Ditch the Winter Blues & Start Planning Your Summer Travels to the Galapagos
It’s not too early to start planning for summer. It’s a perfect time. The holiday season has come and gone and the dreary cold grey winter made the month of January seem to drag on for longer than necessary. This time of year seems to bring a plunge in morale when the luster of the holiday season is no longer but summer feels so far away. Research shows that simply planning your summer vacation can cause a significant increase in your happiness. An exciting way to begin the year is planning for your upcoming summer travels, so forget about your winter gloom and start planning. Most importantly, begin planning now to get the best options for your summer in the Galapagos.
When to go
You may be wondering in which month you should visit the Galapagos. The Galapagos is an ideal destination to visit year-round. The seasons can be divided into the warm wet season between December – May and the cool dry season between June – November. The warm season is best for diving, as the seas are calm, providing greater visibility, and the waters are warmer as well. Although it is considered the wet season, rain showers tend to be brief. In addition, travelers often enjoy the warmth of this season, lending itself to more time relaxing on the beach or the deck of a cruise underneath the shining sun. However, the dry season gives visitors a chance to see incredible sights of various wildlife phenomena. Below we highlight the perks of the different summer months.
On North Seymour island, you will find blue-footed boobies performing their courtship dance. May is the best time to watch them show off their fancy dance. For the females, the bluer the feet of the males, the more attractive. Therefore, male blue-footed boobies strut their feet in their mating ritual, hopping from one foot to another. On North Seymour, crowds of blue-footed boobies congregate during this courting season, and these boobies can also be found on islands Espanola, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Floreana, Pinzon, and Fernandina.
The cool season begins, although we would call this more of a breezy season with average temperatures in the 70s (°F). Female blue-footed boobies have chosen the male booby who best caught their eye, and now we enter into nesting season. On the islands mentioned previously, you can see blue-footed boobies nesting and laying eggs, especially on North Seymour and Espanola.
During June – November, the sea contains a greater quantity of plankton and nutrients, and thereby bird sightings, such as the presence of penguins and albatross, are more frequent. In addition, with higher nutrient-rich waters, there is a lot more to see under the water for those divers wanting to face the waters’ cold temperatures.
One of the few species that migrate to the archipelago is the humpback whale. You might be able to catch the sight of a humpback whale gracefully jumping out of the water between June – September.
Nesting season continues for the blue-footed booby, and if you are lucky you might catch some eggs hatching. July is also the prime nesting season for short-eared owls, which can be found on the island of Genovesa, and flightless cormorants, which can be seen on the island of Fernandina. The flightless cormorant is endemic to the Galapagos and is the only cormorant that lost its flight ability, highlighting the unique species that can only be found in the Galapagos.
The sea lions of the Galapagos are especially not shy around humans, making them a particular photogenic favorite in the archipelago. Sea lion babies are born year-round, but the peak season is in August, which is thus the best month to see these tiny adorable babies. These wide-eyed pups can be found throughout the Galapagos. If you are particularly lucky, you might witness a mama sea lion giving birth.
How to see the Galapagos
There are two ways to visit the islands: via land hopping or cruise.
Land hopping tends to be the budget-friendly option, with travelers basing themselves out of one or two islands and then taking day tours on a small boat to nearby islands. Islands Santa Cruz and San Cristobal function as the main hubs for land hoppers, as they have a wide range of hotels and restaurants. With fewer but in many cases equally as nice options, islands Isabela and Floreana have a selection of restaurants and hotels as well. Travelers who choose land hopping often appreciate that they have more autonomy over their itinerary, planning tours to different islands on their schedule. With many free activities to take advantage of, such as visiting Las Grietas and Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz, visitors can save much more by choosing to island hop.
Cruising tends to be the more popular option as exploring the islands by cruise allows you to see more islands, especially the more remote islands, crafting an incomparable experience for travelers. The ships sail at night, allowing passengers to maximize their days snorkeling and hiking. Aboard the ships, all meals and activities are included and some even include snorkeling gear or otherwise rent them at inexpensive prices. Typically, the primary additional expenses once aboard the ships are alcohol and tips (additional expenses will vary per person, for example, if you choose to pay for Wi-Fi).
Therefore, the choice between land hopping and cruising depends on your personal preferences. You can visit more islands on a cruise and thereby see more wildlife, but it does come at a price. Land hopping is more economical and also a preferred option for those who get seasick easily.
What are you waiting for? Start planning your summer vacation now to get the best options. Experts at Gulliver will work alongside you to help you plan the most brilliant itinerary for your summer holiday in the Galapagos. Not sure about which islands to visit or whether to take a cruise or island hop? Contact our professionals at Gulliver. With 15 years of experience, we have access to some of the most respected cruise providers and day tour operators, best guides, and top hotel options from budget-friendly to luxury hotels, with the ultimate goal of giving you an unforgettable experience at some of the most unique islands in the world.0