Visiting Galapagos Islands in January
The holiday crowds start to thin out as the rainy season begins and the air and water temperatures start rising. The Galapagos becomes green as the dry zones start to flourish. This is an ideal time to visit for snorkelers as the water gets warmer, as well as bird watchers, with Darwin finches and yellow warblers starting their mating rituals.
Green sea turtles
Green sea turtles start arriving at the beaches to begin the egg laying season.
The marine iguanas on Espanola acquire a vivid array of greens, reds & black to attract females.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in February
A great time of year if you are into scuba diving; the waters are clear and the days are warm and humid. The consistent calm waters make it perfect for putting on a pair of fins or taking a trip on a glass-bottomed boat to see what wildlife you can underwater. On land, marine iguanas start to nest on Santa Cruz and there are less penguin sightings on Bartolome Island with many having followed the cooler, western waters.
Visit Cormorant Point on Floreana to witness greater Flamingos begin their nesting season.
Nazca (masked) boobies on Espanola are at the end of their nesting season so you may be able to spot newly hatched chicks.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in March
On the Galapagos Islands during March you can expect the highest temperatures and also higher periods of precipitation. Periods of rain can be expected on most days, but also hot temperatures making it feel tropical. The warmer waters mean that sessions in the water can last longer.
Disembarking at certain areas like Puerto Egas, Gardner Bay and Bartolome can be challenging.
The summer equinox on March 21st signals the arrival of the waved albatross to Espanola. This is great for bird lovers as Suarez Point is the only nesting site for Galapagos albatrosses and can be seen conducting courtship displays.
The snorkelling around Isabela and nearby islands is excellent in March, where you can expect to see plenty of penguins and tropical fish.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in April
The rainy season begins to come to an end in April and the wildlife is busy feasting on an abundance of fruit and seeds making it a popular time for tourists.
Giant tortoises are reaching the end of their hatching season so you may see baby giant tortoises around.
Land iguanas and green turtles start their hatching season and several baby green sea turtles can be seen on Floreana and Isabela Island.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in May
May is a shoulder season for the Galapagos with the cooler period ahead; it is a great time to visit before the summer travellers arrive. Marine iguana eggs are busy hatching on Santa Cruz and you can see small iguana hatchlings strolling along the shores.
Visit North Seymour Island to check out the comical blue-footed boobies who will be starting their courtship displays.
Dip your toe in the water around Bartolome and see penguins zipping around underwater.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in June
Marking the beginning of the Garua season you can expect more mist and fog at either end of the day. However, there will still be plenty of sunshine around during the day for you to enjoy your visit. Cooler southern currents are driving the fall in temperatures and south east trade winds can make the sea less settled and pods of humpback whales start to arrive in the Galapagos.
Magnificent frigate birds
Male magnificent frigate birds start their breeding season on North Seymour Island and see them puff out their red pouches.
Giant tortoises on Santa Cruz begin their migration from the highlands, seeking nesting sites to breed.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in July
Throughout July, the islands are cool and occasionally drizzly while still holding on to the sunshine and clearer skies of the warm and wet season – however it is also one of the windiest months. In the cool and dry season, the sun is less intense, light tropical rains can fall and the increase in wind brings choppier seas.
Lava lizards begin to initiate mating rituals, which continue through to November and this is the ideal time to witness the four nesting stages of blue-footed and Nazca boobies, from eggs and chicks to juveniles and sub-adults.
Flightless cormorants perform their beautiful courtship rituals and nesting activities on Fernandina Island.
Whales and Dolphins
Sightings of whales and dolphins are more likely, especially off the western coast of Isabela Island.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in August
Throughout August, strong currents mean waters become increasingly choppy and surges can be expected on southern and western shores.
Galapagos hawks start their courtship rituals, mating and raising chicks on Espanola Island.
Sea lion pups
Sea lion pupping season begins and sightings on the western and central islands are likely.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in September
Throughout September, the peak of the cool and dry season hits the Galapagos Islands and the summer crowds start to filter out. While it is the coldest month in the archipelago, the days are still pleasant and the nutrient-rich waters make for remarkable underwater sightings – just be sure to wear a warm wetsuit! Around the north-western islands, whale sharks and humpback whales can be seen migrating.
Galapagos penguins frolic with swimmers and snorkelers both above and below the ocean surface off the coast of Bartolome Island providing unforgettable encounters.
On the western and central islands, harem-gathering male sea lions are constantly barking and fighting as females are reaching mating season again.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in October
Throughout October, it is possible to witness some of the archipelago’s most stunning sunrises from the western islands and volcanic summits are clear even though low-lying fog covers the shorelines. This moist and cold fog is present on all islands in the archipelago, but in the western islands this mist tends to burn off and result in brighter days.
Blue footed boobies
Blue-footed boobies begin raising their chicks all over Espanola Island and Isabela Island.
Herons start to nest, which continues through to March.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in November
Throughout November, which lies at the very end of the cool and dry season (just before the warm and wet season begins), the high amounts of plankton in the Humboldt Current means visibility is not at its peak, but it also means that the marine life are at their most active and snorkelling can bring memorable encounters. Whale sharks can be seen in the far northwest of the islands.
Sea lion pupping season continues and these nimble three-to-four-month-olds are playful and curious with swimmers and snorkelers (you might even find one nibbling at your fins).
Green sea turtles
Green sea turtles are beginning their mating season.
Visiting Galapagos Islands in December
Throughout December, which lies at the very start of the warm and wet season, the western islands remain dry and sea temperatures begin to gradually rise.
Baby giant tortoises begin hatching and continue through to April.
The first chicks of Galapagos albatrosses shed their brown down to dress in white and grey plumage.