When is the Best Time to Visit the Galapagos Islands?
We appreciate that dates for your Galapagos holiday may be fixed, but if you're totally at leisure to choose, when is the absolute best time of year to visit the Galapagos Islands?
Weather and Wildlife
The two major factors in choosing when to visit the Galapagos Islands are likely to be the weather and which wildlife is most active, but if you're particularly keen on diving in the Galapagos then you may also want to make sure the sea conditions are suitable.
The start of the year is the rainy season in the Galapagos, and the weather is largely hot and humid, with over 100mm (4") of rain not being unusual, and temperatures reaching up above 30°C. However, the water temperature is also at its peak, making this the perfect season for diving in the Galapagos.
It's also an important time for wildlife, as it marks the courtship and breeding season for many of the Galapagos Islands' most iconic species, including green sea turtles, and both marine and land iguanas. Many birds also return to the Galapagos at this time, such as Galapagos penguins and the Española waved albatross.
In many ways these three months (especially May) are the perfect time to visit the Galapagos, with fine, clear weather throughout. Temperatures are still high but the humidity is reduced, the seas are still warm and in general it's a very pleasant time to visit.
This is also a fabulous time for wildlife as you can see baby giant tortoises, turtles and iguanas beginning to hatch, and blue-footed boobies performing their famous courtship dance. As June comes around, you can also see humpback whales in the waters around Isabela.
Although it sometimes starts a little earlier, July usually marks the real beginning of the garua season in the Galapagos Islands, when a misty haze called garua is prevalent throughout the islands, particularly in the mornings. This reduces the temperatures but the climate is still dry, so if you don't like the heat, this can be a good time to visit the Islands.
Wildlife is also very active at this time of year, with July being a particularly good month for spotting whales and dolphins, while from August onwards you can see baby Sea Lions and many migratory birds arrive back in the Galapagos for the winter.
The end of the year brings the end of the garua season and fine, clear weather to the Galapagos Islands. It's a particularly good time for snorkelling, with warm sea temperatures and good visibility. In fact, if swimming and relaxation are important for your Galapagos holiday then these two months are definitely worth considering.
Whilst they aren't quite as active in terms of wildlife as, say April or May, they offer the best chance for swimming with young Sea Lions and seeing baby Giant Tortoises hatch.