Probably the most frequently asked questions that clients write to us are: WHICH MONTHS OFFER THE BEST GALAPAGOS WEATHER? and WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT GALAPAGOS?
The short answer is that there is no “best” or “worst” time, in fact, the Galapagos Islands are a great year-round travel destination, and Galapagos weather is pleasant throughout the year.
But of course, there are subtle differences each month to be aware of when planning your Galapagos vacation. Dry season vs Wet season, Water temperature for snorkeling, Peak and Off-season tourist months, Wildlife seasons for nesting, mating, hatching & parenting. Each of these factors can make a difference to the enjoyment of your time at the Galapagos Islands.
So read on for everything you need to know about Galapagos weather, and to find your answer to the question: When is the best time FOR ME to go to Galapagos?
Don’t worry, whichever season you go to Galapagos you will get to see all of the wonderful wildlife and stunning volcanic panoramas. What does change though is the Galapagos weather? There are 2 distinct climate seasons:
The WARM & WET season runs roughly from January to May but may start in December or extend into June.
Expect plenty of sun, warm temperatures on land and at sea, and occasional heavy showers. Sun protection is a must, and packing rain gear is not a bad idea for island excursions.
During this time the rains are causing a transformation of the highlands, which become lush with vegetation, perfect for land species such as the Giant Tortoise, Land Iguanas, Darwin Finches & other land birds, who find food plentiful.
Marine Galapagos species are also easily spotted in this season, although the warm seas are not their ideal conditions for feeding.
The COOL & DRY season runs from June/July to November/December.
This season brings cloudier skies, cooler temperatures on land and at sea, and a dry climate. Sun protection is still important – even on cloudy days, it is easy to burn. You might consider using a wetsuit for snorkeling as the sea temperatures drop.
During this time the dry weather leaves the highlands bare, while the cold Humboldt current brings rich nutrients to the sea, perfect for marine species like Sealions, Sea Turtles, and species of Seabird, who find food plentiful.
Remember, both seasons can be considered great times to visit the Galapagos Islands, there is no best or worst season, it all depends on your individual preference.
Here are some graphical statistics of the differences in average land & sea temperatures and rainfall across the year.
Changes in the Galapagos climate bring changes in wildlife behavior.
Every month at the Galapagos Islands offers amazing wildlife spotting for tourists, and almost all land and marine species can in fact be found year-round. However, each different month will have something special & unique going on for visitors to enjoy.
Watching close-up wildlife nesting, mating, hatching or parenting will often be a highlight of your trip.
To help you better understand these differences, we have made a separate blog for each month at Galapagos, to serve as a quick reference for what to expect in terms of Galapagos weather and wildlife. To read more just click on the links below:
This is the final consideration to answer our question, when is the best time to go to Galapagos?
Galapagos peak tourist season follows the school/college vacations, so July & August, Easter week, and Christmas / New Years are all popular times to travel, with high demand. Advance booking is always recommended at these times, the earlier the better.
Local Ecuadorian public holidays such as Carnaval (February or March) and All Saints & Souls (November) are also popular dates when Galapagos flights often sell out.
Most other months of the year are considered to be Regular season. September and October are often the months with the least demand.
If you need any help planning your Galapagos Vacation, then just drop us a line. We will be happy to help you choose the perfect time of year for your trip!
Happy Gringo has over 15 years of experience as the trusted choice in Galapagos travel and has received special recognition from TripAdvisor for 6 consecutive years. We specialize in Galapagos Cruises, Diving Tours, and Custom-Made Galapagos Land Trips.