Diving the Galapagos had been a dream since the first time I saw a photo of school of hammerheads. Fueled with the high of diving Tubbataha in 2010, I tried organizing a group to dive Galapagos, negotiating deals for charter boat, but wasn’t successful. Many were interested but the high price tag was an obvious deterrent.

galapagos school of hammerheads

Hammerhead Symphony at Darwin

An 8-day live-aboard costs about USD4,000-5,000, but even if one comes to peace with forking over the amount, there will still be other costs like flights (over 2,500USD from the Philippines), hotels, and aren’t you going to do a little bit of sightseeing while in Ecuador? So it was kind of unattainable at that time for any of us.

Then I started my round the world trip June of 2011. Europe and South America were my priorities. I love Europe and curious of South America. Now while my travel itinerary had been dictated by the wind and other forces of nature, there were 2 things I swore I’m going to make happen myself; Carnaval in Brazil and Diving the Galapagos. I was in Salvador de Bahia for Carnaval on February.


Diving the Galapagos: Land Based or Live Aboard?

I knew there were land based diving but I didn’t know if they were good. Do you get to see schools of hammerheads? That was the dream after all. I was obsessed with it but not so obsessive to research about Galapagos Islands and all the dive sites online, even if I do spend a lot of time online. I really prefer to talk to people.

Then I met Steve, a fellow world traveler who’s also an avid diver. When I met him in Leticia, Colombia he just came from the Galapagos. And when I ran into him again in Rio de Janeiro 3 weeks later, in the world of long term backpacking, we’re old friends. We sat down and he wrote me a bible for Galapagos with main focus on diving (land based).  He guaranteed I will see hammerheads in Gordon’s Rock and Kicker Rock and they cost nothing compared to the live aboard diving. I promise I will have another blog post to reveal to you Steve’s bible.

Excitedly I wrote my friends to come meet me as I found a way to dive the Galapagos cheap(er). I don’t know but while traveling solo is so great in so many levels, I feel like I wanted to have my regular buddies on this special dive trip. It’s the Galapagos!

I’ve met some really nice people while diving on this trip, and a few are even those I know I’ll see again. But meeting people while traveling is kind of a lottery. I wanted to have someone with whom I can relive the tale again and again. It’s creating the memory with more than just photos and videos. So I am really happy that one of my good friend and dive buddy, Vangie heeded my call.

welcome to galapagos


When she decided to join me, I went to Guayaquil to inquire about cruises and dive trips. We chat frequently discussing what kind of trip we’ll do, how many days she’ll stay, if she wanted to do land tours as well. We both went obsessing online finding more info on Galapagos.

I wrote Leslie of Dive the Galapagos (www.divethegalapagos.com) again to ask if there are last minute deals or discounts for the dive live aboard. She said there’s 2 slot on Aggressor (www.aggressor.com) on the date we wanted. Obviously live aboard diving idea was still hovering over my head.  Tet who dived Galapagos in 2010 with Humboldt has amazing photos on her facebook. I can’t count how many times I’ve lurked her photos of the schools of hammerheads.  Then I messaged her telling her I’m in Ecuador and that I’m contemplating on whether to do the live aboard or just land based.  She wrote back quickly saying,  “just get on the boat and do the dive of a lifetime!”

I know right?! I wrote Vangie, “sis, how about let’s just f@ck it, get on a boat and do the dive of our life?” Without missing a beat she said, “yeah, let’s do it!

And so with a giant stride, we made a huge dent on our life savings!