The Galapagos has two seasons that are easily distinguished, the hot season and the dry season. Both of these display differences in how the landscape is affected. The hot season looks lush and green while the dry season in the Galapagos presents an overwhelming palate of cindery brown that’s caused by the lack of rain. Something else to keep in mind is that the hot season brings in warmer currents, while the dry season is known for its colder but more-than-tolerable temperatures. The beauty of the Galapagos is that no matter the season, the amazing wildlife (see Galapagos Big15)
and beautiful scenery is on display all year long. June marks the beginning of the dry season that lasts all the way up to the month of December. Up ahead are a few facts about the dry season that’s beginning during this time of year, so read on and get informed on what to expect during your Galapagos adventure aboard the amazing Yacht La Pinta
Dry season landscape. Photo credit: Doug Greenberg
How does the dry season in the Galapagos work?
Five currents converge in the strategically-located Galapagos archipelago. This means cold and warm currents move very close to each other, clashing at times and allowing for the unique Galapagos ecosystem to exist. These currents, both marine- and air-based, bring forth different nutrients and temperatures that dramatically change the landscape. During the dry season, it’s up to the famous Humboldt Current (coming the south) to shape the Galapagos’ façade. This cold current brings the equally cool southeast trade winds with it. Rainfall decreases dramatically and is replaced by a mist that is usually not enough to allow for vegetation to become the vivid green that is typically experienced during the hot season. The southeast trade winds usually start blowing around the month of May, but stabilize in June. September is the peak month of the dry season.
Dry season in the Galapagos
What is the Humboldt Current?
It’s thanks to the Humboldt Current System
that one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems is present in Galapagos. Fun fact: it also sometimes goes by the name “Peru Current.” Beginning in the cold Antarctic waters, the Humboldt Current flows up from the coasts of Chile to Peru and ends in here the Enchanted Islands where it intersects with the warmer waters belonging to the Equatorial Front. On its way up north, the current causes an upwelling that brings nutrient-filled waters from the deep closer to the surface and increases the region’s productivity. The Humboldt Current has been known to be occasionally disrupted by the El Niño phenomenon which causes a decrease in the water’s productivity due to its rise in temperatures.
What are the advantages of travelling during this season?
If snorkelling is what you are after, you will be happy to know that the dry season’s nutritious waters bring with them a lot of underwater action. From Yacht La Pinta’s gorgeous decks to your dingy on the water, you will definitely be able to see sea turtles, penguins, white-tip reef sharks and the occasional humpback whale that comes to the archipelago and the shores of Ecuador this time of year to give birth. Because the ocean is filled with food, the wildlife on land (being of the opportunistic kind) knows it is the right time to breed and reproduce. As a result, you will be able to see some of the amazing courtship rituals of the birds in Galapagos, such as the famous blue-footed booby dance. Additionally, you will definitely spot many fluffy chicks hidden under their mother’s or father’s warm bellies.
Blue-footed boobies during their courtship dance