Snorkeling at Champion Islet on Floreana

April 2019

 

Champion Islet is an extinct volcano off the coast of Floreana in the southern part of the archipelago that rises from the sea. It is just a few hundred meters away from Punta Cormorant and Post Office Bay.

It is considered to be one of the most outstanding snorkeling and diving spots on the Galapagos Islands. In the crystal clear water you can experience a unique view of the underwater world. When we snorkeled there, we saw some sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, rays and lots of colorful tropical fish.

Since Champion Islet is not protected from the currents like some other snorkeling spots, they can be felt more strongly. That makes the snorkeling both more exciting and more challenging.

How to get there?

Champion Islet is located on the south side of Floreana. It is accessible by a cruise ship and can also be visited during day trips which start from Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. You can even stay on Floreana as it is one of the four inhabited islands of the archipelago. We were on board of our cruise ship Santa Cruz II and reached Champion Islet in the afternoon.

Snorkeling in this underwater paradise

 

On our cruise ship we put on your snorkeling gear and wetsuits on and got on a panga, a small speedboat, which took us to the snorkeling spot at Champion Islet. Our guides instructed us to watch out for the currents and waves and told us to only snorkel with the currents around the cliffs of Champion Islet as it is almost impossible to swim back.

After the briefing we jumped into the dark blue crystal clear water and started snorkeling in this underwater paradise surrounded by all these magnificient animals. We snorkeled next to the steep underwater cliff around the island, where we saw lots of tropical fish and playful sea lions. Be careful not to get too close to the cliffs, though. You want to avoid the currents pushing you against the cliffs.

We continued following the edges of the cliff and at one point saw many people in our group who were very excited and were diving deeper into the water. When we did the same, we spotted a couple of sharks in the deep blue that always stayed down there. It is really fascinating to see these creatures up close.

After a while we reached a small coral formation with lots of tropical fish in a shallower part that lay between the steep cliffs. We snorkeled there for a while which was very relaxing as the currents are almost unnoticeable.

We continued snorkeling around the edges of the cliff, always surrounded by playful sea lions, colorful tropical fish and the great view of the underwater landscape. Finally, we ended up in a place where the water was pretty calm and after about an hour in the water, we hopped back on the panga.

As mentioned earlier, Champion Islet is an open sea snorkeling experience which makes it a great snorkeling destination as you can see lots of wildlife. However, we don't recommend this for inexperienced swimmers. While we felt extremely safe and well looked after, you have to put a lot of effort into staying on course and making sure you don't get too close to the cliff edges.

However, if you don't want to miss the underwater view, there is another way to explore this stunning place. Our cruise ship offered a tour with a glass bottom boat to admire the wildlife without getting wet.

 

LOGISTICS

Departure

Cruise ship, Floreana

Duration & Distance

1,5 hours

1 hour snorkeling

Cost

No extra charge

Equipment

Swim suit

Snorkeling gear

Underwater camera (optional)

TIPS

Bring enough (biodegradable) sun screen because normal sun screen will damage the reefs and hurt the wildlife.​