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Diving the Hammerhead Triangle – The Ultimate Guide

The well-named Hammerhead Triangle is the premium shark diving destination in the world. An imaginary triangle in the Eastern Pacific between Coco’s Island, the Galapagos Islands, and Malpelo Island forms this unique diving destination, right at the top of the bucket list for most serious divers.

The Hammerhead Triangle in Pictures

A collection of photos from the Hammerhead Triangle both over and underwater.

Dive Areas in the Hammerhead Triangle

Malpelo Island

The 300-kilometer (190-mile) submarine ridge, that Malpelo Island is part of, has never been connected to the mainland and has some of the deepest waters in the world.

Marine Life

Malpelo Island is home to a massive shark population; walls of hammerhead sharks are sure to be seen as well as large schools of silky sharks. Their prey is just as impressive. Bigeye trevally, red snapper, barracuda, yellowfin tuna and amberjack cruise around in these protected waters.

Malpelo Island is one of the few places where the small-tooth sand tiger can be seen and the Malpelo barnacle blenny is also unique to this area.

Whale sharks are often spotted north of the island.

Best Time to Dive in Malpelo Island

Malpelo Island’s tropical climate lends itself to all-year-round diving. If you want to see hammerheads and the small-tooth sand shark, the best time to dive Malpelo Island is from January to May.  Although it may be sunny, the dive conditions are more difficult, with rougher seas and cooler waters, with shallower thermoclines.

Explore Malpelo Island

Coco’s Island

At Coco’s Island, every dive is a shark dive. Hundreds of hammerheads, mighty tiger sharks, gigantic whale sharks, dolphins, mantas and more.

Marine Life in Coco’s Island

Besides all the shark action, Coco’s island is also home to rays; big stingrays, manta, and eagle rays too. The rich and extensive reefs in this diving paradise attract big schools of bigeye trevallies, blue striped snappers, and other schooling fish. It’s the ultimate destination if you get excited about oceanic pelagics.

Best Time to Dive in Coco’s Island

The best time to dive Coco’s Island is between June and November. Although this is the wet season, which means more rain and rougher seas, it’s the time to see the most marine life, with a better chance of close encounters. Recommended for advanced divers only.

Explore Coco’s Island

Galapagos Islands

The unforgettable Galapagos Islands are, for many divers, the ultimate diving destination. This remote archipelago offers plenty of marine and wildlife and is known as one of the best liveaboard destinations in the world

Marine life in the Galapagos Islands

While diving, you could see sea lions, eagle rays, marine iguanas, penguins, seals, hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, sea turtles, golden rays, whale sharks and tuna.

Best time to Dive in the Galapagos Islands

There is no bad time to visit the Galapagos Islands and diving is possible all year.

June through December are the cool and dry months and is also whale shark season. The nutrient-rich currents bring them, and other large marine life, to the islands. This season is also great for penguin-spotting.

January through May are warm and wet and the best season for shark action, including walls of hammerheads and other sharks.  The conditions are generally better with calmer waters, milder currents, and better visibility.

Explore the Galapagos Islands

How to Get to the Hammerhead Triangle

Liveaboards for the Hammerhead Triangle leave from Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, and the Galapagos Islands.  

Good to Know

The areas in the Hammerhead Triangle are protected and there is usually a fee for entry.

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