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I would like to go to Galapagos, therefore I want to do a scuba diving licence in Ecuador. Is there anyone who can recommend a scuba diving school in Ecuador?

I'm already in Ecuador, so I want to do it here - and I'm told there is a three-day couse I can do.

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The first time I read the title I thought it said "driver's license". So I edited it to "scuba diver". –  Nate Eldredge Jun 2 '13 at 13:04
    
Recommendations are generally frowned upon because they are highly subjective. Can you specify what you're looking for in the shop? –  Karlson Jun 2 '13 at 14:08
    
How much time will you be there? What I did is take the lessons locally and do my certification test in the Galapagos in Puerto Ayora. –  Itai Jun 2 '13 at 14:44
    
@Karlson: "Subjective" would be an issue if the country were the USA. But there is almost certainly a very limited choice of scuba diving schools in Ecuador. –  Tom Au Jun 2 '13 at 19:25
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@TomAu PADI lists about 10 on Galapagos archipelago alone, shall we try the rest of the Ecuador or try limit what we are looking for? –  Karlson Jun 2 '13 at 20:20
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3 Answers

Are you planning on taking a vacation in the Galapagos, and so looking to get your license while doing the vacation? Allow me to recommend against it. The scuba certification ( not technically a license, since most countries are quite willing to let you kill yourself by diving without it, though most dive shops are not willing to help you kill yourself without it) involves several days of theory work and practice of various drills. Few of these are exciting, and none are made more exciting by being done in an exotic location. The recommendation of most people is to get yourself certified wherever you live, and go down and dive the Galapagos with a freshly minted certification. You are thus free to enjoy yourself for the whole of your time there without having to worry about exams. At the very least get the theory completed, and preferably the practice that can be done in a pool.

EDIT:If you are already in Ecuador then obviously this advice is not as helpful. However if you are not already 'on vacation' it still might be worthwhile doing the exam before you get to Galapagos.

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It was many years ago but that is what I did. After having seeing Galapagos 3D on IMAX, I was amazed and wanted to go to the Galapagos and to experience it fully and make diving part of the experience, despite having never dived before.

The main consideration is how much time you have in the Galapagos. I only had three weeks there and so I took my course at home in Canada. However, I did not want to take the test here because the water is always damn cold and that did not sound fun at all! So, I passed the practical test in the Galapagos after having passed the theoretical in Canada and taking 1 class per week for 2 months IIRC. There are probably accelerated courses which you can take every day but I still expect 1 or 2 weeks before you are ready to dive.

If you were to spend longer in the Galapagos, say over a month, then you could do the whole thing there. Take classes and explore the islands at first and then go on diving excursions once you are certified. Otherwise, get started at home and have the diving place where you learn give you the list of affiliated ones in the Galapagos. When you arrive, go visit them and speak to the personel. They are almost all certainly located nearby in Puerto Ayora which is the main town. That is how I chose the right one. An important criteria is to see how well the instructor available speaks a language you understand.

EDIT: While I see you have broadened the title to include all of Ecuador, I can tell you that if you can be in the Galapagos it will be the best place to dive. Diving and even snorkeling are extremely impressive. I took my exam with Scuba Iguana in Puerto Ayora but since it was years ago, they instructors may have changed.

On the mainland, there are dive sites around Machalilla national park and Isla La Plata, known locally as Poor Man's Galapagos. If you are there already for an extended period you can look for a certified diving school, otherwise just enjoy the park there. It is very nice and I've been to it several times while I lived in Ecuador one year.

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Getting a scuba certification in Galapagos is not hard to do. We teach it at our dive center located in Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz. It takes three days and you can register with PADI to do the eLearning portion of the course via the Internet from anywhere. This allows people to get the knowledge review portion of the course completed from their home, office or travels elsewhere. Once the eLearning portion is completed, it takes three days of water practice sessions in the pool and open water. This is a good place to get certified as you can spend the rest of your trip checking out the amazing marine park and the world class diving Galapagos is known for.

Please feel free to contact me or check out our website for additional details. Warm regards, Jessica Pfeltz Mahauad, Galapagos Tip Top Diving

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Heya! It's best that you put your contact information on your profile page instead in the answer. Otherwise, good tip! –  mindcorrosive Jun 5 '13 at 20:42
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