Diving the mainland of Ecuador
Ecuador is best known for its Galapagos Islands, where thousands of tourists, both land-based and divers alike, visit every year. There is much more to see in this biologically diverse nation, however, than just Darwin’s famous islands. With Amazon jungle, the Andes Mountains and 2237km of Pacific coastline Ecuador is a nature lovers paradise. After a long day of adventuring, spend the evening strolling through city plazas admiring the centuries-old palaces and religious sites. Although it is not the Galapagos, diving mainland Ecuador has its fair share of great sites. The best diving on mainland Ecuador is around Isla de la Plata, a small island that is two hours from Puerto Lopez by boat. Known as “poor man’s Galapagos,“ marine life on Isla de la Plata offers a sampling of what divers find out in the Galapagos. Puerto Lopez also offers excellent diving right on its local reefs with tropical fish, sea turtles, and stingrays. Ayangue, the up-and-coming scuba hot-spot of southern Ecuador, is a small fishing village with clear, tranquil waters surrounded by a protected horseshoe-shaped bay. If you are looking for coral reefs within Ecuador’s waters, head even further south to Salinas. Not only is the diving good but this beach is an excellent destination for fishing, sailing, and surfing as well.
Dive Sites in Mainland Ecuador
Aquatic Life in Mainland Ecuador
The marine life of mainland Ecuador offers divers a small glimpse into what is found further offshore in the Galapagos Islands. Many of the same big-name species roam these waters like green sea turtles, whitetip sharks, manta rays, dolphins, and sea lions. However, since the water here is far removed from the influences of the colder offshore currents, divers will see more tropical species such as hard and soft corals, parrotfish, pufferfish, moray eels, and angelfish. During the whale-watching months of June to September, divers can frequently hear the mystical song of the humpback whale while underwater.