While there is never a bad time to visit the Galapagos Islands, there are certain variations during different months. The Galapagos are a year-round destination due to their location along the Equator; therefore, the differences lay mostly in the animals that can be spotted and their behavior. The climate does not vary significantly, as there are only minor changes caused by ocean currents. While some months may be very hot and perfect for relaxing on the beach among sea lions, others are perfect for Sports tours.
This month is part of the warm or wet season. Expect to have sunny blue skies during the morning, and rising temperatures in the afternoon. At the end of the day it usually rains, which is a good way to cool down!
- In January, land birds start nesting.
- On Española Island, the adult marine Iguanas change their color. They become very bright colored, ranging from red and orange to even green and purple!
- Green Sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.
- On Isabela Island, the land iguanas begin their courtship.
While January is a warm month, February is even hotter. This month, along with March, is one of the rainiest months of the year. Don’t let this hold you back, as the sun usually starts to shine again after the rain.
There is plenty of sun and the sea temperature is starting to rise, making it comfortable for aquatic activities. February normally offers the best underwater visibility, so you will be able to observe many animals.
- Marine Iguanas begin nesting on Santa Cruz.
- The Greater Flamingos on Floreana Island start nesting.
- The Galapagos Dove nesting season is at its peak, while the Nazca Boobies on Española are ending their nesting season.
- White-Cheeked Pintails start their breeding season.
A sunny month with warm waters, the sun will reach it peak intensity, so make sure you are prepared by packing sunblock with a high protection factor.
- Iguanas nest on North Seymour and Fernandina.
- It is the perfect time for snorkeling.
- The Frigatebird mating season begins on San Cristobal and Genovesa Islands.
- Waved Albatrosses arrive on Española Island.
The peak of the wet season is over, and the islands turn green and are full of (newborn) life. April and May are considered the best months to visit Galapagos; however, this is purely subjective.
- The First sea lion pups are born.
- Frigatebird chicks begin to hatch.
- Galapagos hawks begin their courting on different islands.
- Giant tortoises return to the highlands of Santa Cruz.
Temperatures on the islands begin to cool off; however, the water remains warm. During this month, the transition from warm season to the cooler rainier season really is noticeable.
- Marine Iguana eggs start hatching.
- The baby sea turtles begin to hatch in Puerto Egas and Gardner Bay on Santiago and Española.
- Waved albatrosses on Española lay their eggs.
- Blue-footed boobies begin their courtship ritual.
The cold and dry season has officially started in June. There is significantly less rain, but it is also a bit chillier. The cool currents bring a lot of nutrients with them, making for a good source of food for the animals living on the Islands.
- Humpback whales can be seen passing through.
- The giant tortoise nesting season starts, they move to the lowlands to find a good nesting place.
- Birds will start migrating north.
The nights are significantly cooler this month, so make sure to pack a jacket for when it gets a bit colder. In July, there is once again not much rain, which results in clear and sunny skies, making it ideal to visit.
- During this month, seabird communities start nesting.
- The sea lion breeding season has kicked off.
- You are more likely to spot whales and dolphins, especially off the coast of Isabela Island.
- The mating ritual of Lava Lizards has begun!
The garua, or misty season, that starts in June and lasts through November is getting stronger. This means that every morning there is a thin layer of mist across the highlands. This occurrence is one of the reasons that the Islands are called the “enchanted Islands”
- Frigatebird chicks are hatching.
- The first sea lion pups are born.
- Galapagos Giant tortoises return to the Santa Cruz highlands.
- The Galapagos Hawks start their courting on Española and Santiago.
In September, the Galapagos Islands reach their lowest yearly temperatures. Don’t worry, as these temperatures are actually very comfortable. Nevertheless, a wet suit is recommended for aquatic activities, such as swimming and diving.
- This is an excellent month if you wish to see or swim with penguins.
- Baby sea lions are very playful and active; an amazing sight.
- The Galapagos fur seal starts mating.
Due to the cold Humboldt currents, the ocean is full of tropical fish. This is ideal for snorkeling or diving, and perfect for birds that hunt these types of fish. The birds can be spotted actively hunting for food.
- Boobies on Isabela Island raise their newly born chicks.
- Lava Herons begin nesting
- Spot whale sharks at the north-western Islands.
- Brand-rumped storm petrels are starting their second period of nesting.
- Brown Nody breeding season begins
- Giant tortoises begin to hatch.
- Birds start migrating to the south.
- The first Waved Albatross chicks start to show up.
- Green sea turtles start to mate.
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