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Galapagos Islands

The best time to visit the Galapagos Islands will depend partly on the activities you want to do. One of the many fabulous aspects of the Galapagos is that it is a great place to visit all year.

Although there is a few species that do migrate, most are discoverable throughout the year. There are two seasons January to June is warmer and wetter and a dry season which is cooler from July to December.

Information & Highlights

Hammerhead sharks, Galapagos Islands, Galapagos Islands

Best time to go diving in the Galapagos Islands

There is no dive season in the Galapagos – it is possible to dive year-round in the archipelago. Most divers choose to explore this underwater world between June and September during the cool and dry season, but there are advantages of the warm and wet season too. The “best time” to dive here really depends on your tolerance for the water temperatures and what you want to see most.

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Explore the best time to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Visiting Galapagos Islands in January

high season

The holiday crowds start to thin out as the rainy season begins and the air and water temperatures start rising. The Galapagos becomes green as the dry zones start to flourish. On Isabela Island the land iguanas start their reproductive cycle and many bird species begin to start nesting as the first rains fall.

Green sea turtles arrive at beaches

Marine iguanas on Espanola

Visiting Galapagos Islands in February

medium season

A great time of year if you are into scuba diving. The waters are clear and the days are warm and humid. The consistent calm waters make it perfect for putting on a pair of fins or taking a trip on a glass-bottomed boat to see what wildlife you can underwater.

On land the Bahama pintail ducks start their breeding season and the marine iguanas nest on Santa Cruz. There are less frequent penguin sightings on Bartolome Island with many having followed the cooler western waters.

Flamingoes begin nesting

Masked boobies

Visiting Galapagos Islands in March

medium season

On the Galapagos Islands during March you can expect the highest temperatures and also higher periods of precipitation period. Periods of rain can be expected on most days, but also hot temperatures making it feel tropical.

The snorkeling around Isabela and nearby islands is excellent in March, where you can expect to see plenty of penguins and tropical fish. The warmer waters mean that sessions in the water can last longer

  • Marine iguanas nest on Fernandina
  • Summer equinox (March 21st) signals the arrival of the waved albatross to Espanola.
  • Some shorelines, particularly north facing, can receive deep surges (ola de fondo) from northern currents (warm).
  • Disembarking at certain areas like Puerto Egas, Gardner Bay, and Bartolome can be challenging

Visiting Galapagos Islands in April

medium season

The rainy season begins to come to an end in April. Even the more arid parts of the Galapagos are lush and green. The wildlife is busy feasting on an abundance of fruit and seeds making it a popular time for tourists. Towards the end of the month the waved albatross start arriving for their breeding season, with large numbers of birds to been seen on Espanola performing courtship displays. Giant tortoises meanwhile are reaching the end of their hatching season, while both the land iguanas and green turtles start on theirs.

Visiting Galapagos Islands in May

medium season

May is a shoulder season for the Galapagos with the cooler period ahead. It is a great time to visit before the summer travellers arrive.

If travelling in May be sure to visit North Seymour and checkout the comical blue-footed boobies who will be starting their courtship displays. Other birdlife to look out for are band-rumped storm petrels who will be starting to nest and the waved albatrosses will have started laying on Espanola.

If dipping your toe in the water around Bartolome you should see the penguins zipping around under water.

Marine iguana eggs are busy hatching on Santa Cruz and the turtles continue hatching on Gardner Bay, Punta Cormorant and Puerto Egas.

 

Blue-footed boobies

Waved albatross

Visiting Galapagos Islands in June

high season

Marking the beginning of the Garua season you can expect more mist and fog at either end of the day. However, there will still be plenty of sunshine around during the day for you to enjoy your visit. Cooler southern currents are driving the fall in temperatures and south east trade winds can make the sea less settled.

For those spending time on land this is a great time to go hiking across the islands. The giant tortoises on Santa Cruz begin their migration from the highlands seeking nesting sites to breed.

Magnificent frigate birds

Humpback whales

Visiting Galapagos Islands in July

high season

July falls into the cool and dry season, where southern trade winds carry the cold Humboldt and Cromwell currents past the Galapagos Islands. The air and ocean are both cooler during this time, the skies are generally more overcast, and a sea mist rises to the highlands. In the cool and dry season, the sun is less intense, light tropical rains can fall and the increase in wind brings choppier seas. The average temperature in July is between 19-26ºC.

Throughout July, the islands are cool and occasionally drizzly while still holding on to the sunshine and clearer skies of the warm and wet season – however it is also one of the windiest months. On the wildlife front, lava lizards begin to initiate mating rituals (which continues through to November) and flightless cormorants perform their beautiful courtship rituals and nesting activities on Fernandina Island. This is the ideal time to witness the four nesting stages of blue-footed and Nazca boobies, from eggs and chicks to juveniles and sub-adults. Sightings of whales and dolphins are more likely, especially off the western coast of Isabela Island, since the strong currents carry large amounts of plankton. Near Darwin and Wolf Islands whale sharks can be spotted, and greater flamingos begin their courtship dances.

Visiting Galapagos Islands in August

high season

Throughout August, strong currents mean waters become increasingly choppy and surges can be expected on southern and western shores. On the wildlife front, the sea lion pupping season begins and sightings in the western and central islands are likely. Meanwhile, giant tortoises return to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island after laying their eggs, Galapagos hawks begin their courtship rituals on Espanola Island, and both Nazca boobies and swallow-tailed gulls start nesting on Genovesa Island. 

Galapagos hawks

Sea lion pups

Visiting Galapagos Islands in September

high season

Throughout September, the peak of the cool and dry season hits the Galapagos Islands and the summer crowds start to filter out. While it is the coldest month in the archipelago, the days are still pleasant and the nutrient-rich waters make for remarkable underwater sightings – just be sure to wear a warm wetsuit! On the wildlife front, Galapagos penguins frolic with swimmers and snorkellers both above and below the ocean surface off the coast of Bartolome Island. Meanwhile, on the western and central islands, harem-gathering male sea lions are constantly barking and fighting, and it is a good time to see baby sea lions. Around the north-western islands, whale sharks and humpback whales can be seen migrating.

Visiting Galapagos Islands in October

medium season

Throughout October, it is possible to witness some of the archipelago’s most stunning sunrises from the western islands and volcanic summits are clear even though low-lying fog covers the shorelines. This moist and cold fog is present on all islands in the archipelago, but in the western islands this mist tends to burn off and result in brighter days. On the wildlife front, lava herons start nesting (which continues through to March), the breeding season is underway for fur seals, and blue-footed boobies begin raising their chicks all over Espanola Island and Isabela Island.

Giant tortoises lay eggs

Blue footed boobies raise chicks

Visiting Galapagos Islands in November

medium season

Throughout November, which lies at the very end of the cool and dry season (just before the warm and wet season begins), the high amounts of plankton in the Humboldt Current means visibility is not at its peak, but it also means that the marine life are at their most active and snorkelling can bring memorable encounters. On the wildlife front, the sea lion pupping season continues and these nimble three-to-four-month-olds are playful and curious with swimmers and snorkellers (you might even find one nibbling at your fins). Sightings of jellyfish are likely around Gardner Bay on Espanola Island, and whale sharks can be seen in the far northwest of the islands. 

Visiting Galapagos Islands in December

high season

Throughout December, which lies at the very start of the warm and wet season (just after the cool and dry season has ended), the western islands remain dry and sea temperatures begin to gradually rise. On the wildlife front, baby giant tortoises begin hatching (and continue through to April), green sea turtles start to display mating behaviours, and the first young waved albatross fledglings can be observed as they begin to migrate. On San Cristobal and Genovesa Island, magnificent frigatebirds begin their mating season by inflating their red-coloured throat pouches, and both sea lions and fur seals begin breeding.

Galapagos Islands climate guide

Drag the slider to see monthly temperature and rainfall.

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sept
Oct
Nov
Dec
Maximum Temperature (°C) Monthly Rainfall (mm)
Fernandina
Santa Cruz
Isabela

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