Best time to visit the Galapagos

When is the Best Time to Visit the Galapagos Islands? Let’s Explore by Season…

When to Visit the Galapagos Islands

When is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands you ask? Well, this bucket list destination can offer different highlights throughout the year.  Luckily, this is a year-round destination with no “bad” time to visit. What it comes down to is what wildlife you want to witness, the climate you prefer, and also your budget. We’ve broken down each season in the Galapagos Islands to help you identify when is the best time to make this miraculous destination next on your travel list!

Galapagos Islands Spring Season: March, April, May

Springtime brings new birth! The green sea turtles and land iguanas’ eggs typically hatch around March and April, and playful dolphins can be spotted in the water as your boat is cruising along. May is the best time to see the adorable and famous blue-footed booby as they enter their mating season! They have a playful little mating dance where they stand and bounce from one leg to another and whistle; it’s absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime event to witness. As spring marches on in the Galapagos Islands, so does the rain! The Galapagos Islands climate is in the thick of the wet season which means quite a bit of rain. The weather is warmer this time of year, so there is a bit of off-set.  The weather during March, April and May tends to be more humid and a bit muggy with temps averaging in the upper 80s and lows in the 70s. As May rolls around, the rainy season comes to an end and the gorgeous flowers and fauna begin to bloom and come to life. Make sure pack moisture-wicking clothes to stay dry and get the most of this season! Due to the wet and humid weather, the spring months tend to have fewer tourists. However, if a little rain and humidity doesn’t scare you, this is the best time to visit the Galapagos when searching for affordable travel deals as well as fewer crowds, allowing for a very pure and peaceful nature experience.

Galapagos Islands Summer Season: June, July, August

The beginning of summer is a wonderful time to see species like the Galapagos penguins, albatrosses, the Galapagos giant tortoises, and the return to the island of the red-footed boobies! Late summer is another opportunity to see the blue-footed boobies in their ritual mating dance. Sea lions begin to reappear on the islands as they begin their mating season. One of the highlights of the summer season is the ability to see whales! The majestic humpback whales migrate through the Galapagos islands from the south and it’s a unique opportunity to partake in whale watching. June brings the transition to the dry season in the Galapagos Islands. It tends to be a bit cloudier and windier and the water temperatures begin to cool into the high-60s, and land temperature ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s. August is the coldest month in the Galapagos Islands both on land and sea as the water drops to degrees in the 60s. It’s still a beautiful time to visit and explore all the beautiful islands that make up the archipelago. Summer is the time that most people and families take vacation, so this is a very popular time to visit. As it is a highly sought-after time to experience the islands, it has become the second peak tourist season for the Galapagos Islands. Prices tend to be a higher and tours get booked quickly, so make sure you plan in advance if this is the season you’d like to visit.  

Panoramic view of " Isla Bartolome " at Galapagos Islands archip
Panoramic view of ” Isla Bartolome ” at Galapagos Islands archipelago – Travel and wanderlust concept exploring world nature wonders around Ecuador – Vivid filter with warm bright color tones

Galapagos Islands Autumn Season: September, October, November

Autumn brings robust marine life to the Galapagos Islands. Penguins are in abundance during September. Sea lions have returned to the islands for breeding and nesting throughout the late summer and early fall months and start having their pups around October. Autumn is also the best time to see whale sharks as they migrate through the islands. The climate during the autumn months is cool, with water temperature being in the mid-60s and land temperatures hovering around the mid-70s. As the islands are in the thick of the dry season there is little to no rain which makes for a very dry and less humid experience of the islands. During autumn the islands see fewer visitors, so prices tend to be cheaper and the cruise availability to visit the islands is better. You should be able to find affordable day trips and cruise options during this time.

Galapagos Islands Winter Season: December, January, February

The last month of the year and the very first few months of the year are aflutter with activity as many animals begin their mating and nesting season. Some of the most iconic birds to the islands such as flamingos, the flightless cormorants, and the Galapagos penguins are very visible during the winter months. In December the iconic Galapagos giant tortoises hatch their eggs and the beautiful green sea turtles enter mating season. If you’re dying to see marine iguanas and green sea turtles, January and February are the perfect time to witness these beauties as they nest and prepare for babies. January and February are also wonderful time to take advantage of clearer water and better underwater visibility for water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving. As the Galapagos Islands enter their wet season (which takes place between December to June), the weather during this ‘winter’ period is typically rather warm, making it an ideal time to visit the Galapagos Islands. December will bring temperatures in the high-70s and low in the mid-60s. On average, the land temperature peaks in the mid-80s in December and drops down to the high-70s during January and February. The water temperature is usually the warmest it will be all year, averaging in the mid-70s, making it the warmest and best time to partake of all your favorite water sports like scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming! Due to the warm water and land temperature and the abundance of wildlife, December and January are the peak of tourist season, which also means it’s the priciest to book a tour. However, as you move farther away from the holidays (Christmas and New Year) prices will be more affordable, and you’ll find more availability to visit the Galapagos Islands! So when is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands? Truly, there is no bad season to visit! Whether you’re interested in seeing humpback whales in their natural migration pattern, the infamous blue-footed booby mating dance, or scuba dive and swim next to a sea turtle, the “best time” to visit the Galapagos Islands is really based on your personal preference! The Galapagos Islands are an exquisite and breathtakingly beautiful area of the world to experience, so hopefully this helps you narrow down which season you’d like to visit and see its beauty for yourself. Check out this Galapagos Islands Travel blogpost for a general but unique overview of visiting the islands. For some background on the islands check out the official site of the Galapagos Islands National Park.