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

By November 18, 2016News
Giant tortoises Galapagos Month-by-Month

When is the best time to visit the archipelago? 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 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

 

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