Ecuador (Republic of Ecuador)

Languages: Spanish

Currencies: USD · United States dollar ($)

Capitol: Quito

Continents: South America

Borders: Peru, Colombia

More useful information

Area: 276,841km2

Population: 17,643,060

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +593

Timezones: UTC-06:00, UTC-05:00

Last updated on April 20, 2024

Snorkeling in Isla Isabela in Los Tuneles is absolutely out of this world adventure! These underwater lava tunnels are located on the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago, surrounded by crystal green waters. Snorkeling & diving in the tunnels is only possible with an organized tour. Let me guide you through my experience. 

Snorkeling in Isla Isabela in the caves of Los Tuneles.

Snorkeling in Isla Isabela.

It is an incredible attraction of the island, so don’t hesitate – Los Tuneles is a must-do for those who want to experience the beauty of the underwater marine life. This is your chance to go Snorkeling in Isla Isabela to spot most exceptional wildlife: sea turtles, manta rays, octopuses and other stunning creaters. It is one of the richest ecosystems in the world. This adventure is among top 3 diving experiences in my 10 years diving history. 

Snorkeling in Isla Isabela in the caves of Los Tuneles.

Is it worth to go snorkeling in Los Tuneles?

One of the reasons why Los Tuneles is such a popular snorkeling spot is that it’s a natural haven for marine life. The area is made up of a series of tunnels and arches that were formed by lava flows. This unique geological formation provides a diverse range of habitats for marine life. 

You will be snorkeling through the lava tunnels and see everything from colourful fishes, sea turtles, sea lions and even penguins.

Snorkeling in Isla Isabela in the caves of Los Tuneles.

Best time to go snorkeling in Isla isabela.

In October the ocean currents bring lots of plankton – this may affect the visibility but at the same time it attracts lots of marine spieces. So if you are snorkeling around that time be prepared for an incredible wildlife discovery! 😉

You need to rememebr the islands are situated in the middle of the ocean. If you really want to check water status, ask the agency before booking the tour – they will know everything about the currents affecting the island. 

For the most of the year water visibily remains very good, you’ll be able to clearly see everything that’s happening around you.

Snorkeling in Isla Isabela in the caves of Los Tuneles.

Galapagos Islands are still untouched piece of nature.

Isla Isabela is still relatively untouched by mass tourism. In October there was nobody outside our tour of 5 people.

While the Galapagos main island is a popular destination, Los Tuneles is still a remote location. This means that you’ll be able to enjoy the marine life without the crowds and also that the marine life is less likely to be disturbed by human activity, which is good news for conservation efforts.

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Snorkeling tour in Isla Isabela.

If you are wondering if 2 snorkels are enough – my answer is YES. 

First snorkeling was about 1,5h, second was 40 min. This is quite long given the terrain character. First of all I would advice to choose a complex tour – with walking, snorkeling and swimming. This remote area is so beautiful that it is a waste not to explore it while you are there. 

Snorkeling in underwater Los Tuneles is challenging. On the way there are few sections where you need to swim under water for few metres. In October water was quite cold, luckily they provided hot tea on board.

This is the first time in my life when a tour program was delivered in 150%.

It often happens the tour agencies promise more than can be delivered, especially when it comes to diving experience involving marine life. Wildlife depends strictly on the season!  

We actually saw much more marine spieces than it was described in the tour offer. Perhaps it was because of the plankton inflow. 

Full-day Snorkeling tour itinerary.

BOAT TRIP: It takes 1 hour to reach Los Tuneles from Puerto Villamil. 

LOCATION: Best spot for snorkeling in Isla Isabela is Los Tuneles located on the south-west side of the island.

TOUR OPERATOR: You shouldn;t have more than 10 people on the boat, last thing you need is overcrowded noisy people in your best snorkeling adventure.

Two top rated snorkeling tours to Los Tuneles:

Wildlife protection.

While snorkeling in Isla Isabela remember to respect the marine life and their habitats. Do not touch or disturb anything you see in the water.

The guide will help you navigate the tunnels and point out interesting marine life and he is the only person entitled to touch the spieces.

Snorkeling in Los Tuneles.

You will be required to swim through a narrow lava tunnels, having rocks above your head with no air space. Water below you will be 15 metres deep.

Some people swam in life jackets, which is the right thing to wear if you are not 100% comfortable in water. I was wearing wet suit and it was totally enought.

The guide was very friendly, he was taking care of every single person from the group. He was helping out swimming through the narrow sections. I made a video so you could see exactly what you can expect, to watch HERE. 😉

Snorkeling in Isla Isabela in the caves of Los Tuneles.

Los Tuneles tour costs.

The trip costs from 90$ – 300$ per person and there are two options: from 7.30 – 12.30 or 11.30 – 17.00. Pick your agency wisely, take a walk around, ask in few places. 

Our trip was full-day adventure, including 2 snorkels (make sure you have 2 snorkels included), visiting lava tunnels, wildlife watching, dinner, boat, towels and a snorkeling gear. The guide was incredible, we were even taken to a cave with sleeping sharks! 

Snorkeling in Isla Isabela is absolutely the greatest water adventure of the archipelago. I dive and I have never seen anything more beautiful: sleeping sharks were mind-blowing!, octopus fouling my arms, sea horses and giant turtles. Check yourself: HERE.

Complete Travel Guide to Galapagos for solo travelers.

Dissapearing rock.

On the way back to Puerto Villamil, you should ask the guide for the famous ‘dissapearing rock’ – small rock located in the middle of the ocean, that is said to dissapear due to volcano activity effect. Once it sinks it will become a very dangerous spot for cargo boats. 

Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!