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Best time to visit Galapagos

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The Galapagos Islands, a breathtaking destination that welcomes visitors year-round, boasts mild Galapagos weather, stunning landscapes, and an array of unique species to observe. The best time to go to the Galapagos Islands will depend on your interests and the activities you wish to do. That being said, the best time to visit Galapagos in terms of weather is during its warm season, which lasts from December to May. This blog will explore the Galapagos seasons in more depth, along with the diverse activities each season offers, and assist you in deciding on the ideal time to visit these enchanting isles.

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When is the best time to visit Galapagos: Weather and Climate

The Galapagos Islands are often mistakenly seen as a tropical haven due to their consistently warm temperatures year-round. However, the Galapagos climate significantly differs from typical tropical weather. For a comprehensive understanding of the weather and to ascertain the best time to visit Galapagos, it’s crucial to know that it oscillates between two seasons. The Galapagos Islands’ two seasons are warm and dry. Here are some key features of each:

  • Precipitation and warmer temperatures
  • Intermittent and refreshing rainfall
  • Lush vegetation extends into often arid highlands
  • Bright sunlight, vibrant colors, sultry heat
  • Humboldt Current, which strengthens and combines with other currents
  • Nutrient-rich waters; which equals increased marine activity
  • Silver skies and very comfortable weather conditions
  • Vegetation is not as lush, and there is better visibility on land

Table of best time to visit Galapagos
MONTHS AIR TEMP. (°F) HRS. CLEAR SKIES SEA TEMP. (°F)
MAX MIN
January 84 72 5.3 74
February 86 74 7.5 76
March 88 74 6.0 76
April 86 72 7.5 76
May 82 72 5.2 76
June 78 71 4.4 74
July 76 68 2.8 74
August 74 67 3.3 68
September 76 67 2.9 69
October 77 68 3.8 71
November 78 69 3.5 72
December 80 70 4.0 74

Galapagos best time to visit: Month by Month

As the Galapagos seasons shift, two transitional times emerge – November through January and May through July. These periods are the best time of year to visit Galapagos, particularly the latter, which sees a transition from the hot season to the dry, as evidenced by a surge in visitors. Each season brings changes in sea currents and vegetation, marking pivotal moments in the lives of both marine and terrestrial animals and offering unique experiences worth witnessing firsthand. Therefore, when planning your journey, consider the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands; travel based on your preferences and interests in wildlife observation and weather conditions.

The Galapagos Islands’ weather varies throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from 65°F to 80°F. Today’s forecast shows mostly cloudy skies with a high of 76°F and a humidity level of 73%. Ocean currents mainly influence this subtropical climate and offer two distinct Galapagos seasons: the warm season from December to June and the cooler season from July to November.
Apart from special offers, promotions, and package availability, when considering the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands, it is essential to look at the following factors:

Metropolitan Touring guarantees you the opportunity to see, on average, more than half of the BIG15 Galapagos iconic species when you hop aboard any of our expedition-based cruises. Appreciating the archipelago’s beauty while relaxing on the beach is a given; exploring the islands by experiencing diverse activities is key. So, let’s look at the best time to visit the Galapagos!

  • The Galapagos warm season increases terrestrial activity because of an abundant food supply on land and warmer temperatures, while marine and land iguanas are at their most colorful.
  • The Galapagos dry season sees a significant increase in marine activity due to the upwellings pushing deep water nutrients to the surface, making for cooler water temperatures and increased food supply under the water surface. Bird species, like the American flamingo, can also be seen initiating elegant mating rituals during this time.
Best Time To Visit Galapagos Seasons
Hot Season and Dry Season in the Galapagos Islands

December to January in Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands experience a unique blend of climatic and biological transitions from December to January. It’s the start of the warm and hot season, with average temperatures rising and rainfall increasing slightly, making the archipelago lush and vibrant. This period marks the beginning of the breeding season for many species too, offering exceptional opportunities for wildlife viewing. Sea turtles begin nesting on the beaches, while land birds, marine iguanas, penguins, and sea lions are also notably active. The warmer water temperatures and calmer seas during these months make it an excellent time for snorkeling and diving. If you plan your Galapagos Island tour during these months, you can look forward to a remarkable and fulfilling adventure as it is considered one of the best times to visit the Galapagos.

Climate and Weather Conditions

The Galapagos Islands begin their warm season from December to January, marked by a beautiful blend of sun, warmth, and occasional rains. During this time of climate transition, the islands become lush and alive with life. Galapagos temperatures usually range from 70 °F to 84 °F (21 °C to 29 °C), offering a pleasant environment for exploring. Despite its location on the equator, the Galapagos Islands’ weather is not entirely tropical. These unique conditions produce an optimal setting for plant flowering and enhanced wildlife activity. This means there will be plenty of wildlife viewing, snorkeling, and diving options for guests. Expect some afternoon rain, but know that this time of year provides a gratifying and comfortable experience that’s considered by some to be the best time to visit the Galapagos.

Ocean Conditions

The ocean conditions in the Galapagos are at their best from December to January. In early December, water temperatures range from 72.5 °F to 76 °F (22 °C to 24.5 °C) by January. The water temperature rises as the cooling currents and breezes lessen, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Afternoon showers are typical, but they rarely affect ocean activities. Despite the moderate chill in the air, most people find the water temperatures to be rather pleasant, and a wetsuit is only necessary for extended hours of water-based exploration. Overall, the ocean conditions during these months provide a superb opportunity to see Galapagos marine life at its most active.

Best Time Of Year To Visit Galapagos For Hiking
Hiking in the Galapagos Islands

February to March in Galapagos

Visiting the Galapagos Islands during February and March offers a unique experience characterized by humid days and clear, calm waters. Despite falling within the rainy/warm season, with these two months being the rainiest, sunshine typically follows the tropical rains, making it an ideal period for sun-seekers. The warmer temperatures during this time of year provide perfect conditions for various aquatic activities. So, despite the occasional rains, the pleasant Galapagos Islands weather along with the vibrant life on land and at sea make February and March the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands.

Climate and Weather Conditions

The Galapagos Islands, a stunning archipelago that’s a dream destination for many, boasts warm and welcoming weather from February to March. During February, the islands enjoy an average water temperature of about 76 °F (24.5 °C), with rainfall measuring around 2.6 inches (7 cm). The Galapagos climate during this period is typically pleasant, with Galapagos temperatures averaging at a comfortable 86 °F (30 °C). As we transition into March, the islands continue to bask in warmth, with the highest average temperature reaching 88 °F (31 °C) and the lowest average temperature lingering at around 75 °F (23.8 °C).

Ocean Conditions

The Galapagos Islands, a marvel of biodiversity and natural beauty, offer an exceptional oceanic experience from February to March. The average water temperature during this period is quite comfortable, hovering around 76-77 °F (24.5-25 °C). This warmth makes these months ideal for water activities such as swimming and snorkeling. Remarkably, the sea temperature in March peaks at 77 °F (25 °C), offering visitors the chance to witness the vibrant underwater life in its splendor. Sunny skies swiftly replace any afternoon rains, preserving the excellent mood. During this period, the islands’ peculiar temperature conditions, defined by warm waters and limited rainfall, allow tourists to discover the diverse marine life that calls the Galapagos home.

Warm Season; Galapagos Blue Footed Booby
Galapagos Blue-footed Booby and Marine Iguana

April to May in Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands, a paradise for nature and wildlife enthusiasts, are particularly captivating during April and May. Explorers can enjoy a comfortable climate in the Galapagos Islands during April and May as this period, known as the tail end of the “warm season,” has an average temperature of 72-86 °F (22-30 °C). The sea maintains a comfortable temperature of around 77 °F (25 °C), ideal for indulging in water activities like snorkeling and swimming. The islands’ landscape is awash with vibrant colors as plants are in full bloom, offering a captivating backdrop for your adventures. Furthermore, this time frame coincides with the mating season of many unique species, such as the waved albatross and marine iguanas, allowing visitors to witness nature’s spectacle firsthand. The blend of mild weather, rich flora, and thriving fauna make April to May a fabulous time to experience the wonders of the Galapagos Islands.

Climate and Weather Conditions

Staying in the Galapagos Islands during April and May offers a unique blend of heat, sun, and rare rainfall, creating a comfortable climate for the expedition. During this period, the average air temperature fluctuates between a pleasant 69 °F (20.5 °C) to a warm 86 °F (30 °C), with the highlands experiencing most of the Galapagos rainfall. The waters around the islands reach their highest Galapagos temperature during April, providing an incredibly comfortable environment at 77 °F (25 °C) for water-based activities like snorkeling. Despite being on the Equator, the Galapagos Islands are not tropical, which makes them suitable for visiting all year round. However, the favorable temperatures and blooming flora make April and May a particularly enticing time to visit.

Ocean Conditions

Experiencing the oceanic beauty of the Galapagos Islands in April and May is a treat for nature enthusiasts. During this period, the waters surrounding the islands reach peak warmth levels, with temperatures averaging an incredibly pleasant 77 °F (25 °C) in April, making it ideal for water activities such as snorkeling and diving. As we transition into May, the water temperatures drop slightly but remain at comfortable 76 °F (24.5 °C). Galapagos rainfall is minimal during these months, further enhancing the allure of the oceanic experience. The warm current predominates the maritime conditions, making it ideal for seeing marine species. From April to May, the ocean conditions in the Galapagos Islands offer an excellent combination of warmth and clarity, offering tourists an unparalleled opportunity to explore the rich underwater wildlife.

Ocean Conditions For Kayak And Paddleboard
Kayak and paddleboard in Galapagos

June to July in Galapagos

During June and July, the Galapagos Islands transition into the dry season, offering a different yet equally enchanting experience for visitors. The Humboldt Current, known for its cooler waters, starts to dominate the ocean surrounding the islands, causing temperatures to drop to around 72 °F (22 °C) in June and further to 70 °F (21 °C) in July. It’s an exciting time for wildlife, as it signals the start of nesting season for numerous bird species, including the renowned Blue-footed Booby. While the air temperature drops and the skies get a little bit cloudier, the islands’ distinctive species and magnificent surroundings remain just as enthralling. Despite the possibility of rain, June and July might be the best times to visit the Galapagos Islands, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe nature’s life cycle at its most vibrant.

Climate and Weather Conditions

The Galapagos Islands usher in their cool and dry season in June and July. A unique blend of cloudy, cool, and dry weather characterizes this period. Air temperatures typically range from 70 °F to 79 °F (21 to 26 °C), providing a comfortable climate for outdoor explorations. The water temperatures around this time hover around a pleasant 76 °F (24.5 °C), making swimming and observing marine life rather enjoyable. During these months, the Humboldt Current has a powerful effect, resulting in an upwelling of nutrient-rich waters that attract a variety of marine animals. Despite the possibility of cloudier skies, the islands remain just as enthralling, thanks to the lack of rain, temperate days, and cooler nights. Whether you’re a wildlife or nature lover, the climate and weather conditions in the Galapagos Islands from June to July provide a one-of-a-kind and memorable experience.

Ocean Conditions

During June and July, the Galapagos Islands present visitors with a unique maritime spectacle. This period marks the onset of the cooler season, with ocean temperatures dipping to around 73 °F (23 °C) in June and further to 72 °F (22 °C) by July. These cooler waters are refreshing for those indulging in water activities and also lead to an upwelling of nutrient-rich waters that attract diverse marine life. The Humboldt Current’s effect intensifies throughout these months, making it ideal for animal viewing. Despite the mild drop in Galapagos temperatures, the water is still warm enough to swim and snorkel in throughout the day.

When Is The Best Time To Go To Galapagos For Birdwatching
Galapagos Islands Birdwatching

August to September in Galapagos

In August and September, the Galapagos Islands experience the peak of the dry season, known colloquially as “garua.” Cooler temperatures are what characterize these months, with average highs of around 75 °F (24 °C) and lows that dip to around 66 °F (18.5 °C). While it may seem surprising, this time of year is perfect for watching marine animals. The nutrient-rich waters attract many marine creatures, especially whales and dolphins. On land, birds such as Galapagos hawks begin mating, while sea lions start to give birth. The dark skies and misty rain don’t diminish the islands’ charm; instead, it adds a certain beauty to the landscapes of these magical islands.

Climate and Weather Conditions

In the Galapagos Islands, August and September fall within the cool and dry season. During this period, the islands experience a comfortable climate with temperatures usually ranging between 65 °F (18 °C) to 75 °F (23.8 °C). The average air temperature in September is around 74 °F (23 °C). Cloudy skies define these months, yet the islands remain enthralling as ever. The seas are at their coldest during this time of year, with temperatures ranging from 68-70°F (20-21 °C), the lowest of the year. Despite the colder temperatures, this environment attracts a wide range of marine species, making it a perfect period for wildlife viewing.

Ocean Conditions

The Galapagos Islands usually experience cooler and drier weather in August and September. During this period, the average ocean temperatures hover around 70.7 °F (21.5 °C) in August, gradually going to about 72 °F (22 °C) in September. The primary reason for this is the impact of the Humboldt Current, which brings colder waters and leads to a significant uptick in aquatic nutrients. These nutrient-dense waters are key in attracting diverse marine life, making it an excellent time for snorkeling and underwater exploration. However, we highly recommend wetsuits for those planning to engage in water activities because of the lower water temperatures during this time. Ultimately, the Galapagos Islands’ oceanic conditions from August to September offer a unique opportunity to see the island’s vibrant marine life amidst comfortably cool weather, and is often regarded by many to be the best time to visit the Galapagos.

Best Month To Visit Galapagos To See Sea Lions
Galapagos sea lion

October to November in Galapagos

In October and November, the Galapagos Islands experience cool and dry seasons. Daytime temperatures at this time of year typically hover between 65 °F and 78 °F (18-25 °C), with water temperatures averaging a cool 72.5 °F (22.5 °C) in October. The Galapagos Islands weather starts to warm up slightly in November, providing a comfortable climate for visitors. These months also coincide with the low tourist season, so it could be the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands, which means you may discover fantastic prices on cruises and many other activities. Thus, October and November in the Galapagos Islands provide a wonderfully calm experience amidst a diverse range of animals.

Climate and Weather Conditions

In October and November, the Galapagos Islands experience the latter part of the rainy season, a cool and dry period characterized by misty conditions and lower temperatures. In October, average maximum temperatures hover around 77 °F (25 °C), while minimums can dip to 68 °F (20 °C). Then November rolls in, and the Galapagos weather becomes slightly warmer, with average high temperatures reaching up to 79 °F (26 °C). Despite being part of the dry season, occasional precipitation occurs, mainly in the highlands. The comfortable temperatures and the islands’ unique biodiversity make this period ideal for exploration and wildlife spotting.

Ocean Conditions

In October and November, the Galapagos Islands have a rare combination of weather conditions perfect for marine exploration. In October, the water temperatures average a cooler 72.5 °F (22.5 °C), making wetsuits a recommended accessory for those eager to explore the underwater world. Despite the cooler waters, it’s an excellent time for aquatic activities, with plenty of marine wildlife to observe. In November, the water temperatures changes slightly, averaging around 72 °F (22 °C). The air temperatures during this time remain pleasant, with highs around 79 °F (26 °C) and lows of around 69.8 °F (21 °C). Thus, the oceanic conditions in the Galapagos Islands from October to November offer an exciting opportunity to explore the vibrant marine life amidst a a slightly cooler yet comfortable climate.

Ocean Conditions In Galapagos Islands
Ocean conditions in Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands Seasons

The Galapagos Islands, renowned for their rich biodiversity, experience two seasons yearly.

Firstly, there’s the Warm and Wet season, which typically runs from January to June and is characterized by higher temperatures, increased humidity, and frequent showers. This period offers calm seas and excellent underwater visibility, making it the perfect time for snorkeling and other aquatic activities. The islands are a riot of color during this season, with plants in full bloom and wildlife thriving.

Secondly, there’s the Cool and Dry season, known colloquially as the “Garua” season, which occurs from June to November. It’s marked by cooler temperatures, misty mornings, and reduced rainfall, particularly in the highlands. Despite the decrease in rain, the nutrient-rich ocean currents that flow during this time attract an abundance of marine wildlife, creating a spectacular season for scuba diving and wildlife viewing. Even with less rainfall, the lower areas maintain their lush green appearance, thanks to the drizzle that falls in the highlands.

Ocean currents powerfully influence the Galapagos weather and experience two distinct seasons: the warm season, with temperatures ranging from 70 °F to 80 °F (21-26 °C), and the cooler season, with temperatures between 65 °F and 75 °F (18-24 °C). Also, it is essential to know that in the Galapagos, the warm or hot season, often called the “summer season,” typically runs from December to May. During this time, the weather is hot and humid with some rainfall, and temperatures range between 70 °F to 80 °F (21-26 °C). This is also when the water Galapagos temperature is warmer, making it excellent for aquatic activities.

Warm and Wet Season (December to May)

Occasional rainfall interspersed with abundant sunshine marks this period in the Galapagos. The El Niño Current infuses warmth into the region, primarily driving this season. From December to May, the area experiences the rainy season due to the influence of the El Niño Current. During this time, the Galapagos experiences average temperatures in the 80 °F (26.5 °C) range, with high humidity.

Cool and Dry Season (June to November)

The Cool and Dry Season in the Galapagos spans from June to November. It is characterized by southern trade winds bringing the chilly Humboldt Current, often creating a cool, misty atmosphere ideal for specific wildlife observations.

Conclusion: Best time to travel to the Galapagos

The best time to visit Galapagos depends on what you hope to see and experience. However, many consider the best months to visit Galapagos to be anytime through December through May. During these months, the Galapagos weather is warm, and the ocean is calm, making it perfect for snorkeling, paddleboarding, and swimming. The warmer water also means more active marine life, increasing the chances of spotting sea turtles, dolphins, and potentially even hammerhead sharks. Additionally, this season is known as the “warm or summer season,” which means the islands are in full bloom and more vibrant than at other times of the year. It’s also an excellent birdwatching time, as many species nest during these months. It’s also a very suitable for enjoying wildlife spotting and hikes. However, it’s necessary to emphasize that the Galapagos Islands provide unparalleled experiences all year round. In other words, there isn’t a “worst” time to visit the Galapagos!

To maximize your experience in the Galapagos Islands, travelers should plan well in advance, consider the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands, ponder their interests in wildlife, and reflect on their preferred weather conditions. Booking a cruise aboard the Isabela II or La Pinta can offer luxury accommodations, scrumptious dining options, expert naturalist guides, and an onboard medical officer which provides added peace of mind. Working with Metropolitan Touring, a reputable tour operator with extensive regional experience with decades of experience, is also advisable to ensure a smooth trip. So, please make the most out of these tips for narrowing down the best time to visit Galapagos Islands!

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Updated:June 12, 2024

Published:January 18, 2019

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