Best Time To Visit

When to go to the Galapagos Islands

A Galapagos Islands holiday can be enjoyed all year round. The temperatures are warmer between January and May, when there is also a greater chance of rain. In the latter half of the year, the weather is cooler. From the end of August for a month or so, the seas can be choppier; also at this time of year a sea mist can restrict visibility. If you have any more questions, you can visit our FAQ with here.

The islands have two seasons:

  • Dec – May is the warm season which has slightly more rainfall and the sea is at its warmest and is usually calmer. The air temperatures are in the upper 70°s and lower 80°s F/ 25°-28°C
  • June – Nov is the cooler season which is also drier and still has plenty of sunshine during the day. However the skies may be a little cloudier. The temperatures are in the low 70’s (F) / 21°-23°C. The water temperature is at its coolest, but still very pleasant.




  • On Espanola the adult male Marine iguanas become brightly coloured. This is the only lizard in the world that lives in the ocean
  • The Pacific green sea turtles arrive on the Galapagos Islands to lay their eggs
  • Colourful Land iguanas  begin their reproductive cycles on Isabela.
  • On Santa Cruz Marine iguanas begin nesting
  • On Floreana flamingos begin nesting
  • The Black tailed Pintails breeding season starts
  • Penguins may be seen at Bartolome.




March   April
  • Marine iguana’s nest on islands of Fernandina and North Seymour
  • 21 March is the start of Summer Equinox  which marks the arrival of Waved albatross the largest Galapagos bird on Espanola.
  • Arrival en masse of the Waved albatross on Espanola and the beginning of their courtship rituals
  • Hatching season ends for Giant tortoises and begins for the Green sea turtles and the Land iguanas begin to hatch on Isabela.




May   June
  • North Seymour’s Blue footed boobies begin their fascinating courtship rituals
  • Sea turtles are still hatching at Gardner Bay, Punta Cormorant and Puerto Egas
  • Storm petrels begin their nesting period.
  • Giant tortoises on Santa Cruz migrate from the highlands to the lowlands in search of suitable nesting places
  • Beginning of nesting season for Giant tortoises
  • Humpback whales migrate through the Galapagos and its a good time to see to see Whale sharks from Darwin and Wolf.




July   August
  • Sea bird communities are very active and the only flightless cormorants in the world court and nest on Fernandina.
  • Oyster catchers start nesting at Puerto Egas.
  • Lava lizards begin mating rituals that last until November
  • Galapagos hawks court on Espanola and Santiago
  • Mask boobies and swallow tailed gulls nest on Genovesa
  • Giant tortoises return to the highlands of Santa Cruz.




September   October
  • Penguins can be seen on the islands of Bartolome, Isabela and Fernandina
  • Sea Lions are very active everwhere.
  • Lava herons nest until March and Blue tailed boobies raise their chicks on Espanola
  • The Galapagos fur seals begin their mating period.




November   December
  • Sea Lion Pups are born – remember not to touch the babies as the mothers recognise their young by scent, and sunscreen, deodorant and human odours can camouflage this leaving the baby motherless.
  • Hatching of the giant tortoises eggs begins and lasts until April.
  • Green sea turtles display their mating behaviour.

For Birdwatchers

BirdwatchingIt’s almost impossible to go on a Galapagos Islands holiday without becoming an avid bird watcher! The songbirds such as the Darwin finches, the mocking birds and the Galapagos fly-catcher breed in rhythm with the warm temperatures. As a result they are easiest to see during the wet season from December to May.

The lone species of hawk, the Galapagos hawk, is present all year round. There are many other easily observed species of sea bird. On North Seymour you can see magnificent Frigatebirds. Espanola is the only place in the world where the Waved albatross comes to land and breed.

Getting there

There are no direct flights the Galapagos Islands from the UK. Flying into Ecuador is the best approach. Daily flights operate from the Ecuadorian cities of Quito and Guayaquil on the Ecuadorean mainland to both Baltra and San Cristobal islands. Your flights are arranged in accordance with your Galapagos Island holiday schedule. 

Time Zone

GMT -6 hours  


The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador and no visas are required. 


There are no compulsory health requirements for visiting the Galapagos Islands. Always consult your doctor at least six weeks before travel and refer to this useful NHS website - Fit For Travel - for details of recommended vaccinations for travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos.

Things To Do

  • Swim with sea lions and turtles 
  • Walk with a giant tortoise
  • Visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre
  • Sip cocktails at sunset on your boat
  • See the blue-footed booby's mating ritual, one of the bird world’s greatest dances

In 1835, Charles Darwin arrived in the Galapagos Islands on board the HMS Beagle. He soon noticed the same thing that amazes travellers today, namely that many of the animals that roam the shores of the Galapagos, swim in its seas and fly among the islands, were unique. What struck him was not just that the birds, plants and reptiles were different from those on the mainland, but also that they were distinct from ones on neighbouring islands. The observations Darwin made during his five weeks in the archipelago played a vital part in his theory of evolution.

The islands were never connected to the mainland, so the wildlife that evolved here has not been hunted by man and have not developed an instinctive fear of humans.

Many of those on a holiday to the Galapagos Islands take an island tour by cruise ship, travelling between the islands at night and heading ashore every day for wildlife encounters with expert naturalist guides either on land or in the water. Alternatively, or in addition to a cruise, Galapagos holidays can be based on land in one of the hotels, simple lodges or tented camps on some of the larger islands such as Santa Cruz or Isabela. You can explore the islands in more detail on a land-based trip either on foot or on horse-back, as well as being able to enjoy a diversity of other activities such as mountain-biking, diving, kayaking and surfing not usually offered on Galapagos cruises.

Sarah Frankish

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.

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