Best time to visit Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos are a year-round destination and there is always a plethora of wonderful things to see. However, depending on your interests, you might find that some months are a better time to visit than others. Hopefully the information below will help you work out what might be the best time for you.
If in doubt though, just come when you can – it’s always amazing!
Galapagos Island seasons
Dry Season: This is roughly July to December, with temperatures around 16-23°c
Rainy Season: It rains most from about January to June, when temperatures are roughly 20-28°c.
- Being some distance from the mainland, the Galapagos are governed by a climate of their own but this remains fairly constant throughout the year and so this is really a year round destination.
- The tropical heat you might expect is usually tempered by the Pacific breezes and you might even need a jumper after sundown on deck.
- Daytime temperatures will vary from about 20 to 28°c. December to May are the warmest months to visit the Galapagos.
- April and May are generally the clearest months.
- July and August can be windy (but this is still peak season).
- From July to November you may experience occasional ‘garua’ or mists and the water is atypically cool for the tropics.
- For Diving: Diving is always good here, but underwater visibility is best around mid-December to March. Water temperatures from July to December are around 16-23°c, and from January to June they are roughly 20-28°c.
Monthly Calendar of events and climate in the Galapagos
- Rains are short-lived and happen mainly in the afternoon passing quickly, and leaving behind gorgeous blue skies.
- The marine iguanas of Espanola Island become brightly coloured as the mating season starts.
- Giant tortoise eggs start hatching.
- Magnificent frigatebirds and great frigatebirds start nesting. On North Seymour this can happen all year.
- Green sea turtles start to arrive back to the Galapagos island beaches to lay their eggs.
- January is excellent for snorkelling as the water and air temperatures have risen above 22°c. Best underwater visibility continues through February and March too.
- It’s the main nesting season of Galapagos doves.
- Nazca boobies on Espanola are coming to the end of their nesting season.
- Marine iguanas are starting to next on Santa Cruz.
- Black-tailed pintails start breeding.
- Floreana Island welcomes nesting greater flamingos.
- Many penguins tend to move away from Bartolome to Isabela and Fernandina with their cooler waters.
- March 21st signals the return of the first albatrosses back to Espanola Island.
- Marine iguanas are nesting on Fernandina and North Seymour.
- Frigatebirds begin mating on the islands of San Cristobal and Genovesa.
- Rains are now over but the islands are still looking fresh and green in April.
- Lots of waved albatross are now arriving on Espanola.
- Green turtles eggs begin to hatch.
- Land iguanas start to hatch on Isabela.
- Sea turtles, marine iguanas and land iguanas are all nesting.
- Marine iguanas eggs start hatching on Santa Cruz.
- North Seymour’s blue-footed boobies start mating.
- Green turtles are still hatching on Gardner Bay, Punta Cormorant, and Puerto Egas.
- Waved albatrosses on Espanola start laying eggs.
- It’s the start of the cold dry season in the islands.
- Giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island migrate from the highlands to the lowlands looking for places to nest.
- Groups of migrating humpback whales often reach the Galapagos by June.
- Whale sharks can be seen from roughly the end of the month.
- Northbound southern migrants start to reach the Galapagos.
- July and August can be the windiest months. If you get seasick you might want avoid these months.
- Whale sharks and humpback whales seen around islands.
- On Fernandina flightless cormorants go through beautiful courtship rituals and nesting activities.
- See the four stages of nesting in blue-footed boobies – eggs, chicks, juveniles and sub-adults.
- Lava lizards are mating from now until November.
- American oystercatchers nest on Santiago’s beaches.
- Sea lions start breeding.
- Blue-footed boobies and waved albatross are nesting.
- The ocean drops to around 18°c.
- Galapagos hawks start courtship displays on Espanola and Santiago.
- Frigatebirds start hatching.
- Nazca boobies and swallow-tailed gulls nest on Genovesa.
- Giant tortoises are returning to the highlands of Santa Cruz.
- Galapagos sea lions begin to give birth.
- The ‘garua’ or cold season is at its peak. Air temperature is commonly below 20°c.
- On Bartolome Galapagos penguins are at their most active during their mating.
- Female Galapagos sea lions have come into season and the males are constantly barking and fighting. Lots of baby sea lions are around.
- Most species of sea birds remain quite active at their nesting sites.
- Any giant tortoises still in the lowlands are still laying eggs.
- The Galapagos fur seals begin mating.
- Baby sea lions are very curious and love swimming alongside you.
- From now until March, lava herons are nest building.
- Galapagos sea lions continue giving birth.
- Band-rumped storm petrels begin their second nesting period.
- Breeding season for the brown noddies begins.
- Whale sharks can often still be spotted in the northwest.
- Green sea turtles start mating.
- This is the start of the warmer rainy season. Plants in the dry zone begin to come into leaf and the island are clothed in fresh greenery.
- From about now until April giant tortoise eggs begin hatching.
- Green turtles begin their mating.
- Marine and land iguanas start mating.
- The first young waved albatrosses fledge and begin their migration following the cool waters back to lower south.
- Sea lions and fur seals are breeding.