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Vicente Roca Point is one of the most famous snorkeling spots in the Galápagos islands. Located north of Isabela island, it is featured in the itinerary of numerous cruises organized around the archipelago, usually including a stop there. Although the spot is above all known for its important populations of green sea turtles, sharks and rays can also be observed when underwater visibility is good.
Vicente Roca Point is only accessible by boat. Located north of Isabela Island, 200km away from the closest inhabited areas, the only way to visit the site is to go on a multi-day naturalist cruise. Make sure when booking that the site is included in the itinerary.
Water entrance is from the boat.
The area to be explored is the most sheltered part of the bay (see map above). Along the shore, the seabed is rocky for about ten meters (↕0,5-2m/1-6ft) before becoming covered with grey sand (↕2-3m/6-10ft).
Vincente Roca Point is known for its Galápagos green turtles, which are abundant in the bay. Their concentration is so great that sometimes 5 or 6 turtles can be spotted in a row, floating on the surface of the sea and cradled by the waves. Some others are found resting on the sand.
Along the rocky shore, you may see Mexican hogfish, threebanded butterflyfish, and wrasses. Whitetip reef sharks, ocean sunfish and seahorses also inhabit the area, but aren’t so easily spotted while snorkeling.
During your snorkeling, you may be lucky enough to encounter a Galápagos penguin or a flightless cormorant (endemic to Isabela and Fernandina Islands), which have established small colonies nearby. Undisturbed by the presence of snorkelers, these birds can be spotted swimming on the surface of the water and quickly diving into the water for fishing.
Underwater visibility at this location is very random, like in many parts of the west coast of Isabela Island. It is not uncommon that snorkeling is canceled due to poor visibility (due to overly green/opaque water).
Vicente Roca Point is an entirely natural site, which can only be visited by embarking on a multi-day and full board naturalist cruise.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Rocky drop off with turtles, penguins, sea horses and cormorants
Rocky drop off with turtles, sea lions and many fish
Rocky drop off with starfish, turtles, sharks and penguins
Rocky seabed with sharks, turtles and many fish
Series of rocky pools with sharks, turtles and sea horses
Rocky lagoon with turtles, rays, sea lions and penguins
Level: Free shore access