The Galapagos Islands are a magical place.
Experiencing the amazing scenery and the unique wildlife is like stepping into a whole different world.
But when is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands?
Read here to find out when you should travel to the Galapagos Islands.
The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador, but as the islands are located around 1,000 km from the coast of Ecuador, you will find that the climate is somewhat different here to on the mainland.
Galapagos is on the equator, and temperatures are pretty stable throughout the year.
However, the islands are affected by the Humboldt Current – a cold stream of nutrient-rich water flowing from northern Antarctica to the west coast of South America between June and December.
Among other things, the current affects the water temperatures and water visibility by the islands, and is vital to the wildlife. Every seven years or so, the current is interrupted by the El Niño phenomenon, which can also have an effect on wildlife.
The Islands have two defined seasons: a rainy season and a dry season.
The rainy season is between January and June. The season is also called the “warm and wet” season because water and air temperatures are higher, and it rains more.
The rainy season offers average temperatures of between 29 and 31 degrees when it is warmest, and sea temperatures of between 22 and 25 degrees (on Isabela) on average when the temperatures are at their lowest.
What you can expect during the rainy season on Galapagos:
The dry season is between July and December. The season is called the “cold and dry” season because the water and air temperatures are cooler than during the rainy season, and there is less rain. However, it never gets cold in the Galapagos Islands.
The period offers average air temperatures of between 26 and 28 degrees when it is warmest, and sea temperatures of between 21 and 23 degrees (on Isabela) on average when at their lowest. Snorkelling is still possible, but you may need a wet suit.
The dry season is also known as “Garúa” because it is characterised by misty weather resulting from the cold water from the Humboldt and Cromwell Currents.
What you can expect during the dry season on Galapagos:
Most people visit the Galapagos Islands due to the unique wildlife found there.
You can experience animals all year round, so no matter when you choose to travel, you can count on being blown away by the magical experiences.
Below, you can see our month-by-month calendar of what you can experience. Please bear in mind, however, that most animals can be seen all year round. This applies to the following animals:
January marks the start of the rainy season, or the warm and wet season.
Temperatures are rising, and the month is ideal for snorkelling. The water is calmer and warmer than in previous months, which are affected to a greater extent by the Humboldt Current.
Wildlife highlights in January:
As the rainy season progresses, temperatures in February begin to rise, both in the sea and in the air. The warmer weather and water, which is also calmer, make February a great month to snorkel.
Wildlife highlights in February:
In March, the rainy season peaks, and it is hot with the chance of heavy showers. The month is a great snorkelling month as the sea is calm and the water is warm.
Wildlife highlights in March:
From April onwards, the rain begins to subside, marking the end of the rainy season.
Wildlife highlights in April:
It is still rainy season in May, but there is relatively little rain. Air temperatures have fallen slightly compared to previous months.
Wildlife highlights in May:
June marks the last month of the warm and wet season, and it rains quite a bit. In some places, the landscapes begin to change colour, and water and air temperatures begin to drop slightly as we approach the dry season.
Wildlife highlights in June:
July is the start of the dry season, or the “cold and dry” season. There is very little rain. On the other hand, July is one of the months most affected by wind and the cold Humbolt Current coming from Antarctica. However, it is still possible to snorkel during the dry season, but it may be a good idea to wear a wetsuit.
Wildlife highlights in July:
The weather in August is a continuation of July. The strength of the ocean currents peaks, causing the water temperature to drop. In August, you can thus experience the “lowest” temperatures of the year – air and water. If you wear a wetsuit, you can still enjoy some great snorkelling.
Wildlife highlights in August:
It rains very little in September, and temperatures are some of the coolest of the year. But bear in mind that we are close to the equator, so the temperatures are still warm.
Wildlife highlights in September:
October is much like September. The temperatures are some of the coolest of the year, albeit still warm, with relatively little rain.
Wildlife highlights in October:
As the dry, cool season draws to a close, the sea begins to calm and water temperatures begin to rise again, which also increases visibility, and snorkelling becomes even better.
Wildlife highlights in November:
December is the last month of the dry season, or the “cold and dry” season. Air temperatures are rising and there is more rain, though still relatively little.
Wildlife highlights in December:
Countless experiences await you on the Galapagos Islands, all year round.
But when should you travel there? That depends on whether there is something specific you would like to see. If not, you should simply choose the month that suits you best. There’s no such thing as a bad time to visit the Galapagos Islands.
Llamatours.co.uk – the Latin American Experience