With restrictions to opening up finally being significantly eased, tourism is opening up and Ecuador is welcoming back visitors from all over the world. Visitors are turning their eyes to the Galapagos Islands for a summer holiday. We are being regularly asked about travel to the Galapagos Islands in summer and whether it is better to visit in the summer or the winter. There are clear advantages to visiting the islands at any time, but here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of booking for the summer season.
The number one reason for any visit to the Galapagos Islands is to see the wildlife. The summer is an excellent period to travel to the Galapagos archipelago for that. What is more, there is some wildlife that you may only have the chance of seeing during the summer. Whales are more likely to be present in the waters around the islands in the summer months (June through September) as a result of the Humboldt current bringing cooler waters to the region. Whales are most likely to be seen in the west of the archipelago, close to Fernandina or Isabela, so if this is what you’d like to see, your best chance is a cruise that takes in the western isles. The arrival of the Humboldt current also means that marine life is more active and diverse during these months as well.
The summer is an important time for some of the Galapagos wildlife for activities such as breeding and nesting. As you will see from our post on July in the Galapagos Islands, sea lions commence breeding in this month, and they are birthing in August. Also, blue-footed boobies typically start nesting in July, as does the waved albatross. Later in the summer, in August, you may get the exciting opportunity to see waved albatross chicks. Also in August, Galapagos fur seals are birthing, and on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos giant tortoises are laying their eggs. Check out our guide to the Galapagos Islands in August to find out more about wildlife during this month.
Other bird life that is particularly active in the summer months includes flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins and greater flamingos. July is your best chance of seeing the unusual and intricate courtship activities of the flightless cormorant.
The weather in the islands over the summertime is cooler than it is earlier on in the year. On average you might expect temperatures of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit, or 22 degrees Celsius. It can get a little cooler than this, especially in August, but usually not very much. The climate is very pleasant, and those that do not like the weather to be too warm are likely to enjoy it at this time of year. There is almost no rain at this time of year either. Days tend to be either overcast or sunny.
It can feel rather cool in the evenings at this time of year, so bringing some warmer items for the nighttime is probably a wise idea.
It is worth knowing that the summer months can bring somewhat choppier seas to the islands. Options for those that get seasick are plentiful. Medication can work well, and patches and bands can also be helpful. Choosing a boat that is larger and heavier may also stop you from feeling seasick, or from feeling the effects as much. Land-based tours also limit your time on the water and may be a good option for some. We’ve got more information on how to avoid sea sickness in the Galapagos that can help you with tips and hints on this.
Galapagos activities are much the same at any time of year. Going for wildlife spotting walks on the islands, snorkeling, swimming, and diving occur all year around. Walking on the islands is enjoyable at this time of year as it never really gets all that hot.
Snorkeling is especially good in the Galapagos Islands in the summertime, as a result of the Humboldt Current and cooler water. The Humboldt Current leads to a much greater number of nutrients in the waters, and this in turn drives a higher level of marine life. That means more to see in the water, and there tends to be a greater level of activity too. In addition, the sea tends to be clearer during these months so you may get to see more. Cooler weather might mean that snorkeling will be more pleasant in a wetsuit for some.
Birdwatching opportunities also excel in the summer months. There is a lot of bird activity during the summer months, also in part due to the Humboldt Current and the resulting increased nutrition options for the birds.
One factor that you should consider is that costs can be higher to visit the Galapagos Islands in the summertime, given that this is a popular destination with families during the vacation period. However, if you book in advance you can get the best deals on Galapagos Islands cruises during this time. Don’t forget, the Galapagos Islands are good to visit on a land-based trip as well. This can be a good option for those that are more prone to sea sickness, as the seas can be a little choppier in the summer months too.
The summer is a great time to travel to the Galapagos Islands, either on a cruise or on a land-based trip. Our main tip is to book early so that you can get the best prices, and get the tour that you want, as demand means that cruises and accommodation book up quickly at this time of year.
Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders can assist with finding the best cruise or land-based Galapagos trip that is suited to your preferences. Get in touch to see how we can help you book your trip of a lifetime today.