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Dive Review of Scuba Iguana in
Galapagos Islands/Santa Cruz island

Scuba Iguana: "Amazing land-based diving in the Galapagos", Jun, 2018,

by Heather Rooney, CO, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 10499 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We spent 4 days diving with Scuba Iguana in June. We brought our two children, ages 12 and 15, who needed to do their final 2 checkout dives to be certified.
Land based diving on Santa Cruz does require quite a bit of land travel. For our 4 consecutive days, the routine was: meet at the dive shop in Puerto Ayora at 7:45, then we loaded into cabs for the 45 min ride to the pier. We loaded onto the boat and rode to the dive site, which was usually about an hour. The boat was very comfortable, and the crew was engaging and fun. The crew all spoke English and Spanish. The number of divers on the boat each day ranged from 6-9, and they were from all over the world. A thorough safety briefing was provided as well as an overview of the dive site. The crew was happy to help us don our gear. Divers who were new had to demonstrate a skill check on the first dive. The instructors that worked with my children were excellent and both received their certifications. How lucky to get certified in the Galapagos! A snack of tea, fruit and cookies was offered during the surface interval, and a full lunch after the 2nd dive. Lunches were homemade and delicious. They were comparable to the typical Ecuadorian “almuzero” and included meat, veggies and rice, potatoes or pasta. They accommodated my need for gluten-free food, which I very much appreciated! Our kids used their rental gear, while my husband and I brought our own gear. The staff took care of the gear each day, rinsing and hanging to dry, so we only had to schlep everything twice. The rental gear was in good condition and there were plenty of sizes to accommodate everyone.

Diving was amazing! I know that many Undercurrent subscribers are very experienced and most do liveaboards. This is a great way to see a lot of the “stars” of the Galapagos for a lower price. We were thrilled to see 2/3 animals from our bucket list – 2 hammerheads and 1 manta ray (only the whale shark remains!) We were enchanted by the incredible quantity of fish and turtles on EVERY dive. Schools of barracuda, tuna, rainbow runners, snapper, creole fish. Many bumphead parrotfish, rainbow wrasse. Bravo clinids, tons of blennies, trumpetfish, cornetfish, garden eels. Too many fish to list. Scorpionfish, turtles, sharks, eels, rays on every dive. Massive schools of fish that surrounded you. Tiny, electric-blue nudibranchs that clung to the rocks and hard coral. A pod of 20 dolphins that hung out with us for about 8 minutes. A whole squadron of mobula rays, and those adorable sea lions! One dive, we found a ledge at 40 ft., and 3 young sea lions showed up and performed for us, with a larger adult coming to check on them halfway through the 10 minute show. I never wanted to leave. During surface intervals, we were able to see many of the Galapagos wildlife: blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, magnificent frigate birds – males with their red pouch enlarged and wings flapping to attract a female, snoozing fur seals, and a Galapagos penguin. This was the best diving of my life and I can’t wait to go back someday, when the kids are gone, and do the liveaboard so I can see those whale sharks.

Puerto Ayora is a great town. We stayed at an AirBnb, which I highly recommend ([ link]). Cab rides in the town center are only $1.25 but you can walk pretty much everywhere. There are many restaurants and shops and a good grocery store. Most places only take cash, but there are plenty of ATMs. We visited the giant tortoises both at the Charles Darwin center and at an outlying ranch with an amazing restaurant. Tortuga Bay is one of the prettiest beaches anywhere, with some decent snorkeling if you don’t mind swimming a bit. It’s a great place to see marine iguanas on the sand and swimming. We saw a very juvenile white tip reef shark and a tiger snake eel while snorkeling in the bay on our last day.

If you can, spend some time on the mainland. We visited Quito and the equator museums, Otavalo market, and did a 3-day mountain bike tour in the Andes. Ecuador is an incredibly beautiful country with warm and welcoming people. If you are only going to the Galapagos, I would recommend flying in and out of Guayaquil instead of Quito because the airport is closer to the town which makes for easier and cheaper transfers between your hotel and the airport.
Websites Scuba Iguana   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Roatan, Bahamas, Florida, Hawaii
Closest Airport Baltra Getting There Denver to Quito; then Quito to Baltra. For our return flight to the US, we departed from Guyaquil.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 68-70°F / 20-21°C Wetsuit Thickness 7
Water Visibility 20-50 Ft/ 6-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions The entire group went down and surfaced with the divemaster. Notify divemaster when you get halfway (1500 psi) through your air.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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