This is one of the questions that we get asked most often. When is the best time for snorkeling? Is there a time of year with the calmest waters? And of course, when is the best time for maximum wildlife viewing? Learn more about when the best time is to go to the Galapagos Islands.
Due to the location of the Galapagos Islands on the equator, there is not much fluctuation in temperature. The lows are generally in the high 60s to low 70s and the highs in the mid 80s to low 90s. In addition to pleasantly warm temperatures year-round, the location of the Galapagos Islands also means that most animals you find there will be there year-round as well.
Most species in the Galapagos originally floated to these spectacular islands on logs or plant beds. Now, there really isn’t anywhere for them to go, unless they migrate, which many animals there do not. Both marine and land iguanas, sea lions, penguins and many species of birds and fish are there all year long. This is great news for travelers, as it makes any time of the year a wonderful time to visit the Galapagos Islands! Let’s take a look at some of the weather, breeding and water changes that do occur throughout the year.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS FOR ANIMAL BREEDING SEASONS AND GALAPAGOS WEATHER
During our winter and spring (December through May), it is slightly warmer than average on the Galapagos Islands, and it often sprinkles a bit during the day. Despite the rain, it is actually the sunniest time of year, as the rain clouds really do just come and go quickly. February, March & April are the warmest months, and this is also the time of year with the clearest and calmest waters. Despite the rain, it is actually the sunniest time of year, as the rain clouds really do just come and go quickly. Thanks to the slightly warmer temperatures and the Panama Current the water is warmer as well. This makes snorkeling very comfortable and some won’t need a wetsuit to enjoy swimming alongside the abundance of marine life.
As our summer and then fall rolls in (June through November), the temperatures begin to cool slightly on the Galapagos Islands, but remain comfortable and warm. This can make it a great time for those who struggle with more hot and humid temperatures. This is partly due to the Humboldt Current, a current that comes up off the coast of Chile and Peru and brings with it cooler and more nutrient rich water. This season has little to no rain, but cloudier skies. Alongside the nutrient rich water comes a more active marine life and even dolphin and whale sightings from July through December. Despite the cooler water temperatures, this is actually a phenomenal time for snorkeling in the Galapagos as the marine life is at its most active. But, if you love to snorkel and struggle with colder water, snorkeling is wonderful year round and you may want to look towards a warmer time.
From July through October you can also get some mild winds. With this can come some more motion in the water. If you’re someone who is especially susceptible to getting sea sickness, you may want to look towards a different season, or look at larger vessels or catamarans which can provide a bit more stability, and pack your preferred seasickness medication.
The Galapagos truly is a year round destination as the wildlife is phenomenal year round and you see minimal weather variation. Take a look at the chart below to see how these miraculously unique islands change from month to month and when some of the wildlife is in its mating season. There is always something new to discover each month in the Galapagos!
Once you know when you would like to travel to the Galapagos, it is time to get planning! The first decision when planning a trip will be whether an expedition cruise or land based trip is the best fit for you. Both have their advantages depending on your personal travel style. Our Trip Specialists can help you make this decision based on their expertise on both options. If considering a cruise, there’s a lot to consider to pick the best cruise for you. When you are ready to plan your trip, call one of our Galapagos cruise experts at 1-877-616-8747.
Renee is a Trip Specialist at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. She lived in Mexico for over 3 years and is excited to help Knowmad travelers discover the wonderful impact not just travel, but really experiencing a different country and culture can have on your life. Read Renee’s biography and more about the Knowmad team.