When to Visit the Galapagos

Seasons and Climate Changes

The Galapagos Islands are dominated by two seasons: the foggy garua season (June to November) and the sunny season (December to May). During the garua season, the air and sea temperature drops about 5-10 degrees cooler and a steady wind blows from the South. This can mean slightly rougher seas for those exploring the Galapagos by yacht. The sunny season (as the name suggests) is gifted with more hours of sunshine, with the exception of the occasional rain shower, and light to no wind, making for much smoother sailing.

At the micro scale, weather on the islands can vary greatly depending on the altitude and whether the zone is exposed or sheltered from the prevailing southerly winds. With increasing altitude, the precipitation is greater due to the cloud moisture condensing.

With wildlife exploration in mind, any month in the Galapagos is a good month. Something is always mating, hatching, or coming of age. During the cooler garua season when the water temperature also drops, the chances of seeing large marine life such as sharks are optimal, whereas during the warmer months the underwater wildlife is rich with the smaller, more colorful variety.

Wildlife by Season

In January, land iguanas begin their mating season on Isabela and sea turtles start laying their eggs on the beaches. In February and March, marine iguanas are nesting. April marks the initiation of the waved albatross courtship process on Espanola. In May, blue-footed boobies begin their famous mating rituals on North Seymour. June signals the slow migration of giant tortoises from the highlands to the lowlands of Santa Cruz to find the perfect nesting spot. In July, flightless cormorants and lava lizards start courting suitors. Galapagos hawks are active with their mating rituals in August, and penguins and sea lions get active in September.

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