Galapagos travel month-by-month

january

There’s no simple answer to the question of when to travel to the Galapagos Islands. Of course, whatever time of year you choose to come you’re bound to encounter stunning wildlife: stepping over sea lions and iguanas each time you disembark from a boat, whizzing past meandering giant tortoises on the drive up to Galapagos Safari Camp, and discovering a complete universe of color under the surface of the sea with each snorkeling excursion.

But, what month is best for you depends on your interests and what you hope to get out of the trip. Those whose dream holiday involves basking under cloudless skies on sun-drenched paradise beaches, for example, should avoid coming in overcast September. But, during the same period the cold currents bring in schools of exotic fish, making the seas a treasure trove for divers. Read on to discover, month-by-month, what you can expect from your Galapagos Islands tour.

WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN JANUARY

The new year brings with it a flood of life and activity to the islands – an exciting moment for Galapagos travel. Traditionally, this is when the rainy season begins (although global warming has shaken things up and nothing is set in stone) which means days are made up of a cycle of humid tropical storms followed by periods of clear blue skies. A flurry of mating activity makes for some extraordinary wildlife encounters during your Galapagos Islands tours and snorkeling is at its most thrilling; the warm, clear waters tempting sea lion pups, rays and turtles close to the shore.  Read more…


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN FEBRUARY

Experience the islands in psychedelic technicolor throughout February as pink flamingos mate, red-footed boobies guard their nests and tropical flowers bloom. Catch the end of the frigate birds’ mating season on North Seymour as males puff out their grapefruit-sized, scarlet pouches in their elaborate mating ceremonies. Sunnier skies and calmer, warm seas beckon you to the water where you can spend hours snorkeling, kayaking or learning to surf on Tortuga Bay. Read more… 


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN MARCH

In the tail end of the rainy season, March is one of the warmest months for Galapagos travel, with the humid air reaching temperatures of 88°F (31°C). In this climate, the endemic succulent Sesuvium, known as Galapagos carpet weed, shifts its shades like a chameleon, fading from green to purple, red and orange. This is the month that signals transition in Galapagos, as sea turtles wait for their eggs to hatch and birds, like the waved albatross, return to the Islands for summer. Read more…


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN APRIL

With rains easing off, the Galapagos waters are assuaged, serene enough for first-time snorkelers or kayakers to take the plunge. This is the month of new beginnings, when land iguana and sea turtle eggs are hatching, and Galapagos penguins begin their summer stint in the islets near Puerto Villamil. A touching stop on your Galapagos island tour is the Galapagos tortoise breeding center on Isabela Island, where new hatchlings make their first steps into Los Humedales – the wetlands. Read more…


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN MAY

With the return of the southeast trade winds and cold waters from Antarctica, the beating afternoon sun is refreshed with a welcome, fragrant breeze. This is the month (the favorite of many our guests) when the camp is at its lushest, the Santa Cruz highlands green and exuberant in the spring-like climate. Even the town of Puerto Ayora becomes a hub of animal activity, a migration route of iguanas oblivious to the humans around them. With warm seas cooling a little with the new currents, the waves pick up and surfing is exhilarating. With so many highlights to choose from this month of Galapagos travel, we’ll leave you with: penguins at Pinnacle Rock, baby flamingos on Isabela Island and the white-tipped sharks of Punta Carrion, washed towards the Islands by the Humboldt current. Read more…


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN JUNE

This is a month of transition, when the dry and wet seasons meet, producing a fluctuating, if unpredictable climate. Amid the mist (known as the garua) that begins to close in on the highlands, giant tortoises begin on their annual journey of 3.7 miles which takes them up to three weeks to reach their destination: a migration to the shores of the arid zone. At this time of year, it’s best to head to Tortuga Bay in the morning when there’s less chance of a shower, but stay down at shoreline for a spectacular sunset.  Read more…


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN JULY

You might need a wetsuit to stave off the chillier seas while snorkeling in July, but this is the month when the sea lion mating season begins, leading to engrossing scenes of males tussling for territory and females, especially at Mosquera in between Seymour and Baltra Islands. This is the second month of the garua season when blue-footed boobies are nesting and mating, their comical stomping dance one of the highlights of the Islands. For your Galapagos Islands tour, bear in mind that waves are beginning to get larger at this time of year – boat trips can be less relaxing than in other months. Read more…


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN AUGUST

The garua season peaks in August, as waters rich in nutrients from the Humboldt Current entice schools of small fish, attracting dolphins, rays and pregnant whale sharks like a magnet. From above, sea birds get a share of the action, gobbling up the abundant food. Penguins thrive this season in the cooler waters, though they have to keep their wits about them as hammerhead sharks and orcas patrol the coastline. Again, waters can be choppy, so a land-based Galapagos travel itinerary and an experience like that offered by Galapagos Safari Camp is suitable for the queasy or nervous. Read more…


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN SEPTEMBER

Sea sickness sufferers look away now. This is when the seas are at their choppiest and even those with the strongest stomachs turn pale on long boat trips. But if you’re a diver, there’s a great reward for your efforts: fantastic, supersized fish to spot, pursued by dolphins, sea turtles and orcas in the cool waters. Even if the thought of rough seas makes you shudder, there’s plenty to do around Galapagos Safari Camp: you could witness the giant tortoises make their painstaking return from their migration grounds and take advantage of the cool weather to try out more energetic sports like hiking and mountain-biking. Read more…


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN OCTOBER

With the end of the dry garua season in sight, the weather is less cool and the seas less rough, so it’s a great time to explore the Islands after the Galapagos travel crowds of the summer have departed, comfortable in the pleasant climate. Right by Galapagos Safari Camp you can see giant tortoises mating in the Tortoise Reserve – sometimes they gatecrash the camp itself, romping under the tents. Flamingos are playing house as they take turns to nest their eggs. Penguins also enjoy the still-cool seas to whizz around fishing – a spectacular sight while snorkeling. Read more…


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN NOVEMBER

The final month of the garua season, November sees the water begin a long-awaited warming. Sea lion pups born in August begin to explore the waters on their own, ever curious and hopeful for a playmate. This month you might also catch the green sea turtle mating season, and the courtship of penguins around Pinnacle Rock off Bartolome Island, a ritual that leads to relationship that will last their lifetime. This is also the last chance to spot hammerhead sharks before they head off to migrate for the season. Read more…


WHAT’S GALAPAGOS LIKE IN DECEMBER?

Blue skies, sun-kissed beaches and low rainfall make December the ideal month for a laidback beach holiday and all Galapagos Islands tours. Sometimes chilly in the evenings (all the better to make the most of Galapagos Safari Camp’s log-burning fireplace), you can spend your days watching waved albatrosses nest and marine and land iguanas mate, as well as taking advantage of the calm seas to explore all the Islands. The New Year brings festivities to our nearest – and the archipelago’s largest – settlement, Puerto Ayora, including the spectacle of burning año viejos – models made of papier Mache, to symbolize the beginning of a new year with a fresh slate.

Plan your Galapagos Vacation
See our Safari Holidays for our suggested Galapagos itineraries and recommended activities.


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