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Best Time To Visit Galapagos Islands: Weather & Wildlife by Month 2024

Best Time To Visit Galapagos Islands

Best Time To Visit Galapagos Islands: Weather & Wildlife by Month 2024

The Galápagos Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador, offer a unique and diverse ecosystem. The best time to visit the Galápagos Islands depends on your interests and the wildlife you want to see. There are two main seasons: the warm/wet season (December to May) and the cool/dry season (June to November). Here are some considerations for each season:

  1. Warm/Wet Season (December to May):
    • Wildlife: This season is marked by warmer temperatures and occasional light rain. It is the breeding season for many species, and you can observe sea lion pups, marine iguanas nesting, and various bird species displaying vibrant mating colors.
    • Underwater Visibility: The water is warmer, and underwater visibility is generally better during this season, making it an excellent time for snorkeling and diving.
  2. Cool/Dry Season (June to November):
    • Wildlife: This season is characterized by cooler temperatures and a drier climate. It is the time when sea birds, such as the waved albatross, are nesting, and you can witness the courtship dances of blue-footed boobies. Marine life is also active during this period.
    • Underwater Visibility: While the water may be colder during this season, the underwater visibility remains good, offering opportunities for snorkeling and diving.
  3. Specific Wildlife Highlights:
    • May and June: Green sea turtles start nesting on the beaches.
    • July to September: Humpback whales are often seen, especially around the northern islands.
    • October to December: Giant tortoises begin their nesting season on Santa Cruz.
  4. Bird Watching:
    • If bird watching is a primary interest, the cool/dry season tends to offer excellent opportunities to observe unique bird species.

Best Time To Visit Galapagos Islands: Weather & Wildlife by Month 2024

It’s important to note that the Galápagos Islands are a year-round destination, and wildlife can be observed at any time. The choice between seasons often depends on personal preferences, the specific wildlife you want to see, and the activities you plan to engage in. Keep in mind that some tour operators may have different itineraries and routes based on the season, so check with them for the most suitable options for your visit. Additionally, be aware of the Galápagos National Park regulations and any travel restrictions that may be in place.

When planning a trip, one of the most critical questions often arises the best time to travel. If you are planning your trip to the Galapagos Islands, you will be wondering the same thing.

The Galapagos Islands are located in Ecuador. Even though this country does not have all four seasons and enjoys a stable climate, the situation on the islands is a little different. It does tend to vary a little more.

If you do not have any restrictions to travel to Galapagos and you can do it in any month of the year, we will tell you a little about the situation on the islands in the other months.

How is the climate of the Galapagos Islands?

The climate of the Galapagos Islands is very changeable as it is influenced by both the temperature of the equatorial surface and that of the marine currents that cross the archipelago. It is why it has so much richness and diversity, but it can also make it a bit difficult to predict precisely what the weather will be like when you are there.

Another exceptional feature of the Galapagos is that micro-climates tend to form within the same island. For example, it is very typical that if you do the Tour of the Upper Part in Santa Cruz in all that area, it is raining and quite cloudy. Still, then when you return to Puerto Ayora or Tortuga Bay in Santa Cruz, you find a splendid sun in a matter of minutes.

In the highest parts of the islands, these microclimates are formed that also marks a lot of the type of species that are found there, very different from those found in parts of the island where the climate is drier.

What we can guarantee you is that in Galapagos you will not be cold. The lowest temperature you could find is 20 ºC, so really throughout the year, the islands enjoy a privileged climate, a little more or less rainy or dry, but in no way will you have an environment that prevents you from enjoying the islands.

What is the best time to go to Galapagos?

To begin with, we want to clarify that there is no “good” and “bad” time to enjoy Galapagos; wherever you go, you are going to enjoy an unforgettable experience. However, the month you choose may favour you to see certain types of species or that it is a little more or less rainy.

From January to March

These are the months with the most sun, therefore the hottest and also the rainiest. In Ecuador, this season is considered the “beach season” for the continent’s coast since schools are usually on vacation. Due to the water temperature, people are more likely to enjoy the sea. 

In Galapagos, it is the same; the water temperature is perfect (between 24º and 27º). It is part of the so-called Hot Season that runs from December to June. Within this season, the months of high season (with a large influx of tourists) are December and January, and on some holidays in February (carnival) and March (Easter)

From July to September

During this time, the rains decrease considerably, and the climate is much more relaxed. Still, in the same way, the temperature of the sea also drops so that some cold people can resist a little before jumping into the water (temperatures between 20º – 21º). 

Of course, the reward for doing so is magnificent because the good thing about this season is that marine species like water with colder temperatures much more when more marine life can be seen on snorkelling tours or diving. These months are part of the considered Dry Season that runs from June to November.

Transition Months – Best Time To Visit Galapagos

Although we have said that there is no better or worse time to travel to the Galapagos because each has its advantages and any time in life, it is good to visit the Enchanted Islands if we had to choose we would tell you the best time to visit Galapagos are the transition months between the Dry Season and the Hot Season.

These transition months are from April to June and from November to January. There are six months of the year in which the Islands’ climate is perfect, and they will allow you to enjoy the benefits of both seasons. 

Of course, they are also usually the months with the highest demand, so we recommend you book your tours and accommodation in advance, something for which at Galapagos Low Cost we can help you.

Galapagos Islands: High Season Vs. Low Season

The high season of tourism in the Galapagos tends to coincide with the vacation months around the world. These range from mid-December (Christmas holidays) to January, and June to August (summer holidays), in Europe and the United States.

During the high season, the availability of all services on the islands is stretched to the limit. The administration of the Galapagos National Park establishes several tourists who can visit the islands; however, the influx of tourists in the high season can be massive, making hotels and ship decks crowded.

In the same way, flights are particularly crowded during these times and, of course, prices for cruises and accommodation are higher. It is almost impossible to find last-minute deals during peak seasons, and if you miraculously find one, you will probably have to agree to travel on a boat that is not your first choice.

The low season corresponds to spring (May to June) and autumn (September and October). During these periods, tourism declines substantially, and many cruise ships lower their prices to attract more passengers.

Recommendations For The Tourism Season In Galapagos

If you plan a getaway to the Galapagos during the most popular vacation months, you should book your trip six months before the date you want to travel (or sooner). Christmas cruises, for example, are booked a year in advance.

Another alternative is to take your vacation during the low season. In that case, there are a couple of factors that you should consider. You may feel somewhat isolated or lonely at this time of year, as the beaches will be lonely.

As an advantage, availability in hotels will not be a problem on those dates. Bear in mind that sea conditions are the worst in that season, which increases the chances of travellers suffering from seasickness or discomfort from the boat’s movement.

Also, due to these rough waters, many cruise operators put their boats in dry ports for maintenance. So think twice before buying a “last minute” deal, just because it’s the off-season.

The best time to visit the Galápagos Islands is from December to May. Though the Galápagos is beautiful year-round, these months offer temperatures ranging from the low 70s to mid-80s, making pleasant conditions for hiking and wildlife-spotting.

Frequently Asked Questions: Best Time To Visit Galapagos

What is the rainy season in the Galapagos?

The Galapagos warm season (also known as the rainy season Galapagos or the green season) occurs from December through May. This time of year, Galapagos temperature ranges from the ’70s to the upper 80’s. The northern Panama current heats the water temperature to the mid-70’s Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) during the warm season.

What is the best month to go to Ecuador?

The coast has the most clearly defined wet and dry seasons, and the best time to visit is from December to April, when frequent showers alternate with clear blue skies and temperatures stay high. From May to November, it’s often overcast and relatively cool, especially in the south, with less chance of rainfall.

How long do you need in the Galapagos Islands?

Because it takes time and money to get to the Galapagos Islands and the first and last days of your trip are mostly travel days, we recommend that you spend at least five days in the Galapagos. The vast majority of travellers go to the Galapagos for 7 or 8 days.

How much does a Galapagos trip cost?

The average cost of a 5-day Galapagos cruise is about USD 3000. The least expensive Galapagos cruises begin at around USD 1000 for a 4-day cruise and can go up to around $10000 per person for an 8-day luxury-class cruise. Chartering a private Galapagos cruise starts at about $40,000.

Are the Galapagos safe?

The Galapagos is a highly safe travel destination. Very little crime occurs in the islands, and because tourism plays a vital role in the economy of the islands and the Galapagos National Park, strict rules are in place when it comes to migrating to the islands.

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Best Time To Visit Galapagos

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