Snorkeling at Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela

April 2019

 

Punta Vicente Roca is a very remote place and one of the best snorkeling spots in the archipelago with calm, crystal clear water that offers excellent visibility. At Punta Vicente Roca you have the opportunity to observe abundant wildlife like sea turtles, penguins, sea lions, rays, sharks, Nazca boobies and flightless cormorants and to enjoy a spectacular view of the forces of nature as two tectonic plates move towards one another and thereby create this impressive landscape.

How to get there?

Punta Vicente Roca is located in the north on the west side of Isabela, 200 km from the nearest inhabited areas. It is not possible to reach this place on a day trip. The only way to visit Punta Vicente Roca is to take a cruise (usually on the west route) on the archipelago. However, you should check if your tour stops here, since only a few cruise ships do because it takes a long time to get there and the sea can be rough.

We were on board of Santa Cruz II, our cruise ship, and had left Santa Cruz the evening before. On the way we crossed the equator twice and finally reached Punta Vicente Roca in the morning. We started exploring the coast right after breakfast. We got on a smaller boat, also called panga, and explored the coast.

Discovering the landscape and wildlife during the panga ride

 

Only panga rides and snorkeling are allowed at this place and it isn't possible to dock here and walk around.

 

Our panga drove along the coast and into the cave and we explored this impressive scenery and their inhabitants up close. Our guide explained that the landscape was created because two tectonic plates move towards each other, one plate sliding under the other and thereby lifting it up.

 

As we drove along the edges of the cliffs, we saw many penguins, Nazca boobies and sea lions on the rocks and we spotted lots of sea lions, sea turtles and even some penguins swimming on the surface of the water. Our captain drove around each site to ensure everyone had a perfect view.

 

We spent about an hour in the panga and then returned to our cruise ship just to start the next excursion immediately.

Snorkeling with sea turtles and Galapagos penguins​

 

We  grabbed our bags with snorkeling gear and wetsuit, got in the panga and drove back to the cliffs. Our captain dropped us off close to the coastline and we jumped into the water immediately and started exploring this incredible underwater world. Punta Vicente Roca is one of the best snorkeling spots in the archipelago. The water was clear and offered excellent visibility. In addition, there were almost no currents, so swimmers of all experience levels can snorkel there.

 

We snorkeled along the cliffs and didn't have to search long for the first sea turtle. In fact, we saw so many sea turtles and tropical fish and as we approached the rock we met the cute penguins again that we saw on our panga ride. Some of the other snorkelers got so close to them that the penguins started picking their cameras.

 

After about an hour we returned to our cruise ship and an unforgettable morning on the Galapagos Islands ended.

 

LOGISTICS

Departure

Cruise ship, Isabela

Duration & Distance

2,5 hours

1,5 hours snorkeling

1 hour panga ride 

Cost

No extra charge

Equipment

Swim suit

Sun screen

Camera (optional)

Underwater camera (optional)

TIPS

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

Bring your underwater camera and your good camera. You can keep it dry and safe on the boat while you are snorkeling.