The Galapagos coastline
Jill Richmond

The Best Times to Travel to the Galapagos

The Best Times to Travel to the Galapagos

Mar 19, 2019|Traveler ResourcesWhere we travel| by Jordyn Kalman

The Galapagos Islands are basically a year-round destination with no true “off season”. With its geographical location on the equator keeping the temperature variation minimum and diverse wildlife present year-round, the Galapagos are a perfect destination no matter when travelers choose to go. Regarding price, there is no low or high season in Galapagos with the island rarely getting extremely busy. However, there are different “best” times to visit depending on what you want to experience, with different things to see and do depending on when visitors arrive. Here is what you can expect to see at different times of the year in the Galapagos.

Because the climate is completely dictated by the ocean currents and trade winds, this creates two distinct seasons: the wet season, which goes from January to June, and the Garua, or dry season, which goes from July to December. The wet season is best suited for travelers wanting to do a cruise-based program or do more water activities and the dry season is perfect for travelers who would prefer a land-based program.

The Wet Season

During the wet season, the water is warmer, calmer and has a high visibility of up to 98 feet, making it a perfect time to snorkel, even though marine life isn’t as active at this time of year. Between January through March, in the early wet season, visitors can see Marine Iguanas in their vibrant red and green skin coloration, which only occurs during their mating season. They are most colorful on Espanola Island. Also near the water, sea turtle nesting is in its peak, and travelers can nests along the beaches. For avid birders, the Frigatebird begins nesting and showing off its flashy, bright red throat sac and it is the most active time for Galapagos doves and pintail ducks.

Marine Iguana

By: Jill Richmond

Later into the wet season between April and June, the Blue-footed Booby courtship dances begin as a part of their mating ritual. In this entertaining spectacle, male boobies pick up their feet and high-step back and forth to show off the blue color in their feet to the females. Another rare sight visitors can experience is watching sea turtle eggs start hatching. In addition, Humpback whales begin to migrate to the Galapagos waters and the Waved Albatrosses courtship and nesting occurs, mostly on Espanola Island.

    Blue-footed Boobie

By: Alton Biggs

The Dry Season

During the dry season, the ocean and air temperatures start dropping. The Humboldt Current crosses the North of the Galapagos, which also brings nutrient-rich water that attracts more marine life and prompts algae growth, reducing water visibility. While marine life is more active in this season, the conditions for snorkeling during these months are harsher and would require you to wear a wetsuit. During the early dry season, July through September, sea lions are very active breeding and birthing their adorable pups, which can be seen lounging around all over the islands. In rare cases, male sea lions can also be seen fighting on land to defend their female partners. Manta Ray breeding also takes place during this period. 

         Sea Lion Pup

By: Dain Van Schoyck

Into the late part of the dry season, October through December, the spotlight is on the birds of the Galapagos, with Blue-Footed Booby chicks hatching and waddling around and waved albatross chicks starting to fly. Boat tours should be avoided by travelers who get sea sick in October, when the ocean is rough and choppy.

    Baby Blue-footed Booby

By: Cathy Turgeon 

Going to the Galapagos at two different times of the year can create a whole new set of possibilities and experience for visitors. No matter what time of year you choose to travel here, there are plenty of spectacular sights in store year-round.

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