Galapagos Tips & Information | < 1 MIN READ

What are the Galapagos like during the first half of each year?

User Avatar Written by: Francisco Dousdebes
Galapagos islands giant tortoise

Just as we forecasted a couple of weeks ago, the warm waters of the hot season have now engulfed the entirety of the archipelago. Not only have sea temperatures have gone up, but the islands’ tropical days are here to stay for another month or so.

We must all remember that this is the only time throughout the whole year when the islands are covered by a magical green sheen and when humidity usually hovers above 75%. An average of 7 hours of sunlight (out of the possible 12) is the norm during this period, turning the archipelago into a place that is not only warm but also the perfect place for photography enthusiasts looking to use visual contrasts in their shots.

Galapagos landscape

Galapagos has only two seasons throughout the year: hot season and dry season

What are the Galapagos like during the first half of each year? As Green as Can Be, that’s how!

With high evaporation in the ocean, some cloud buildup has resulted in sporadic and isolated showers that often last for no more than an hour. These small bursts of water allow for the soil in Galapagos to collect just enough moisture to have plants gradually grow and produce their exuberant foliage. Most explorers expect to see the islands this green throughout the whole year, but in reality, this only happens from February to May.  Hardly any trade winds can be felt, and a gentle doldrum-like breeze will dominate the geographical features of Galapagos. This is the time of the year when a fair number of explorers refer to the islands “simply amazing.” For many snorkelers, it is often a fascinating experience to swim in water temperatures that hover around 80 °F (26 °C) and yet, despite these warmer seas, experience fauna that is often only found in considerably cooler waters. Such fauna includes sea lions, penguins, fur seals, beakfishes, to name a few. All of it, right here in the marine realm of the Galapagos!

Galapagos penguin

Some animals, like the penguins, mate during Galapagos dry season

Of course, during this period in Galapagos, some outings that involve walking and/or hiking often become totally unbearable near noon or even at mid-morning. This is why our Expedition Leaders plan early outings (sometimes even before breakfast time) in order to avoid the heat which, come noon, becomes much too oppressive and uncomfortable to walk around in. All guests commend our Expedition Leaders for making such adjustments to the program, as this helps incredibly in avoiding explorations under the hottest temperatures of the day. Nevertheless, it is always quite pleasant to finish off our walks with a nice refreshing swim or even some sea kayaking. That’s the advantage of having an Expedition Leader that can foresee these conditions and plan accordingly!

In terms of wildlife behavior, this is the only time of the year when the abundance of foliage manages to attract a higher-than-average number of insects. Consequently, land reptiles have more to eat. It’s also when these vertebrates seize the moment to look for potential mates, too.  As a result of these spectacular conditions – whether it be on land or underwater, or just because of the dramatic green landscapes – this is a unique time of the year to explore.

Beware! Dehydration is often the result of not drinking enough liquids. That’s why, once you are ready to explore the visitor sites assigned for a given day, please be sure to drink plenty of water!

Lastly, if you’ve explored the Galapagos Islands before and had your previous trip take place during the dry season (June-November), allow us to strongly recommend visiting during this alternate season. It offers an absolutely different experience from anything you’ve seen before in Galapagos. Without a doubt, experiencing the hot season in Galapagos will make it seem like two totally different trips altogether, and such holistic beauty can only be felt when exploring the islands at opposite times of the year. Explorers who are visiting the islands right now are sure to be having their tropical expectations met, no doubt encountering wildlife that seems odd for such balmy conditions. Consider this blog our invitation to let you feel these experiences firsthand aboard Yacht La Pinta! So come and indulge yourself with the mystery and wonder of the islands.

Text & Photography by Francisco “Pancho” Dousdebés – Galapagos Expert

Sullivan Bay, San Salvador (James) Island – GALAPAGOS, April 5th, 2018 :: Lat: ‎0°28′59″ S / Long: 90°56′54″ W