When is the Best Time to Visit the Galapagos Islands?
Updated: May 28
The good news is that there’s no bad time to explore Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands! But when is the best time to visit the Galápagos Islands? It’s more of a choice of when best fits your interests. There are three considerations:
* Preferred Activities
* Preferred Wildlife
Since the equator runs through the Galapagos Islands region, the temperature doesn’t vary greatly throughout the year.
There is a rainy season and a dry season. While there are destinations people will choose primarily based on rainy and dry seasons, cruising in the Galapagos is not one of them. And since the Ecuadorian government strictly limits the number of people who can enter the Galapagos National Park, neither season will be overly crowded.
Rainy / Wet Season - December through May
Expect air temperatures of low-70s to mid-80s and blue skies with sunshine between showers. There’s an average of 2-4” of rain per month during this time, producing lush, colorful foliage. You’ll experience warmer water temperatures averaging 76°F which makes it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. And calmer seas for smoother waters for cruising.
Some animal highlights during parts of this season are green sea turtles, giant tortoises, waved albatross, penguins, land iguanas, flamingos starting to nest, turtle and tortoise eggs hatching, the new vibrant colors of the marine iguanas and the famous blue-footed boobies doing their mating dance.
Mid-December through mid-January is considered the peak tourist time during the wet season.
Dry Season – June through November
The dry season brings temperatures of upper-60s to low-80s and some wind. Rainfall averages under an inch during most of these months. Days are more likely to be overcast. The Humboldt Current flows along South American coast bringing along colder waters at an average of 72F. Those wishing to enjoy the ocean for their personal pleasure or to see more marine life will likely want to wear a wet suit which is often provided by cruise ships. Sailing may be a little rougher.
The Humboldt Current also brings up nutrient-rich water from the ocean’s floor to surface which draws an abundant variety of tropical fish which, in turn, draws more marine life and birds. Some additional wildlife highlights of the dry season are humpback whales, whale sharks, and dolphins as well as penguins, lizards, sea lions, and their pups and the giant tortoises.
Mid-June through early September is considered the peak tourism point during the dry season.
When it comes down to it, there are always some species of fish, mammals, and reptiles living between the various islands of this archipelago which are mating, being born, and are active. At any point in the year in which you are fortunate to be experiencing the Galapagos Islands, you are sure to have an amazing and memorable experience. What best fits your specific interests is your best time to visit the Galápagos Islands.
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If you would like to learn more or chat about cruising the Galapagos Islands, we have additional resources for you:
Sample Galápagos Islands Cruise/Tour itinerary that includes Quito, Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Cuzco
When you are ready to book your personal incredible experience to the "Enchanted Island," do it with a Galápagos Islands specialist. I look forward to my agency being the one that introduces this incredible area to you.
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