Do any species migrate from the Galapagos Islands?

When it comes to seasons in the tropics, most of us were taught that there are none. But such teachings couldn’t be any further away from the truth when it comes to a place as unique as Galapagos.

Albatross Migration
The Albatross Is The Only Animal That Migrates From The Galapagos Islands

While the archipelago is geographically equatorial, two very distinct seasons are at play here throughout the year. This is also why, when asked about the best time to come, we always answer by saying that the only “bad time” in the Galapagos is when you aren’t here. What triggers the climate in Galapagos is the presence or absence of winds. Around late-December/early-January, the winds pretty much cease and, gradually, doldrums take over. It isn’t until later on, around April, that the winds return and the cooler/dryer weather takes over the islands.

A Group Of Albatross
Albatrosses Are Exceptional Gliders

Wildlife uses weather patterns to match up the best environmental conditions with their reproductive needs. The definition of best environmental conditions is quite simple: it all has to do with elevated food availability, adequate nesting habitats, and other incremental alterations in the environment that trigger hormonal changes. These hormonal changes manifest themselves in physiological and behavioral alterations. This dynamic is a big reason for why these highly islands can be visited at any point throughout the year. While conditions may change, they don’t never necessarily ever reach extremes (these types of stark contrasts only occur at different latitudes).

So, the answer to the question “Do species stick around the Galapagos Islands?” is YES, all of them do… except for one.

Every year, as soon as the hot season has fully set in, the Galapagos Albatross – the largest sea bird in the islands and a member of our BIG15 – pack its bags and heads for the cooler southern ocean. They don’t migrate out to another continent or oceanic islands, but instead follow the nutrient-rich waters and wait for the winds to gradually return to Galapagos. The last individuals will be seen around the first week of January, and then it’s Au revoir! until the first days of April. And guess what? Earlier this week, we saw that the first albatrosses for this season officially landed on Española Island – the only piece of land that they call home.


Albatrosses Are Known For Their Interesting And Charming Courtship Ritual.

Our Destination Experts can gladly accommodate your trip so you can see the famous Galapagos Albatross!

Yacht La Pinta was lucky enough to spot a few individuals on land while some were hovering over the island. From all perspectives, this is a good sign, especially because the arrival of albatrosses often functions as a “forecast” of the cooler waters that are gradually moving in, with the winds serving as the main drivers of change. The Galapagos albatross is therefore the only real example of a species that truly flies away and actually leaves the Galapagos Islands. In a certain sense, you could see it as a short-lived migration, but it is quite a unique one, as albatrosses will spend their entire time away simply floating over the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. If you belong to your local neighborhood albatross club, or if albatrosses are your personal passion, then you definitely need to explore the Galapagos between April and January.

In terms of what itinerary brings you to the haven of Española Island, well Yacht La Pinta delivers a great selection of islands and visitor sites. It runs from Thursday to Monday, and it also explores top islands like South Plaza, Santa Fe, and San Cristobal.

And while it may seem like albatrosses are the iconic species for this itinerary, keep in mind that there are other equally iconic species that are quite stunning too, such as land iguanas, giant tortoises, colored marine iguanas, and all three species of boobies. For sure, a very revealing trip. Also, this particular region of the islands holds the largest marine biodiversity of the archipelago. Landscapes experienced along this itinerary are also perhaps some of the most varied due to the variety of their geological age. From a geo-tourism perspective, this itinerary is certainly one that will keep you busy documenting the stunning visual components of this trip.

Text, Photography & Video Clips by Francisco “Pancho” Dousdebés – Galapagos Expert

Sullivan Bay, San Salvador (James) Island – GALAPAGOS, April 18th, 2018 :: Lat: ‎0°28′59″ S / Long: 90°56′54″ W

Updated:May 9, 2023

Published:April 19, 2018


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person



Condé Nast Traveler ONLINE

This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena (cedrón) syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital as it parades past.

National Geographic Traveller

A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

Cruise Critic

Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

Telegraph Ultra Travel: 50 Greatest Hotels in the World

When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Arquitect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road.

Terms and Conditions

Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

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