When's The Best Time To Visit The Galápagos Islands?
The best time to visit the Galápagos Islands is during these two periods of the year:
- May and June
- October and November
These periods are known as “shoulder seasons” and indicate a transition from one season to another, giving you advantages of both the warm and the dry seasons.
During these months, the wildlife is especially active; the weather is pleasant; the highlands are in bloom, and there are fewer people as the periods are outside the peak tourism months meaning lower prices.
Galápagos Weather Seasons By Month
The Galápagos Islands have two seasons – warm and dry.
When Is The Warm Season On The Galápagos Islands?
The warm season (also known as the wet season) lasts from December to June.
It’s likely to rain almost every day during these months, and the skies are cloudy. However, the land and sea are both warmer. Don’t let the term ‘rainy reason’ put you off though – the daily showers tend to be more of a drizzle and don’t last long, meaning you can still sunbathe and do outdoor activities.
The rainy season’s positives are its revitalisation of the island’s plant life and vegetation throughout the highlands. The abundance of flourishing plants also leads to more plentiful food supply and heightened animal activity.
When Is The Dry Season On The Galápagos Islands?
The dry season (also known as the cool season) spans from July to November.
The dry season is favoured by those who come for good weather. You will experience blue skies and almost no rain. However, the land and sea become cooler due to the Humboldt current crossing the North of the Galápagos.
This affects the animals’ behaviour on the island and most significantly the behaviour of marine wildlife and birds. If you prefer to get out into the islands’ unique landscapes, then these months lend themselves more to hiking along the coast and through the highlands.
When Is The Cheapest Time To Visit The Galápagos Islands?
The cheapest time to visit the Galápagos Islands is during the two low seasons:
- Springtime (May to June)
- Autumn (September and November)
During these periods, tourism declines substantially and cruises and tour companies offer deals at cut prices to fill tours.
Fewer tourists also result in cheaper accommodation and restaurant prices.
When Is The Quietest Time To Visit The Galápagos Islands?
The quietest times to visit the Galápagos Islands is during the low tourist seasons. These are:
- Springtime (May to June)
- Autumn (September and November)
During these months, tourism declines which mean you will have the islands mostly to yourself. There will also be greater availability for tours (and they’ll be much cheaper).
The European and North American summer months of June through August and the Easter holidays at the beginning of April are peak months in the Galápagos for tourism. Try to avoid these if you want a quiet time as holidaymakers will flock to the islands.
Check out our budget guide to see how we saved money whilst visiting during the low season:
What Are The Best Months For Wildlife Watching On The Galápagos Islands?
Is there a best time to see wildlife in the Galápagos? Not really. There are only a few migratory species so you will see most of the famous animals all year round. However, there will be behavioural changes throughout the year which you may want to see.
Check out the website below for the most up to date information:
When is the best time to see Blue-footed boobies and their mating dance?
You can see blue-footed boobies all year round on the Galápagos Islands, but lots of people come to see their strange mating dance.
The exact start time of the courtship dance of the blue-footed booby varies from island to island, but the mating season ranges from April to June.
The birds will be around in huge numbers, and you’ll be forced off paths to walk around them as they perform their mating rituals without a care for those watching. The boobies will be hopping from left to right, with their beaks pointed to the sky in a strange and amusing dance.
One of the best islands to see the dance is North Seymour.
When is the best time to see frigate birds on the Galápagos Islands?
You can see frigate birds all year round on the Galápagos Islands.
If you want to see their mating signals, where the males puff out the big red sacs on their chest, visit between March and June. Again, times will vary on each island with North Seymour being a little later in the season in June.
The website below is the Galápagos Islands official website and details the best time to see birds:
When is the best time to see sea turtles on the Galápagos Islands?
There are four species of sea turtles which can be found in the waters around the Galápagos. You can see adults all year round.
If you want to see eggs hatching, the most commonly seen is the Green sea turtle which lays eggs between December and June, and their eggs hatch around two months after being laid.
When is the best time to see Giant Tortoises on the Galápagos Islands?
Whilst the adults can be seen all year round in the highlands, plan a trip from December to March to see baby giant tortoises hatching in the nature reserves such as the Darwin Centre.
When is the best time to see Whales in the Galápagos Islands?
Blue and Humpback whales can be seen in the surrounding ocean from June to December when they migrate to the islands to feed.
However, due to the cost of tours and a lower probability of seeing them, we suggest whale watching in one of the multitudes of other spots along the South American coastline.
When Is the Best Time To See Sea Lions on the Galápagos Islands?
You won’t struggle to spot sea lions on the Galápagos Islands. They are on almost every beach and reside there all year round.
If you want to see baby sea lions, visit in August. If you’re going to snorkel or dive with the babies, then head a few months later in November when they’ve started swimming and have become playful.
For a complete guide to seeing every beach on the islands without paying for an expensive tour:
What Are The Best Months For Diving In The Galápagos Islands?
There is no right or wrong month to visit the Galápagos Islands for diving, but the conditions vary significantly, impacting marine life differently.
The diving seasons are split into two halves:
- The warmer period – December to May
- The cold period – June to November.
Visit in the warm period for warmer waters, better visibility but less animal life. Visit in the colder period for reduced visibility, cold waters but an abundance of large marine life.
When is the best time to see hammerheads in the Galápagos Islands?
You can see hammerhead sharks all year round in the Galápagos islands but the best time to see the giant schools of hammerheads is during the warm diving season – December to May.
During this time, sea temperatures range from 24 to 25 degrees Celsius (75-79 Fahrenheit). Due to the warmer period, the seas are somewhat calmer, making for a more pleasant experience on the sea, which can be rough otherwise. You will also have better visibility during this period due to fewer nutrients in the waters.
When is the best time to see whale sharks in the Galápagos Islands?
The best time to see whale sharks is during the colder season between June and Dec.
However, you can only see them from a liveaboard dive boat as they don’t visit the areas close to the main islands.
During the cold period, visibility can decrease, and the waters become colder, meaning you will need a thicker wetsuit. Before diving anywhere, you should research animal activity and diving conditions, specifically visibility and temperature.
We dived in October, and the water was the coldest we’ve experienced, which was a shock to us. We used 3mm wetsuits, gloves, and hoods. Visibility was mediocre at 15 meters, but we saw lots of life, including hammerhead sharks, sea lions and turtles.
FAQs On The Best Months To Visit The Galápagos Islands
Frequently asked questions about the best months to visit the Galápagos Islands.
Is April A Good Time To Visit The Galápagos Islands?
April is an excellent time to visit for warm and sunny days. Average daily temperatures range from 22 °C-30 °C. There will hardly be any rain, and the waters will be warm (24°C), perfect for snorkelling and diving.
The only downside of visiting in April is it will coincide with the school Easter holidays, resulting in heightened tourism from both north and south America flock to the islands. This means prices for tours, accommodation, and food will all be inflated.
Don’t visit in April if you want to save money or be surrounded by tourists.
Is December A Good Time To Visit The Galápagos Islands?
December is a great time to visit for beautifully warm weather and clear skies. Average daily temperatures range from 22°C – 27°C. There will low rainfall, and the waters will be around 22.5°C, perfect for snorkelling and diving.
The only downside of visiting in December is it will coincide with the school Christmas holidays, another peak tourism month meaning more tourists, and higher prices for tours, accommodation and food.
Don’t visit in December if you want to save money or be surrounded by tourists.