Best Galapagos Liveaboards for Every Budget (+ Expert Tips!)

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With 55+ available Galapagos Liveaboards, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which one to choose. We’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the best Galapagos diving Liveaboards for every budget, including what to look for when booking. 

Galapagos Islands Liveaboard (Liveaboard)
Galapagos Islands Image source: Liveaboard

There’s no doubt that the volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean known as the Galapagos offer one of the most enchanting experiences when it comes to scuba diving. 

Considered one of the world’s best destinations for wildlife viewing, you can get up close and personal with playful sea lions, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, iguanas, sea turtles, mola mola, seals, clouds of tuna and so much more!

For many scuba divers, a trip to the Galapagos Islands is somewhat like a journey to Mecca. And chances are, the islands are on every diver’s bucket list. 

With Liveaboard, you can experience diving in the Galapagos in an entirely unique way. Reach remote areas and dive in places where marine life is plentiful and diverse, away from the disruption of regular tourism.

Wondering what a Liveaboard is? Here is everything you need to know about Liveaboard diving trips.

We’ve personally been on two Liveaboard dive trips and to say they were incredible would be an understatement! We learned so much and got really comfortable being underwater with so much practice and excellent dive guides. 

In this article, we will walk you through the basics of participating in a Liveaboard dive trip and suggest some of the best Galapagos Liveaboards for every budget. 

Let’s dive in! (pun intended)…

Galapagos Liveaboards

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Best budget Galapagos Liveaboards

If you’re looking for the best Galapagos Liveaboards that won’t break the bank, we recommend going with one of these top-rated experiences. 


Nortada Galapagos Liveaboard
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 8 days
  • Ship size: Up to 12 guests
  • Cost: starting at $374 USD / day

The Nortada Liveaboard is a luxury yacht that provides its guests with a more intimate and personal diving experience in the Galapagos. A comprehensive itinerary includes at least 18 dives per trip with a tender to get dives closer to the action. Each diver is also equipped with a Nautilus Lifeline GPS for additional safety.

Humboldt Explorer

Humboldt Explorer Galapagos Liveaboard
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 8, 11, 15 days
  • Ship size: Up to 16 guests
  • Cost: starting at $419USD / day

The Humboldt Explorer was built to offer a hassle-free diving experience with a large diving platform and plenty of rental equipment onboard. Each cabin on this Liveaboard features air conditioning with private bathrooms and ocean views. Guests can relax in the common areas or unwind in the onboard jacuzzi.

Galaxy Diver II 

Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 8 days
  • Ship size: Up to 16 guests
  • Cost: starting at $505 USD / day

This Galapagos Liveaboard hosts up to 16 guests in 8 double cabins with ensuite bathrooms. The ship accommodates both scuba diving and naturalist itineraries, so be sure you check which one before you book!

On the diving itineraries you will explore renowned dive sites such as Carrion Point, Wolf Island, Shark Bay, El Arenal, Darwin’s Arch, and Cousin Rock. Encounter hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, rays, Galapagos sharks, tiger sharks, and orcas.

Best mid-range budget Galapagos Liveaboards

The following Galapagos Liveaboards all come with great reviews and the mid-range price tag means you’ll find the facilities and amenities to be a bit more comfortable on your Liveaboard experience.


Aqua Galapagos Liveaboard
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 8 days
  • Ship size: Up to 16 guests
  • Cost: starting at $511 USD / day

Experience the best of what Galapagos has to offer both above and below the water with an onboard naturalist. The Aqua Liveaboard has 9 climate controlled cabins, each with ensuites, so you can expect a more intimate experience in a smaller group. 

Aside from diving, you can also participate in activities such as snorkeling or kayaking, the Aqua has all the equipment you’ll need.

Galapagos Master

Galapagos Master Galapagos Liveaboard
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 8 and 11 days
  • Ship size: Up to 16 guests
  • Cost: starting at $509 USD / day

The Galapagos Master is a steel yacht offering small group scuba diving experiences supported by high powered tenders. An expansive dive deck has ample space to host all necessary equipment.

The boat has upper and lower deck air conditioned accommodation, each with private en-suite bathrooms. Common spaces include an air conditioned lounge and dining area, plus shaded outdoor seating and a cocktail bar. Food is served buffet-style so you are sure to never go hungry.

Capilso Dive

Calipso Dive Liveaboard Galapagos
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 8 days
  • Ship size: Up to 17 guests
  • Cost: starting at $599 USD / day

Completely renovated in 2019, the 33 meter Capilso Liveaboard includes 6 upper deck cabins and 2 main deck cabins, each featuring panoramic windows and en-suite bathrooms. 

Social areas include an indoor salon and dining area, where guests can enjoy international and Ecuadorian cuisine made with fresh local produce and seafood. The top deck features lounge chairs, a BBQ, a bar, and a hot tub, providing ample space for relaxation and enjoyment.

Best luxury Galapagos Liveaboards

For a luxury experience on Galapagos Liveaboards, look no further than the top-rated boats below. 

Galapagos Aggressor III 

Galapagos Aggressor III Liveaboard
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 8 days
  • Ship size: Up to 16 guests
  • Cost: starting at $665 USD / day

The Galapagos Aggressor III Liveaboard will bring you to one of the world’s top diving destinations for 4 action-packed dives per day plus 2 nights dives during your 8-day excursion. You will have your own personal gear locker and diving amenities so you have nothing to worry about on your trip.

Tiburon Explorer

Tiburon Explorer Galapagos Liveaboard
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 8 days
  • Ship size: 16 guests
  • Cost: starting at $714 USD / day

The Tiburon Explorer Liveaboard offers an exceptional Galapagos scuba diving experience. The ship was built by divers, for divers, the expansive dive deck is equipped with individual gear bins, air and nitrox filling stations, and freshwater rinse tanks for dive equipment and cameras.

The ship can accommodate up to 16 guests, featuring 9 comfortable staterooms on the lower and main decks. Each air-conditioned cabin is equipped with a private en-suite bathroom, and offers queen or twin beds along with ample storage space. 

Social areas on the Tiburon Explorer include a modern main-deck salon with a TV and lounge area, and a dining room where delicious chef-prepared cuisine is served. For relaxation and socializing, guests can enjoy the top deck, the partially covered sun deck, or unwind in the hot tub. 

Galapagos Sky 

Galapagos Sky Liveaboard
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 8 days
  • Ship size: Up to 16 guests
  • Cost: starting at $757 USD / day

The sky’s the limit, or so they say. But with the Galapagos Sky, there’s no limit to 5-star services provided by their team of professionals. The entertainment system and large television in the main salon are great for viewing videos and photos of your dives. Designed for diver comfort, you can expect the best from this Galapagos Liveaboard.

Tips for choosing the best Liveaboard in the Galapagos

With 55+ available Galapagos Liveaboards, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which one to choose. Here are some tips we’ve picked up from our own experience on how to choose a Liveaboard experience that’s best for YOU. 

1. Look beyond the daily rate

Not only pay attention to the daily rates we’ve listed in our list above, but look at how many days the itineraries are. You may find the cheaper daily rate only offers long 10+ day itineraries making your total go way up from the slightly more expensive Liveaboard with a short 4 day itinerary. 

Ask about park fees, and if they are included in your rate, as well as alcoholic beverages and anything else that may be an additional cost. 

It’s also a good idea to think about tipping when calculating your total Liveaboard budget. It doesn’t hurt to ask ahead of time how much is typical for guests to leave as gratuity. 

2. Pay attention to the sleeping arrangements

Similan Islands Liveaboard Thailand
Our bunkbeds on our Similan Islands Liveaboard
Komodo Liveaboard Indonesia bedroom
Our bed set up on our Komodo Liveaboard

Are the cabins onboard shared or private? Double occupancy or single? There is even one Liveaboard on our list that doesn’t offer cabins at all—the whole group sleeps on the top deck under the stars each night.

While that may be great if you’re trying to minimize your budget, it’s a good thing to know before you book. 

Also check to see if your cabin offers air conditioning and if it’s individually controlled or not. If a Liveaboard says it has “naturally ventilated” cabins, that’s a nice way of saying they do not have AC. 

3. Find out the bathroom situation

Similan Islands Liveaboard Thailand bathroom
The shared bathroom on our Similan Islands Liveaboard was small but functional

Are the bathrooms on board private ensuites in each cabin, or will you be sharing a bathroom with other guests? 

If you’re going for a shared bathroom situation, check how many guest bathrooms there will be compared to the number of guests onboard to get an idea of what that situation will be like. 

4. What kind of food is served onboard

Similan Islands Liveaboard Thailand food
We’ve had really good experiences with the food served on both of our Liveaboard trips

Some of the Galapagos Liveaboards describe having both local and Western cuisine options, but some only offer the local cuisine. 

If you have any special dietary needs or restrictions, it’s a good idea to ask beforehand if they will be able to accommodate you. 

5. Ask about the diving onboard

Komodo Liveaboard Indonesia dive gear

Find out how many dives are offered each day, and if there are any special dives like night dives available. It’s also good to find out if there are any diving experience requirements for participating (some boats have minimum dives or advanced certification requirements).

You should also ask about the diving equipment onboard—how old it is, if it’s well-maintained and if it’s all included in the cost of the Liveaboard or if there are extra rental costs for things like dive computers. 

If you are an underwater photography enthusiast, it’s good to know that some Galapagos Liveaboards include space for underwater photography and equipment rentals. 

6. Find out if there are any on-land excursions

Beach in Galapagos Islands Ecuador
A beach in the Galapagos Islands

One of the perks of our Liveaboard in Komodo was getting to experience some of the unique features of Komodo National Park on land. We got to do some hiking and see the famous Komodo dragons in person. 

Having onland excursions can be a nice way to break up the monotony of being at sea everyday, and give your sea legs a nice break too!

Best time of year to do a Liveaboard in the Galapagos

Galapagos Islands Equador

Scuba diving in the Galapagos is possible all year round. However, the best time of year for a Galapagos diving Liveaboard depends on your aversion to cold water and what you hope to encounter on your dives.

The Galapagos Islands have both the wet and dry seasons which coincide with the water temperatures.

Wet Season: January to June

This is the time when you can experience warmer water and calmer seas. Water temperatures during this time average from 75-82° Fahrenheit, or 24-28° Celsius. The wet season is also when you are likely to encounter more sightings of manta rays and hammerhead sharks.

Dry Season: July to December

Water temperatures during this time are lower, averaging about 62-68 °F (17-20 °C). However, you are also likely to see more whale sharks in the dry season. This is one of the reasons why this period is the most popular season for Galapagos Liveaboards, despite the colder waters.

Related Reading: Find out more about our trip to the Galapagos Islands and the highlights from each of the islands we visited.

Best places to do a Liveaboard in the Galapagos

Image source: Liveaboard

Being a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean renowned for wildlife viewing, it’s no surprise the Galapagos is one of the world’s top diving destinations. Below are a few of the top dive destinations and popular stops on Galapagos Liveaboards. 

Darwin Island

Located on the far northwestern side of the islands, Darwin Island is probably the most famous diving site in the Galapagos. The stunning arched rock formation is the landmark that signals where Liveaboards should go for the best diving experience. 

The site features Galapagos sharks, manta rays, hammerheads, and some whale sharks, as well as all the unique creatures you are hoping to see.

Wolf Island

Just southeast of Darwin, you will find a nice little diving hotspot called Wolf Island. It has sites like The Landslide, The Caves and Shark Bay where you can see different megafauna. 

On the reef’s edge, you can spot mantas, Galapagos sharks, bottlenose dolphins, whale sharks, and eagle rays. The island is also known to be the home of a friendly sea lion population.

Isabela Island

If you want some up-close encounters with rays and sharks, this is the place to dive. The Redonda Rock is famous for its underwater volcanic fumaroles – cracks in the earth’s surface that emit steam. 

Because of this, its warmth can attract several kinds of nudibranchs and macro sea life. Hammerheads, silky sharks and Galapagos sharks are often spotted in this area.

Santiago Island

Santiago Island features boulders with both soft and hard corals. Because of this, it is home to a variety of marine life in the Galapagos Islands. Sea lions, Galapagos sharks, eagle rays and schools of barracuda are some of the most spotted marine life in the area.

Fernandina Island

Near Isabela Island, Fernandina Island is one of the most exciting dive sites among the Galapagos Islands. Its shallows are home to around 90% of the population of Galapagos penguins. Fur seals and sea lions can also be found here.

Santa Cruz and San Cristobal

These neighboring islands make up the tourism hub of the Galapagos and are the most heavily visited. You can expect to see Galapagos sharks, hammerheads and schools of reef sharks in these areas so don’t forget to bring your underwater camera equipment along!

What to pack for a Liveaboard diving trip

Figuring out what to pack for a scuba Liveaboard can be tricky… you want to be prepared, but you definitely don’t want to overpack when you’re going to be living in tight quarters. There are some definite musts that you don’t want to forget, and even more things that you should just leave on land.

We’ve taken all the guesswork out of packing for you and compiled a complete liveaboard packing list so you don’t forget any essentials on shore. Oh, and it’s totally FREE!

Liveaboard Packing List | Two Wandering Soles

Don’t forget about travel insurance!

World Nomads provides coverage for adventure activities like scuba diving that aren’t usually covered (read the fine print!) in typical travel insurance policies. We recommend getting their short-term trip coverage (on top of your regular travel insurance plan) if you plan on doing a Liveaboard diving trip. 

Get an instant quote on World Nomads right now, it’s that simple! It’ll take less than 3 minutes. 

Are you interested in Liveaboard diving and want help planning your trip?

We have some great resources for you!

Komodo Liveaboard Indonesia boat

Planning a Liveaboard Diving Trip

From the diving equipment to the bathroom situation, here’s everything you need to know about planning a Liveaboard diving trip. We’ll walk you through a typical daily schedule and clue you in on what to expect for the onboard experience. Plus we’ll include some expert tips and insider advice we wish we would have known before our first Liveaboard. 

Galapagos Islands Ecuador

How to Travel the Galapagos Islands on a Budget

Is it expensive to travel to the Galapagos? YES. No question about it. But lucky for you, we’re going to share our best tips for traveling there on a budget because we believe it’s a place that not only the rich should experience.

Before you go…

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Galapagos Liveaboards | Two Wandering Soles
Galapagos Liveaboards | Two Wandering Soles

We want to hear from you!

Which of these Galapagos Liveaboards do you most want to book?? Are you considering doing a Liveaboard in the Galapagos and still have questions? Leave your comment below and we’ll do our best to get back to you!

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