When is the best time to visit the archipelago? Though Galapagos has been named the ideal summer destination, you should read this Galapagos month-by-month guide before you decide the date of your trip.
Deciding when to visit – Galapagos Month-by-month
- Start of the wet (hot) season.
- The eggs of land birds begin to appear throughout the islands, typically following the first rain.
- The famous Christmas iguanas on Española (Hood) Island begin to take on their green, red and black tones that give them their name.
- Green sea turtles emerge from the sea on Galapagos beaches to lay their eggs.
- The reproductive period of the land iguana begins.
- The greater flamingo on Floreana Island begins to nest.
- Bahama pintail ducks begin to breed.
- Marine iguanas on Santa Cruz Island begin to reproduce.
- Water temperatures reach their peak at around 25°C (77°F), maintaining this temperature until April.
- Peak of the Galapagos dove nesting season
The Galapagos albatross is the only animal that migrates the islands
- Dictated by tropical rains, strong sun, humidity and warm air temperatures (reaching up to 30C [86F]).
- Marine iguanas on Fernandina Island begin their nesting season.
- The Galapagos albatross arrives to Española Island after its several-month migration.
- Known for excellent snorkeling thanks to the warm waters. At sites such as Punta Vicente Roca, divers can swim with penguins and huge shoals of tropical fish.
- Deep surges may make wet landings difficult at visitor sites such as Puerto Egas, Gardner Bay and Barolome.
- The Galapagos albatross arrives to Española in enormous quantities. The mating season begins.
- Giant tortoise hatching season ends.
- Green sea turtle eggs begin to hatch on the beach. Tiny turtles can be seen crossing the beaches at night.
- Land iguana babies begin to hatch on Isabela.
- Less rainfall, but the islands maintain their lush green color.
- High visibility for divers.
Galapagos blue-footed boobies are an iconic species of the island
- Renowned for demonstrating the best of both worlds, with aspects from the wet and dry seasons intermixing (also true for April and June).
- Blue-footed boobies commence their breeding season, famous for the highly ritualized dance.
- Sea turtles continue to hatch along Galapagos beaches.
- The nesting season of the Galapagos albatross begins.
- Ban-rumped storm petrels commences their first reproductive season of the year.
- Dry season begins (garúa fog present).
- Female giant tortoises migrate to the Santa Cruz lowlands to nest.
- Southeast trade winds bring stronger currents and waves.
- Male magnificent frigatebirds on North Seymour display their red pouches for the mating season.
- Migrant birds and several species of cetaceans pass through the Galapagos Islands, including humpback whales.
- Important breeding season for many sea birds, including the blue-footed booby and flightless cormorants, known for their spectacular courtship rituals.
- American oystercatcher nesting season.
- Mating season for lava lizards (lasts until November).
- Large numbers of cetaceans inhabit the Galapagos waters, particularly along the western coast of Isabela and Fernandina.
- Four stages of blue-footed booby nesting can be seen: eggs, chicks, juveniles and young adults.
- Water temperature cool to below 21°C (68°F). Wetsuits are recommended.
There are different types of giant tortoises in the Galapagos islands
- Mating season of the Galapagos hawk on Santiago and Española islands.
- Nesting season for Nazca boobies and swallow-tailed gulls on Genovesa.
- Water temperatures at their lowest (and richest), at around 18°C (64°F).
- Marks the arrival of migrant shore birds to the island. They stay until about March.
- Female giant tortoises climb back up to the highlands of Santa Cruz.
- Ocean currents are at their strongest, making the waters choppy with strong surges along the western and southern shores.
- Sea lion pups begin to appear around the islands (particularly in the western and central islands).
- Height of the cold season.
- The Galapagos penguin is particularly active, often accompanying divers around Bartolome.
- Peak of the cold (garúa) season.
- Peak sea lion mating season. Fights often break out among males.
- The majority of sea birds are actively nesting.
- Lava heron nesting period begins, ending in March.
- Galapagos fur seals begin mating.
- Blue-footed booby chicks wobble around Española and Punta Vicente Roca on Isabela.
- Egg-laying season continues for giant tortoises.
- Days can be cloudy. Many shores are covered with the garua fog, particularly in the morning.
- Marked by stunning sunrises, with clear summits and a low-lying fog.
There are two types of sea lions in the Galapagos: sea lions and fur sea lions
- Sea lions continue to reproduce and are particularly active in the eastern islands.
- The brown noddy breading season begins.
- The second productive season of the band-rumped storm petrels begins.
- Southeast trade winds diminish, waters are calm and slowly begin to warm.
- Known for excellent weather, as it is a transition season.
- Sea lion pups entertain divers in the water (particularly around Champion Island), curious to investigate these goggled creatures.
- Giant tortoise eggs begin to hatch, babies can be seen emerging until April.
- The mating season of green sea turtles begins.
- The start of the rainy season, Galapagos becomes “green.”
- Young Galapagos albatrosses begin to fledge.
- Weather is dictated by sunshine as the hot season begins.
How to know what works best for you? Read these tips for a great Galapagos trip