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Best Time to Visit the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos climate and seasons
Climate and Weather of the Galapagos Islands – Monthly Air & Water Temperature
January 17, 2018
Galapagos Cruise Tours and hotel Packages
Galapagos Cruises vs. Hotel-Based Tours
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Best Time to Visit the Galapagos Islands


 

It’s often said that the pleasant year-round weather makes the Galapagos Islands an ideal destination at any time of the year. Depending on which animals you want to see, which activities you want to focus on, and what your budget is for your vacation, there are certain times of the year that might accommodate your interests better than others.


 

 

Dry Season (June-December)

The dry season is also known as the “garua season” for its daily morning mists and drizzles. After the mist has cleared, the rest of the day is dry and sunny, with cooler temperatures ranging from 66°F (19°C) to 79°F (26°C). Water temperatures are also cooler during this time, meaning that although it might be less comfortable to stay in the water for long periods, there is considerably more marine life at the surface thanks to the upwelling of the cold, nutrient-rich water on which the marine species depend.

Wet Season (January-May)

The beginning months of the year experience hotter temperatures - 72°F (22°C) to 86°F (31°C) - with afternoon showers. This time of the year definitely has the most comfortable water temperatures, which allow snorkelers and divers to spend more time in the water, however the lack of phytoplankton & algae in the warmer surface water correlates to notably fewer marine species at the surface as well.

Finding deals on Galapagos vacations

If you want the same great Galapagos vacation at a fraction of the price, there are a couple ways to take advantage of excellent deals, discounts, and promotions.

During the “shoulder season” or the off-season, in April & May and September & October, there is less tourist traffic and hotels, cruises, and operators tend to offer heavily discounted prices in order to attract more clients.

If your schedule is more flexible, an alternative to traveling in the shoulder season is booking a last-minute cruise. Operators never want to set out with empty cabins, so they will offer major discounts (sometimes more than half the price) in the weeks or even days before a cruise departs in order to fill the spot. The disadvantage, of course, is that it might not be the boat or itinerary you were hoping for and it requires you to be able to leave on short notice.

What to expect each month

January:

Best time to snorkel due to warm water & air temperatures; Rainy season begins; Green sea turtles arriving on beaches to lay their eggs; Adult marine iguanas become brightly colored on Espanola Island; Land birds start nesting.

February:

Highest water temperatures; Marine iguanas nesting on Santa Cruz; Pintails begin their breeding season; Floreana Island flamingos begin nesting; Galapagos Dove nesting season reaches its peak; few penguins can be spotted.

March:

Highest annual rainfall and elevated humidity with air temperatures reaching 30 Celsius (86F); big surf on the northern beaches; Marine iguanas on Fernandina nesting; First Waved Albatross arrive to Espanola; penguins are more active.

April:

Good water visibility; most rains have ended; Land iguana eggs on Isabela begin to hatch; Green sea turtle eggs also hatching; Last of the giant tortoise eggs are hatching; Most Waved Albatrosses arrive to Espanola & begin courtship ritual.

May:

Blue-footed boobies on North Seymour begin their notable courtship dances; Sea turtle eggs continue to hatch; Majority of marine iguanas eggs hatch on Santa Cruz; Espanola Waved Albatrosses begin to lay their eggs; Storm petrels start first nesting period.

June:

Currents are stronger & waves/ surges are bigger; Giant tortoises begin their nesting season migrating from the highlands to the lowlands; Frigatebirds’ red pouches are in full display on North Seymour; Humpback whales can be spotted migrating north through the Galapagos.

July:

Water temperatures are noticeably lower; Sea birds are very active, including blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, and American oystercatchers; whales and dolphins might be spotted; lava lizards mating rituals begin and last through November.

August:

Ocean currents & surge are strongest & water temperatures reach lows of 18 degrees Celsius (64F); migrant shorebirds arrive to the Galapagos; Nesting of Nazca boobies & Swallow-tailed gulls on Genovesa; Courtship of Galapagos Hawks on Espanola & Santiago Islands; Sea lion pupping begins; Giant tortoises return to the Santa Cruz highlands.

September:

Cold season continues; Sea lions are very active as females are in heat and males fight for dominance of colonies; Galapagos penguins are very active, especially around Bartholomew; sea birds are particularly active around nesting sites.

October:

Western sunrises are beautiful & the summits are clear; Misty mornings give way to sunny days; Lava herons nest through March; Fur Sea Lions being mating period; Blue-footed boobies are raising chicks on Espanola & Isabela; Giant tortoises continue to lay eggs.

November:

Warming water temperatures, good visibility; and calm seas make for great weather for snorkeling; Jellyfish might be spotted around the archipelago; Sea lions are pupping and also very sexually active; Brown noddies & storm petrels begin their breeding season.

December:

Generally very good weather, but also the start of the rainy season towards the end of the month; Giant Tortoise eggs continue to hatch. Green sea turtles are mating; Migratory birds pass through Galapagos; Great Frigatebirds on Genovesa display their red pouches.


 
By Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders
By Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders
Ecuador & Galapagos Insiders is a leading travel company based in Ecuador and run by local tour guides and travel specialists, we are happy to provide expert and free trip planning advice, no commitment fee involved.
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