When to go

The Galapagos Islands

Choosing the best times to travel to the Galapagos...

With the equator running through this remarkable archipelago, the Galapagos is never cold. Average air temperatures range between 25-31C throughout the year, with average water temperatures between 17-25C. Thanks to the incredible variety of wildlife and the elaborate range of behaviour they produce, there is not a bad time to visit – as there is always something unique on show. That said, there are two distinct seasons:

Cool, dry season

The garua (Spanish for ‘mist’ or ‘drizzle’) season runs from June to October sees the air and water temperatures cool, along with a drop in rainfall. The change is triggered by the arrival of the nutrient-rich, cool Humboldt current, from Antarctica. The abundance of food brought in by the current sees a huge increase in activity from seabirds, feeding their chicks. The cooler temperatures condense the clouds over the highlands, thus the perpetual mist hanging over the higher grounds on the islands (leading to the garua name). One thing to be mindful of in the garua season is the choppy seas, typically prevalent in August & September.

Tropical (wet) season

Running from December to May, the season is characterized by hot, sunny days interspersed with warm, tropical downpours. The rain is welcome, as it clears the humidity and clouds, which results is perfect snorkeling conditions, thanks to the warm ocean temperatures and clear waters. More rain falls in the highlands, compared to sea-level. The diminishment of the Humboldt current results in very calm waters.

As mentioned above, there is always something amazing happening in the Galapagos and most species can be observed year-round. Below is a month-by-month snapshot of more specific behaviours with the wildlife, throughout the year. Click the month to see the drop-down for further info:

When to go to The Galapagos Islands:

  • YJan
  • YFeb
  • YMar
  • YApr
  • YMay
  • YJun
  • YJul
  • MAug
  • MSep
  • MOct
  • YNov
  • YDec
  •   = Yes   = No   = Maybe

    January

    Green turtles take to the beach to begin their egg-laying
    Land iguanas begin their reproductive cycle
    Land birds begin nesting
    Giant tortoises still hatching

    February

    Nesting season for marine iguanas
    Beginning of the breeding season for the Bahamas Pintail ducks
    Peak nesting season of the Galapagos Dove
    Giant tortoises still hatching

    March

    High activity of the Galapagos penguin
    Magnificent and Great Frigate bird peak nesting period
    Tortoise hatching continues

    April

    Start of the Blue-footed Boobies famous mating dance!
    Green sea turtle eggs begin to hatch
    Marine iguana eggs begin to hatch

    May

    Peak courtship period of the Blue-footed Boobie
    Highest period of marine iguana egg-hatching
    Storm Petrels begin nesting

    June

    Migration of the Giant Tortoise from the highlands to the lowlands
    Abundance of red pouch observations amongst the Magnificent Frigate birds
    Cetaceans (such as dolphins and humpback whales) begin to arrive

    July

    Giant Tortoise begins nesting
    Flightless cormorants begin courtship
    Lava lizards begin mating
    More prevalent cetacean activity
    Blue-footed Boobie chicks hatching

    August

    Giant tortoises return to the Highlands
    Sea lions begin giving birth (pupping)
    Migrant bird species arrive

    September

    Female sea lions back in estrus and very active
    Peak season for male sea lion fighting on shore
    Along with the past few months, Galapagos penguins highly active

    October

    Lava Herons begin nesting
    Giant tortoise begin egg-laying
    Sea lion mating season
    Blue-footed Boobie chicks very active

    November

    Sea lion pups highly active with aqua-aerobics and very inquisitive!
    Breeding season of the Brown Noddy
    Strong Humbolt current brings nutrient-rich water, swelling marine wildlife

    December

    Giant tortoise eggs start to hatch
    Green sea turtles begin mating
    Waved Albatross chicks fledge