year offers decent surf. It is worth bearing in mind that between June and December the seas can be quite chilly.
Sea kayaking in Galapagos is another much-enjoyed pursuit here. There is a lot to be said for kayaking as you can get a unique view of the marine life, in a small, quiet boat – a different experience altogether from swimming or snorkeling. It is worth knowing that only a few operators have secured kayaking permits, and there are some limits to where you can do this activity.
An excellent spot for kayaking is Darwin Bay at San Cristobal Island. As well as enjoying all the fun of the waves, you will be likely to come across a variety of wildlife that includes sea lions, sea turtles, boobies and frigate birds. However, this is not the only place to kayak near San Cristobal Island. It is possible to kayak to Los Lobos with some operators too.
Aside from San Cristobal, it is also possible to sea kayak from Isabela Island and in some spots from Santa Cruz. One beautiful place to kayak is through the Las Tintoreras islets off Isabela Island, with chances to see sharks and marine iguanas along the way.
SCUBA diving in the Galapagos Islands is a bucket list dream for many divers. The diving here is among the best in the world. Given the unique combination of various ocean currents that meet around the islands, the variety of sea life is quite astonishing. You should be aware that you cannot just dive from any Galapagos yacht, and you will need to take a liveaboard boat. Some good boats include Humboldt Explorer, Astrea, Galapagos Sky, Nortada and the Galapagos Master. For those who are enjoying Galapagos land-based options, we can help you organize diving trips near the habited islands of San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. Alternatively, if you want to dive on a Galapagos Islands cruise, the best option will be a live aboard boat, and we can also help you organize this.
For some, the sport of choice is biking, and the good news is that biking can also be done in the Galapagos Islands. Options for biking can be found on San Cristobal Island in the highlands. You can take an organized trip from where you bike to the beach. This tour heads mostly downhill, so is relatively easy. Biking also offers a good alternative to walking for getting to the Wall of Tears sight on Isabela Island – and it is not possible to take motorized transport to this spot. The trail follows the at various points and is very pretty. Yet another spot for biking is to the Asilo de La Paz on Floreana Island.
There are also a handful of companies that offer stand up paddle boarding (SUP) in the Galapagos Islands. Like kayaking, this provides a lovely opportunity to see the marine life from different angles. One good place to rent a board or to find a trip to do SUP is in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island.
If you decide to go on a sea kayaking tour in the Galapagos, it is worth looking for small groups and ratios with less visitors per guide. This will allow you to get more out of the trip because it will mean you are more likely to be near a guide when you see wildlife. It is also worth being aware that for most of these types of activities there will be some restrictions on what you are able to do. This is for good reason as it helps the Galapagos National Park to ensure the wildlife and its habitats and ecosystems are preserved. Therefore, in many cases, going with an organized tour may be essential, or will be highly recommended. For some surf spots you might need to sort out permits in advance.
If seeing the Galapagos Islands for you must include extreme adventures such as kayaking, surfing or others, then we can help you find the best trip to meet your needs. One option to consider might be our Galapagos Multisport Package for 8 days which includes hiking, biking, kayaking and snorkeling, as well as seeing the local wildlife along the way. Contact us to find out more.