Diving Jardines de la Reina in Cuba

Diving Jardines de la Reina in Cuba

Jardines de la Reina in Cuba is the most preserved area in the Caribbean and belongs to the best diving spots in the world. Join Josef Litt aboard Avalon Fleet II and enjoy six days of diving with sharks, crocodiles and giant groupers. Download leaflet.

5 – 15 March 2020

Price: 115,990 Kč (approx. £3,990)

The price includes:

  • Return flight from Prague, Munich or Vienna. The operator will book your flights from anywhere in the world.
  • 7-day trip aboard M/Y Avalon Fleet II, diving Jardines de la Reina
  • Two nights in Havana in the hotel with breakfast
  • Price is based on two people sharing the Standard cabin
  • Full-board with snacks, hot and cold drinks
  • Weights, weight-belts and tanks with air

The price does not include:

  • Additional hotel accommodation if required due to flight schedules
  • Travel and compulsory diving insurance (we recommend DAN)
  • Rental of diving equipment
  • Nitrox €100 for all dives
  • Tips for the crew and guides €250-€300
  • Entry visa to Cuba – must be arranged in advance
  • Other not listed services

Jardines de la Reina Diving Expedition is organised by SPARK AIRTICKETS, s.r.o., Prague, Czech Republic.

Destination Details
Jardines de la Reina was declared a Marine Park in 1996. The Cuban Sciences and Environment Ministry preserved this area for future generations as a complex network of pristine marine ecosystems. Many knowledgeable scientists and organisations have regarded it as a reference of what is the original state of a coral reef; as Christopher Columbus found it in the times of the discovery.

An underwater paradise is all that comes to mind when you first enter the water. Imagine the vertical walls covered with brightly hued sponges, huge Pilar Corals, black corals extending its branches in the blue water — many species of gorgonians, fragile laminar corals showing their beautiful shapes through crevices, canyons and caves. The mangroves provide an incredible nursery area for young fish populations, filtering the water that goes to the reef and in return receiving protection from the energy of open ocean waves; all interconnected in a very fragile network that helps to keep its variety, richness and splendour.

The most significant populations of adult fish in the Caribbean, sharks, snappers and groupers; jewfish up to 400 pounds are an everyday experience. Sharks are one of the main attractions and you can see them everywhere. You can easily dive with six different species: silkies, reef, lemon, black-tip, hammerhead and nurse sharks. From July to November you have a chance to encounter whale sharks. Gardens of the Queen is indeed one of the last virgin reefs known by man. Dive and snorkel sites are well protected from the winds and sea currents. Visibility may reach more than 40 meters. There is a wide variety of fish and corals.

The Gardens of the Queen Marine Park is a beautiful place, both in and out of the water. This protected area is probably the most important group of islands in the Caribbean, integrated by one million-acre wetland. Besides, this marine park acts as a critical refuge for North American birds migrating along the route through Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to South America. This wildlife sanctuary hosts more than 68 species of migratory birds.

Boat Details

Jardines Avalon II has ten deluxe comfortable staterooms with air conditioning and individual thermostats. All cabins have private bathrooms and two beds (one full, one twin). The vessel has an overall capacity of 20 passengers and 9 crew members. The design and interior decor give the yacht a touch of intimacy, refinement, a sense of warmth and simplicity. Each space is created to provide its guests with maximum comfort and safety. The boat guarantees all our guests a pleasant, exciting and exclusive cruise through Jardines de la Reina. Each room has panoramic windows to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Caribbean beaches.

There is a spacious and comfortable lounge, dining room and bar area on the boat deck. In cabins and common areas, you will find European and American sockets (220 V and 110 V).

Jardines Avalon II offers a lot of space for dive equipment and photo and video cameras. On the top deck, a Jacuzzi (500-gallon hot tub) offers a panoramic view; an ideal space to drink a mojito after the last dive at sunset.

In Jardines de la Reina, our season is year round. A normal week includes 22 dives from Sunday to Friday ( 4 dives/day + 2 on Friday, night dives are included in the package); return to the mainland is on Saturday. It is possible to book extra dives on request. Nitrox and DIN adaptors are available onboard.

Tipping is widespread in Cuba. Many Cuban workers rely on tips to supplement their basic income and they all work really hard. Tips help them get a better lifestyle. So if you receive good service, it is a very good etiquette to tip accordingly. Avalon Fleet recommends a tip of $400-$450 per person.

We would like to remind you that we do not accept credit cards. You will need cash for any purchases and gratuities. You can easily exchange money at the airport or at any bank for CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos). The best currency to bring on your trip to Cuba is Euros. At present, there is a 10% penalty in addition to the exchange rate for US dollars.

Boat specifications

  • Renovated in 2014
  • Length: 40 meters
  • Top speed: 15 knots
  • Cruising speed: 12 knots
  • Max guests: 20
  • Number of cabins with bathrooms: 10
  • Tenders 12 m long with 2 Yamaha 150 hp engines each
  • Non-Diver (snorkeler) friendly

Boat features

  • Leisure deck, shaded diving deck and sun deck
  • Air-conditioned saloon and cabins
  • Outdoor Dining
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Laundry service
  • Audio & video entertainment
  • TV in cabins
  • Warm water showers
  • Separate rinse tank for u/w cameras
  • Hot Tub

Food & Drinks

  • Local, western and vegetarian fine cuisine
  • Beer and selection of wines
  • Snacks all day

Boat navigation, communication and safety features

  • Radar, depth sounder, GPS
  • Radio VHF/DSC/SSB
  • Emergency rafts, life vests
  • Fire Alarm & Fire Extinguishers
  • Fishfinder
  • Bilge pump alarm
  • Engine room CCTV
  • Detroit Diesel power generator with twin generators
  • Twin Bauer air compressors with cascade filling station and a Brownie NitroxMaker™ system with cascade filling station.
  • Oxygen, first aid kits
  • Crew trained in first aid
Typical Itinerary

There are 80 diving spots that have been discovered to date; all well protected from wind and marine currents. Modern skiffs are used to organize excursions to lagoons and boat rides through mangrove channels around the archipelago.

Some of the most prominent dive sites are detailed hereunder.

Pipín

At the mooring buoy, the reef is 15 meters deep, forming impressive canyons and caves that run perpendicular to the coastline until they reach 24 meters of depth at the edge of the drop-off. At this point, the reef is very colourful and alive, with huge schools of grunts patrolling the border of the abyss; many jacks; silver tarpons in groups of 10-50 coming straight at you and then making a swift turn 5 inches away from your mask, along with turtles, eagle rays flying near the wall and sometimes a lonely three-meter-long great hammerhead coming up from the deep to take a quick look at the divers and then disappearing into the blue. In the meantime, as divers go around the canyons, a group of 10-12 silky sharks keep swimming close to the surface near the boat; then, during the safety stop, they come to get an eyeful of the divers.

Farallón

This is one of the best dives in Jardines de la Reina. Farallón is a giant coral mountain 17 meters deep at the top and divided into four parts by tunnels that run across and end at a white sandy bottom of 29 meters. These tunnels are about 30 m. long, 3 m. wide and 10 m. high, with an opening at the top that allows the sunlight to pour through, creating a spectacular show of light and shapes, giving the diver the feeling of flying across another world. Same species as in Pipín plus the reef shark (Carcharinus perezi) swimming close to the bottom.

Vicente

Dive along the drop-off, with coral mountains at the edge descending from 20 m. to 40 m. and then to the abyss (800 m.). Visibility is more than 40 meters. You can find massive black coral colonies in the wall; also, the mysterious and shy great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) sometimes emerges from the blue to show its incredible body shape and elegance.

Black Coral I and II

These two dives are the most exciting! Minimum depth is 24 meters on top of the reef, then a sandy bottom at 30 m. Channels run across the reef perpendicular to the coast, until they reach the drop-off; at this place, there is a resident population of more than 30 reef sharks (Carcharinus perezi) that get very close to the divers (sometimes 10 inches away from the mask). After 15 minutes of breathless watching these creatures, while they swim around, the dive continues close to the coral formations and sandy channels with sleeping stingrays (Dasyatis americana), parrotfish, big black groupers and tons of jacks swimming near divers until the end of the dive.

Josef is a contributor to various publications. In its Spring 2019 issue, DIVE Magazine in the UK printed Josef’s article based on his extensive travel in Cuba.

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Whisky Tour Scotland: Peated Academy

Whisky Tour Scotland: Peated Academy

Whisky Tour to Scotland’s Edinburgh and the Isle of Islay

07 – 10 June 2019

Scotland, the land of ancient legends. Home of the fierce clans fighting with each other and for their independence. An archipelago of 790 islands. The centre of Enlightenment, which gave the world a steam engine and with it the industrial revolution. Cradle of golf and, last but not least, Scotch whisky.

The art of spirit distillation came to Europe from Arabia sometime in the 6th century AD. The first people to try the distillation process in Europe were Irish or Scottish monks or perhaps Vikings. The first distillation of Aqua Vitae, or Uisge Beatha in Galician, is mentioned in the 1494 tax records.

The production of Scotch whisky goes through cycles of prosperity and decline. At present, there are over one hundred whisky distilleries in Scotland ranging from the smallest to industrial behemoths.

Only the Best

The best way to get to know the Scottish whisky culture is to taste this elixir right from the source at a distillery. Whisky and whiskey offer the most extensive variety of taste amongst spirits. It is said that there is Scotch for everyone. One only needs to find it.

You may know everything about whisky, or perhaps you had a bad experience in the past, but you will undoubtedly love this trip. We will guide you through the basics, but we will always taste the best whisky, so even the basics will be most enjoyable by the discernible connoisseur.

We will taste whisky in the world’s leading society and visit the legendary distilleries on the Isle of Islay, the whisky cradle in Scotland. We will focus on single malt whisky, in many cases of the highest quality, i.e. single cask, undiluted, non-filtered and uncoloured.

Something Extra

The tour will be lead by Josef Litt, member of Scotch Malt Whisky Society, whisky investor and an experienced organiser of tastings and excursions to the distilleries. Josef prepared an extraordinary program and will take us to places not accessible to ordinary distillery visitors.

Amongst others, we will taste single cask malts in private club of The Vaults in Edinburgh. When on Islay, we will sample Laphroaig whisky straight from the barrels. We will experience an exclusive tour of the Ardbeg distillery not found in any price list.

What awaits us?

Our itinerary covers the best the distilleries have to offer during an extended weekend. Edinburgh is the best place to learn about the variety of Scotch whisky and the Isle of Islay offers the highest concentration of first-class experiences for whisky lovers.

  • We visit the historic Vaults in Edinburgh, accessible exclusively to members of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and their guests.

  • We fly to Isle of Islay for the legendary Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Bowmore distilleries.

  • You may choose to become a friend of Laphroaig and receive one square foot of Islay. You will also fill your small bottle of whisky from a cask of your choice.

  • Ardbeg distillery reached its cult status thanks to the uncompromising quality of its whiskies. We will be taken care of by legendary Jackie Thompson or master distiller Mickey Heads.

Price and Conditions

We prepared the itinerary in cooperation with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and the distilleries as mentioned earlier. In spite of all efforts, SMWS or distillery operators may change the plan for unpredictable reasons and without prior notice.

Organised by SPARK AIRTICKETS, s.r.o., Prague, Czech Republic.

Price: £1,430 from Edinburgh airport.

We will gladly book your flights to Edinburgh.

Price includes:

  • Pickup at Edinburgh airport and transfer to hotel.

  • Return flight from Edinburgh to Isle of Islay (return to Glasgow possible on request)

  • Accommodation *** including breakfast in Edinburgh and on Islay

  • All transfers within the programme

  • Tasting of single cask whiskies in The Vaults of Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Edinburgh

  • Special tastings in Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bowmore a Lagavulin distilleries

  • English and Czech speaking tour leaders

  • Services of tour agency delegate

  • Travel agency insurance

Price does not include:

  • Accommodation if required by changes in the flight itinerary

  • Individual travel insurance

  • Meals, except breakfasts provided with accommodation

  • Additional programme requested by clients

  • Any other services not listed here

Request Booking

Galapagos Diving Expedition aboard Majestic Explorer

Galapagos Diving Expedition aboard Majestic Explorer

World-class Galapagos diving with hammerheads and sharks at Wolf and Darwin Island, and also with marine iguanas at Fernandina. Seven nights aboard the luxury-class yacht Majestic Explorer.

18 January – 25 January 2020

Combine with the Island Cruise into a two-week trip of a lifetime and save £750!

Contact Scuba Travel in the UK for info and booking.

Price: £4,995 (flights excluded)

Destination Details

Galapagos Diving

The Galapagos have earned a strong reputation as one of the ultimate liveaboard diving destinations and not without reason. This low-lying volcanic chain was not only Darwin’s inspiration. It is home to diving the like of which you cannot find elsewhere on the planet. The marine life is unique with sharks, rays, sea lions, iguanas, penguins. Watch tuna, salema, snapper, rainbow runners and sail fins dart around the reef – if you can tear your eyes off the ocean’s larger inhabitants. This is every diver’s wish list come true before your eyes. Set your sights on some of the best liveaboard diving you will ever encounter and sail into the intoxicating world of diving in the Galapagos.

There are three distinctive types of underwater environment in the Galapagos Islands. It’s almost as if you were in three different dive destinations.

The Humboldt Current from the South washes the southern and central islands with pretty cold but reasonably clear and blue water (23–24 °C). Expect stunning dive sites such as Cousin Rock and Cabo Marshall, with eagle rays, mobulas and huge mantas, as well as endless large schools of brightly coloured surgeon fish and snappers, and of course the ever-present playful sea lions.

The cold Cromwell Current upwells at the western side of Isabela. Here the water is quite chilly (18–22 °C) and green. Explore the fumaroles (thermal vents) at Roca Redonda. Punta Vicente Roca is another fantastic dive site in that area with a sunfish cleaning station in 30 m depths. Dive with feeding marine iguanas at Cabo Douglas on Fernandina.

But the massive Galapagos diving action is in the north at Darwin and Wolf. Here the water can be 26-27 °C as these islands are warmed by the equatorial Panama current. Before you even get in the water, there is a chance of encountering dolphins and orcas from your liveaboard. Diving under the iconic Darwin Arch is thrilling. Rocky and unwelcoming above the water line, beneath awaits a truly inspiring scene. Three full days are spent at these two islands, getting to grips with every nook and cranny. Hammerheads are the first and foremost attraction, schooling in vast numbers around the submerged pinnacles of Wolf and Darwin. Galapagos sharks are common too, slinky and svelte nipping in and out of the reef life. White-tips hide in the reef from the larger predators. If you like your fish even bigger, whale sharks are seasonally seen in the blue, munching on plankton along with manta, mobula and eagle rays. Look out for a tiger shark in the shallows!

The itineraries may be subject to minor changes at short notice by the Marine Park Authorities. However, a substantial part of every trip is spent at Wolf and Darwin and some dives in the other areas. The current permission covers Isla Lobos, Cousin Rock, Bartolome, Cabo Douglas, Punta Vicente Roca, Pinzon, Wolf and Darwin.

Every diver should certainly experience the Galapagos diving for themselves, but the diving is not suited to novice divers. Wolf and Darwin are the furthest points on the itinerary and divers need to be comfortable in currents and zodiac diving. Thermoclines are common, but these are what draw the overwhelming numbers of big fish closer. Dive guides are experts in their fields – not only do they know how to make sure you have a safe and excellent dive trip, but they are also hugely knowledgeable about the marine life and eager to share! Please check with your travel consultant about the required safety equipment.

The Galapagos is a once in a lifetime trip, and the best diving can only be accessed from liveaboards on either 7 or 10-night liveaboard options. This is the only way to travel and dive in comfort, visiting all the hot spots and highlights of this remarkable corner of the globe. Sail the oceans blue and prepare to be left breathless.

Boat Details

Launching in August 2018, Majestic Explorer builds on the Explorer Ventures Fleet and all their years operating in the Galapagos. We welcome this modern, elegant liveaboard to one of the top diving destinations in the world. Your Galapagos diving adventure will encompass everything from sharks to nudibranchs, as well as the unique marine life you can only find in this remote part of the globe. Stop day-dreaming – it is time to make your diving dreams come true.

Majestic Explorer is a spacious 36 m liveaboard, sleeping only 16 divers across two decks. There are eight air-conditioned rooms located on the main and lower decks, all with en-suite bathrooms, soap and shampoo. No matter which cabin you have, you will love the ocean view windows, letting the light flood into your cabin. Six of the eight cabins have twin beds, and all cabins can be converted to queen beds for couples. Please do let your Galapagos diving travel consultant know your preference at the time of booking.

The communal areas have been thoughtfully designed. She features a partially covered sun deck with a jacuzzi and ample seating, salon area with dining, bar and entertainment area. The all important dive deck in generous, and features a bathroom, large camera table with charging station, individual storage areas, rinse bins for cameras and another for gear. All dives are made from the two large pangas (tenders), which are easily boarded from the dive deck

Typical Itinerary

Galapagos Diving

Saturday: Baltra (1 Check Out Dive at Punta Carrion)
Guests fly to the Galapagos Islands from mainland Ecuador, arriving in the late morning. The dive guides will meet the guests at the airport and escort them to the Majestic Explorer. Guests will board the vessel, have lunch and listen to the briefings. After the briefings, the guests will do a check-out dive at Punta Carrion. After dinner, the ship will depart to the next scheduled destination.

Sunday: Baltra North (2 Dives)
6:30 and 9:30 dives
Sightings include rays and schools of fish.
Afternoon North Seymour land visit. Walk the path around North Seymour Island to see the vast colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds. Sighting of sea lions and marine iguanas are also common.
Depart for western islands. (long transit)

Monday: Cabo Douglas (2 Dives)
Sightings include marine iguanas.
Transit to Punta Vicente Roca
Punta Vicente Roca (2 Dives)
Sightings often include mola mola, turtles and macro life.
Depart for northern islands (long transit).

Tuesday: Wolf Island (4 Dives)
6:30, 10:30. 2:00 and 4:30 dives. Possible night dive.
Sightings often include hammerheads, whale sharks (in season), eagle rays, sea lions, Galapagos sharks and silky sharks.

Wednesday: Darwin Island (4 Dives)
6:30, 10:30, 2:00 and 4:30 dives
Sightings often include hammerheads, whale sharks (in season) eagle rays, Galapagos sharks and silky sharks.
Transit to Wolf Island

Thursday: Wolf Island (3 Dives)
6:30, 9:00 and 11:00 dives
Sightings often include hammerheads, whale sharks (in season), eagle rays, Galapagos sharks and silky sharks.
Long transit to Cousin’s Rock (20+ hours)

Friday: Cousin’s Rock (1-2 Dives)
6:30 and 9:30 dives (number of dives dependent on travel time from Wolf Island)
This is excellent macro diving with an excellent chance of seeing seahorses, sea lions and eagle rays. Lunch will be served while transiting to Santa Cruz (3 hours). Travel by bus to the Santa Cruz Highlands to visit the giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Transfer to the town of Puerto Ayora. Dinner on your own in Puerto Ayora. Return to the Majestic Explorer at 8:30 pm.

Saturday: Baltra
Depart the vessel by 9 am. Transfer to the airport.

Gallery of Galapagos Photographs

Galapagos photographs from Josef Litt’s many trips to the islands. Most of the images, underwater or land-based, were not published anywhere else.

Freezing for Galapagos Wildlife

Varied underwater environments in different parts of the archipelago offer stunning encounters with Galapagos wildlife in both, warm and cold waters. An entertaining account of encounters with Galapagos wildlife on their rather cold side.

Galapagos Diving Expedition aboard Majestic Explorer

18 January – 25 January 2020

World-class diving with Josef Litt to encounter hammerheads and Galapagos sharks at Wolf and Darwin Island, and also marine iguanas at Fernandina. Seven nights aboard the luxury-class yacht Majestic Explorer.

Combine with the Island Cruise into a two-week trip of a lifetime and save £750!

Price: £4,995 (flights excluded)

Galapagos Cruise aboard Majestic Explorer

25 January – 1 February 2020

Explore eight islands with Josef Litt to see their volcanic vistas, giant tortoises, marine iguanas and bird colonies. Snorkel with turtles, rays and perhaps even sharks. Seven nights aboard the luxury-class yacht Majestic Explorer.

Combine with the Diving Expedition into a two-week trip of a lifetime and save £750!

Price: £4,745 (flights excluded)

Sold Out: Galapagos Diving Expedition aboard Pingüino Explorer

04–13 November 2019

Enjoy world-class diving with Josef Litt to encounter hammerheads and whale sharks at Wolf and Darwin Island, and also marine iguanas at Fernandina. Seven nights aboard the economy-class yacht Pingüino Explorer. Includes flights from Prague or a nearby airport.

Price: 135,000 Kč (approx. £4,700)

Galapagos Cruise aboard Majestic Explorer

Galapagos Cruise aboard Majestic Explorer

Explore eight islands with their volcanic vistas, giant tortoises, marine iguanas and bird colonies. Snorkel with turtles, rays and perhaps even sharks. Seven-nights Galapagos Cruise aboard the luxury-class yacht Majestic Explorer. Flights can be arranged by the operator from anywhere in the world.

25 January – 1 February 2020

Combine with the Diving Expedition into a two-week trip of a lifetime and save £750!

Contact Scuba Travel in the UK for info and booking.

Price: £4,745 (flights excluded)

Destination Details

Galapagos Cruise

The Galapagos Cruise itinerary is tailored to give you the most out of your once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The pace of the tour takes into account the needs of photographers and natural history enthusiasts. We strive to provide you with more extended island visits than most operators and land on shore earlier in the day for best photographic opportunities.

You will be accompanied by the Naturalist Guide required by the Galapagos National Park. Additionally, Josef Litt, author of GALAPAGOS and your Expedition Leader will share with you the intriguing history of the island, point out often naughty animal behaviour and help you to bring home the best photographs you can get.

The Galapagos Cruise days usually start early with a morning excursion to a visitor site to be back on the boat before it gets too hot on land. The time before lunch can be spent snorkelling. Depending on the location, lunch is followed by a zodiac cruise or, again, snorkelling. Afternoon excursion to land will end by 6 pm when the National Park closes. The expedition leader will give an evening talk before or just after dinner, followed by the Naturalist Guide’s briefing for the next day.

Galapagos Cruise trips belong to the more active holidays. The trails on land are about a mile to a mile and a half in length ranging from a “walk on the beach” to traversing uneven lava rock or climbing stairs to a viewing platform 144 m above sea level. Crew members are always there to assist with stepping off the yacht down into the inflatable boat and from the boat to a lava dock or on the beach for wet landing.

Snorkelling on Galapagos is unlike anywhere else in the world. Inquisitive animals often come close to the snorkellers to play and explore. Close encounters with sea lions, sea turtles, pelicans, marine iguanas and sometimes even penguins and flightless cormorants make for a fantastic experience and excellent photographic opportunities. Bring your underwater camera!

You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the Galapagos Cruise to the fullest. However, anyone is free to opt-out from a part of the programme be it a landing, snorkelling or an evening talk, and to enjoy some quiet time.

Boat Details

Launching in August 2018, Majestic Explorer builds on the Explorer Ventures Fleet and all their years operating in the Galapagos. We welcome this modern, elegant liveaboard to one of the top nature and diving destinations in the world. Stop day-dreaming – it is time to make your Galapagos Cruise dreams come true.

Majestic Explorer is a spacious 36 m liveaboard, sleeping only 16 people across two decks. There are eight air-conditioned rooms located on the main and lower decks, all with en-suite bathrooms, soap and shampoo. No matter which cabin you have, you will love the ocean view windows, letting the light flood into your cabin. Six of the eight cabins have twin beds, and all cabins can be converted to queen beds for couples. Please do let your Galapagos Cruise travel consultant know your preference at the time of booking.

The communal areas have been thoughtfully designed. She features a partially covered sun deck with a jacuzzi and ample seating, salon area with dining, bar and entertainment area. The all important dive and snorkelling deck is generous and features a bathroom, large camera table with charging station, individual storage areas, rinse bins for cameras and another for gear. All landings and dives are made from the two large pangas (tenders), which are easily boarded from the dive deck.

Typical Itinerary

Galapagos Cruise Itinerary

SATURDAY: A.M. Santiago, Bahía Sullivan P.M. Rábida SUNDAY: A.M. Santa Cruz, Playa de las Bachas P.M. Baltra Northeast MONDAY: A.M. Plaza Sur P.M. Bartolomé, Punta Bartolomé TUESDAY: A.M. Fernandina, Punta Espinoza P.M. Isabela, Bahía Urbina WEDNESDAY A.M. Isabela, Bahía Elizabeth P.M. Isabela, Punta Moreno THURSDAY: A.M. Isabela, Caleta Tagus P.M. Isabela, Punta Vicente Roca FRIDAY: A.M. Fernandina, Cabo Marshall P.M. Isabela, Playa Espumilla, Caleta Bucanero

Freezing for Galapagos Wildlife

Varied underwater environments in different parts of the archipelago offer stunning encounters with Galapagos wildlife in both, warm and cold waters. An entertaining account of encounters with Galapagos wildlife on their rather cold side.

read more

Galapagos Diving Expedition aboard Majestic Explorer

18 January – 25 January 2020

World-class diving with Josef Litt to encounter hammerheads and Galapagos sharks at Wolf and Darwin Island, and also marine iguanas at Fernandina. Seven nights aboard the luxury-class yacht Majestic Explorer.

Combine with the Island Cruise into a two-week trip of a lifetime and save £750!

Price: £4,995 (flights excluded)

read more

Galapagos Cruise aboard Majestic Explorer

25 January – 1 February 2020

Explore eight islands with Josef Litt to see their volcanic vistas, giant tortoises, marine iguanas and bird colonies. Snorkel with turtles, rays and perhaps even sharks. Seven nights aboard the luxury-class yacht Majestic Explorer.

Combine with the Diving Expedition into a two-week trip of a lifetime and save £750!

Price: £4,745 (flights excluded)

read more

Sold Out: Galapagos Diving Expedition aboard Pingüino Explorer

04–13 November 2019

Enjoy world-class diving with Josef Litt to encounter hammerheads and whale sharks at Wolf and Darwin Island, and also marine iguanas at Fernandina. Seven nights aboard the economy-class yacht Pingüino Explorer. Includes flights from Prague or a nearby airport.

Price: 135,000 Kč (approx. £4,700)

read more
Sold Out: Galapagos Diving Expedition aboard Pingüino Explorer

Sold Out: Galapagos Diving Expedition aboard Pingüino Explorer

World-class Galapagos diving with hammerheads and whale sharks at Wolf and Darwin Island, and also with marine iguanas at Fernandina. Seven nights aboard the economy-class yacht Pingüino Explorer. The expedition is led by Josef Litt, author and photographer.

Find out more about the islands and Josef’s book GALÁPAGOS, the best travel guide to the archipelago ever written.

04–13 November 2019

Organised by SPARK AIRTICKETS, s.r.o., Prague, Czech Republic.

Price: 135,000 Kč (approx. £4,700)

Includes flights from Prague or a nearby airport.

Destination Details

Galapagos diving

The Galapagos have earned a strong reputation as one of the ultimate liveaboard diving destinations and not without reason. This low-lying volcanic chain was not only Darwin’s inspiration. It is home to diving the like of which you cannot find elsewhere on the planet. The marine life is unique with sharks, rays, sea lions, iguanas, penguins. Watch tuna, salema, snapper, rainbow runners and sail fins dart around the reef – if you can tear your eyes off the ocean’s larger inhabitants. This is every diver’s wish list come true before your eyes. Set your sights on some of the best liveaboard diving you will ever encounter and sail into the intoxicating world of diving in the Galapagos.

There are three distinctive types of underwater environment in the Galapagos Islands. It’s almost as if you were in three different dive destinations.

The Humboldt Current from the South washes the southern and central islands with pretty cold but reasonably clear and blue water (23–24 °C). Expect stunning dive sites such as Cousin Rock and Cabo Marshall, with eagle rays, mobulas and huge mantas, as well as endless large schools of brightly coloured surgeonfish and snappers, and of course the ever-present playful sea lions.

The cold Cromwell Current upwells at the western side of Isabela. Here the water is quite chilly (18–22 °C) and green. Explore the fumaroles (thermal vents) at Roca Redonda. Punta Vicente Roca is another fantastic dive site in that area with a sunfish cleaning station in 30 m depths. Dive with feeding marine iguanas at Cabo Douglas on Fernandina.

But the massive Galapagos diving action is in the north at Darwin and Wolf. Here the water can be 26-27 °C as these islands are warmed by the equatorial Panama current. Before you even get in the water, there is a chance of encountering dolphins and orcas from your liveaboard. Diving under the iconic Darwin Arch is thrilling. Rocky and unwelcoming above the water line, beneath awaits a truly inspiring scene. Three full days are spent at these two islands, getting to grips with every nook and cranny. Hammerheads are the first and foremost attraction, schooling in vast numbers around the submerged pinnacles of Wolf and Darwin. Galapagos sharks are common too, slinky and svelte nipping in and out of the reef life. White-tips hide in the reef from the larger predators. If you like your fish even bigger, whale sharks are seasonally seen in the blue, munching on plankton along with manta, mobula and eagle rays. Look out for a tiger shark in the shallows!

The itineraries may be subject to minor changes at short notice by the Marine Park Authorities. However, a substantial part of every trip is spent at Wolf and Darwin and some dives in the other areas.

Every diver should certainly experience the Galapagos diving for themselves, but the diving is not suited to novice divers. Wolf and Darwin are the furthest points on the itinerary and divers need to be comfortable in currents and zodiac diving. Thermoclines are common, but these are what draw the overwhelming numbers of big fish closer. Dive guides are experts in their fields – not only do they know how to make sure you have a safe and excellent dive trip, but they are also hugely knowledgeable about the marine life and eager to share! Please check with your Galapagos diving travel consultant about the required safety equipment.

The Galapagos is a once in a lifetime trip, and the best diving can only be accessed from liveaboards on either 7 or 10-night liveaboard options. This is the only way to travel and dive in comfort, visiting all the hot spots and highlights of this remarkable corner of the globe. Sail the oceans blue and prepare to be left breathless.

Boat Details

The Galapagos diving boat Pingüino Explorer owes its existence to the conservation initiative of the Galapagos National Park Directorate which encourages fishermen to switch from fishing to tourism. The owner of Pingüino Explorer is a former Galapagos fisherman. Nowadays he runs a boat with the support of his family and a professional team.

The 27-meter-long boat accommodates sixteen guests, eight crew members and two guides licensed by the Galapagos National Park. Divers use two zodiacs to reach the dive sites. Nitrox is available for a fee. The dive deck accommodates 34 twelve-liter aluminum tanks and features a camera table, fresh water tank and two showers with hot and cold water. After diving, snacks and cold or hot drinks are offered depending on the weather.

The four cabins inside the hull and on the main deck feature double beds with an additional bunk bed. The four cabins on the upper deck have bunk beds only.

Food is served buffet-style in a restaurant with four tables with a capacity for all the guests. The bar offers beer, red wine, white wine, and cocktails. The comfortable lounge features an audio/video equipment and a library. Guests can enjoy locally produced fragrant Galapagos coffee. There is also a hot and cold water dispenser, with tea and milk available.

Typical Itinerary

Galapagos Diving Itinerary

Day Early A.M. Late A.M. Early P.M. Late P.M.
Tuesday Arrival to Baltra Check-dive and dive near Baltra
Wednesday Bartolomé Island Cousin’s Rock Cousin’s Rock
Thursday Wolf Island Wolf Island Wolf Island Wolf Island
Friday Darwin Island Darwin Island Darwin Island Darwin Island
Saturday Wolf Island Wolf Island Wolf Island
Sunday Punta Vicente Roca Punta Vicente Roca Cabo Douglas
Monday Roca Blanca Pinzón Island Free afternoon Free afternoon
Tuesday Arrival to Santa Cruz Departure/flights

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