When to go to the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos holidays 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.
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.
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- 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.
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- 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.
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- 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.
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- 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.
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- 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.
It’s almost impossible to leave the Galapagos Islands 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.
Daily flights operate from Quito and Guayaquil on the Ecuadorean mainland to both Baltra and San Cristobal islands. Your flights are arranged in accordance with your cruise schedule.
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.