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Dive Review of Scuba Iguana/Hotel Fernandina in
Galapagos Islands/Santa Cruz Island (north of)

Scuba Iguana/Hotel Fernandina: "Scuba Iguana, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos - July 2018", Jul, 2018,

by Linda Burlak, MA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 10371 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Scuba Iguana was the only dive operator our experience tour company (CNH tours) would recommend. They have an efficient system, coming in the day before to get set with all gear; given the distance, very few divers bring much. We brought prescription masks but otherwise used their gear. Both 5 mm, and in my case since I get cold easily a 7 mm, wet suits are available. They provide booties with their fins; hoods and gloves apparently have to be asked for. All of Scuba Iguana�s dives seem to be north of Santa Cruz so the day starts and ends with an included 45 min. ride across the island from the town of Puerto Ayora to the canal where the boat is docked. Gear was in reasonable shape; a stuck pressure gauge on the first dive was quickly replaced. No instruction about the options for venting air from the BCD; once I figured out the shoulder and back vents, buoyancy was much easier.

We did two days of diving with them: the first day Seymour and Mosqueras which was a half-hour boat ride; the second Bartholome and Cousins which was more than an hour away. Seas were choppy: 4-5 feet, so it was a bouncy ride. The sites are set in rotation by the National Park. Both days had lots to see; the significant variability was the dive guide. The first day our dive guide was most interested in showing people sharks, so current, dive plan, profile, etc. were ignored in favor of going where the sharks would be. The second day, the guide was more interested in taking pictures, and thus followed the dive plan and went at a more leisurely and stable pace, making it easier to see many critters along the way (and we still saw sharks.) It was a much better day as a result. Day 1 made us uncertain about doing Day 2, but we�re really glad we did. Moderate currents mean every dive is a drift dive, and sometimes it can be kicking hard to move around if the current switches. The current and guide mean that it�s tough to take time to really watch small creatures for very long.

Entry from the boat is a coordinated backroll: divers sit on the edge between canopy supports and the guides help you gear up with BCD/tanks and fins. Exit involves first handing up weight belt and then fins, and then climbing back up; guides then remove tank and BCD before you move to your spot. The crew does all the set up and change over. If you are diving with them more than one day they have a bag for your fins, booties, mask, etc, and they take care of rinsing suits at the shop. A hot lunch is served at the end of the day, and hot tea or juice along with fruit is available between dives.

We saw an array of white-tip and black-tip sharks on both days, and hammerheads on the second day. Eagle rays on day one, and marble stingrays on day two. Tiger snake eel (dive guide said snake but it wasn�t.) Several turtles. Bartholome and Cousins had great volcanic ledges with lots of invertebrates tucked along them, including black coral, and many schools of fish. Good diving, just not easy diving. Other dive shops go south into Academy Bay directly from Puerto Ayora - might be easier, might not be as good sites.
Websites Scuba Iguana   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Florida, Hawaii, Caribbean, Bali, Northeast
Closest Airport Baltra (Santa Cruz) Getting There Via Quito or Guayquil in mainland Ecuador - several flights a day to the islands in the early morning.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 72-75°F / 22-24°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 40-60 Ft/ 12-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Within the Galapagos National Park, a dive guide seems to be a requirement for all diving.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments There is no camera table or rinse bucket so you�re on your own there. There are cubbies where you can tuck your camera out of the way but the bouncy ride means you're better off holding it while traveling. Crew was reasonably careful about handing cameras up, but it was hard to get cameras handed down at the start. Rinse it well back at your hotel!
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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