Galapagos News | < 1 MIN READ

Galapagos Month-by-Month, are you wondering when to visit the islands?

User Avatar Written by: Yacht La Pinta Galapagos
Galapagos giant tortoises

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

January

  • 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.

February

  • 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

March

Albatross

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.

April

  • 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.

May 

Blue-footed boobies

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.

June

  • 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.

July

  • 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.

August 

Galapagos giant tortoises

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).

September

  • 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.

October

  • 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.

November 

Sea lions

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.

December

  • 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