The Galapagos - When to Go

The Galapagos Islands can be visited year-round, there is really no "best time".

The warm rainy season is from January to June and this is the best time for snorkeling, with warmer water temperatures. Dry season is from July to December.

High season in the Galapagos tends to be from mid-December through January and June to August, when most vacationers arrive.





Climate & Weather

The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate regulated by the cold Humboldt current and the warm El Nino current. The islands are located at this intersection of these currents which result in the weather changing its intensity during the year as the currents' driving trade winds blow and weaken in a cycle that gives two distinct islands and control the pattern and variety of Galapagos plant and animal life.

The weather varies during the year. From December until May temperatures range from low to upper 80's (with possibilities of rain). From June to September temperatures vary from low 60's to high 70's. This is the Garua season (mist in the mornings). From October until December temperatures range from 70's to 80's (dry season).

Month Average
Max. temp.
ºF
Average
Min. temp.
ºF
Average
Sea temp.
ºF
January 86 72 76
February 86 75 77
March 88 75 77
April 86 75 77
May 82 72 76
June 79 70 73
July 79 68 72
August 79 66 71
September 79 66 72
October 79 68 73
November 79 70 73
December 81 72 74
 

Seasonal Events



January

  • Warm marine currents arrive.
  • Land birds start nesting.
  • On Española the adult male Marine Iguanas become brightly colored.
  • The Green Sea Turtles arrive to the beaches to lay their eggs.
  • Land iguanas begin mating on Isabela.
  • Water and air temperatures rise and stay warm until June
  • Ideal time for snorkeling.

February

  • On Floreana flamingos start nesting.
  • White-cheeked Pintails start their breeding season.
  • Masked Boobies on Española are at the end of their nesting season.
  • Marine Iguanas nest on Santa Cruz.
  • Warm water temperature until April.
  • Galapagos dove’s nesting season reaches its peak.
  • Ideal time for snorkeling.

March

  • Water temperature reaches its maximum.
  • Sporadic tropical rains and intense sun.
  • Air temperature can reach up to 30°C (86°F).
  • Marine Iguanas nest in Fernandina.
  • Waved Albatross begin to arrive to Española.
  • Ideal time for snorkeling.

April

  • Massive arrival of Waved Albatross to Española and their courtship begins.
  • Hatching season ends for giant tortoises.
  • Green Sea Turtles’ eggs begin to hatch.
  • Land Iguanas hatch on Isabela.
  • Ideal time for snorkeling.

May

  • North Seymour's Blue-Footed Boobies begin their courtship.
  • Sea Turtles are still hatching on Gardner Bay, Punta Cormorant and Puerto Egas.
  • Most of the Marine Iguanas’ eggs hatch from nests on Santa Cruz.
  • Palo Santo trees begin to shed their foliage.
  • Albatross on Española start laying their eggs.
  • Band rumped Storm Petrels begin their first nesting period.

June

  • Beginning of the dry season.
  • Cooler waters.
  • Giant Tortoises migrate from highlands to lowlands for suitable nesting places.
  • Beginning of the nesting season of Giant Tortoises.

July

  • Sea birds are active, especially Blue Footed Boobies on Española.
  • Flightless Cormorants court and nest on Fernandina.
  • It is possible to find Oystercatchers nesting on Puerto Egas.
  • Lava Lizards mating until November.
  • Whales are more likely to be observed, especially off the Western coast of Isabela.

August

  • The Galapagos Hawks court on Española and Santiago.
  • Masked Boobies and Swallow Tailed Gulls nest on Genovesa
  • Temperature of the ocean decreasing.
  • Migrant shore birds start to arrive, and stay on the islands until March.
  • Giant tortoises return to the highlands of Santa Cruz

September

  • Peak of the dry season.
  • The air temperature reaches its lowest (19° C / 66°F).
  • Penguins demonstrate remarkable activity on Bartolomé until December.
  • Sea lions are very active, especially in the western and central areas of the Archipelago
  • Most species of marine birds remain active at their nesting sites.

October

  • Lava Herons nest until March.
  • The Galapagos Fur Seals begin their mating period.
  • Boobies raise their chicks on Española.
  • Giant Tortoises still lay their eggs.

November

  • Sea Lion pups are born.
  • Sea Lions are sexually active on the Eastern part of the Archipelago.
  • Breeding season of Brown Noddies.
  • Band Rumped Storm Petrels begin their second nesting period.

December

  • Hatching of the Giant Tortoise’s eggs begins and lasts until April.
  • Green Sea Turtles mating.
  • The warm season begins and all of the plants of the dry zone produce leaves.
  • Galapagos “turns green”.
  • The first young albatross fledge.


Water Temperatures

The water is cold. It is recommended that you wear a 5 to 7 mm wetsuit, hood and gloves for diving and snorkeling. Most vessels in the Galapagos rent wet suits to their passengers. Be sure to inquire for your specific vessel.

The water around the islands to the north is warmer, while the central and southern islands have colder water. West of Isabela the waters are very cold. There are often thermo clines between 10 to 30 meters deep. During an El Niño phenomenon the water temperatures can rise significantly.


View our Galapagos Tour programs here.....