The Best Time to Visit the Galápagos Islands

Climate and Weather on the Galapagos

The climate on the Galapagos Islands is relatively stable throughout the year. Despite their proximity to the equator, the Galapagos have cool and warm seasons, but temperatures fluctuate only slightly. This is due to two factors: the relatively cool Humboldt Current and the southern trade winds. During the warm season, the islands will see temperatures climb to 30 degrees Celsius, with the sun shining for up to eight hours a day. The sea is pleasantly warm and perfect for swimming, particularly in March. In the cooler months, August and September, a fresh wind blows from Antarctica. However, temperatures usually do not drop below 18 degrees and the sun still shines for five to six hours a day.

 

Considering a trip to this unique destination? I’ve laid out the most important information for planning around the climate in Galapagos when you visit!

Where are the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos consist of over 100 islands located in the East Pacific off the coast of Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their breathtaking flora and fauna. Today, 98 percent of the island’s surface area is under nature conservation. Of the 100 islands, only five are permanently inhabited by humans, the most popular being the “Isla Santa Cruz”.

Climate table – San Cristóbal

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperatur in °C 29 30 30 30 29 27 26 25 25 26 26 27
Min. Temperatur in °C 23 23 22 22 22 21 20 19 18 19 20 21
Hours of sun per day 6 8 7 8 8 8 7 6 5 5 5 6
Sea temperature in °C 25 26 27 26 25 24 23 22 22 22 23 24
Days of rain per month 7 5 3 6 3 0 0 0 2 2 1 2

When is the best time to travel to the Galapagos Islands

The best travel time for the Galapagos Islands is between December and May. During these months temperatures can reach 30 degrees Celsius and the water temperature rises to 27 degrees. The months are also ideal for wildlife watching.

If you want to save money and still travel to the Galapagos at an optimal time, you should choose the months of April, May, September and October for your holiday. These months are considered low season on the Galapagos Islands and are often cheaper. The cool season is particularly suitable for spotting the island’s incredible wildlife. Giant turtles, cormorants and penguins can be seen on the islands. With the end of the rainy season in June you can expect many visitors to the Galapagos. From September to November, the island sees fewer tourists and animal lovers can observe the rare animal species undisturbed. However, the sea is particularly turbulent at this time. For vacationers, suffering from seasickness, you should probably avoid this time of the year! For divers, it can become too fresh and unpleasant due to the cool temperatures and the high waves.

 

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Climate by season

You’ll only see two somewhat distinct seasons on the Galapagos Islands. Read on to find out about the climate, weather and temperatures during the warm and cool seasons.

Warme season

The months of December to May are considered a warm season with a tropical climate. The sun shines up to eight hours a day, but most of the rain falls in these months. In January, it rains on average seven days, while in December you only have to reckon with two rainy days. All in all, the rainy season is moderate and does not keep any tourists from visiting. On the contrary: the warm season is perfect for all sun worshippers, divers and snorkelers. In March, the water temperatures are pleasantly warm with up to 27 degrees Celsius.

Cool season

The cool season on the Galapagos begins in June and lasts until November. Cold air is brought in from the Antarctic, temperatures drop and fog must be expected. In contrast to the warm season, there is hardly any rainfall and the sun shines for five to six hours a day. In the months September to November it often gets particularly fresh and the sea temperatures drop to 22 degrees Celsius. During this time, it’s particularly quiet on the Galapagos and holidaymakers have the island almost to themselves.

Climate by month

December to May: Sunny days and warm temperatures

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The months December to May are the best travel time for sun worshippers, the sun shines for up to eight hours and the water temperatures are particularly warm with 24 to 27 degrees Celsius. The rainy season begins in January, with an average rainfall of more than 175 mm per month. However, this time is not considered a classic rainy season. It rains once a day instead of continuously. In the warm and humid months, there are more hours of sunshine than in the dry months. The rain gives the Galapagos Islands a lush green glow. December to May are also the perfect months to observe animals. You’ll see the green sea turtle lays its eggs on the beach and many other animals give birth to their offspring. The time is perfect for diving and snorkelling.

June, July and August: The end of the rainy season

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June marks the transition to the dry season and temperatures cool down slightly. In June, the sun shines up to eight hours a day and in August, about six hours a day. Nevertheless, these months are good travel times for the Galapagos Islands. June heralds the end of the rainy season and you’ll barely see a drop hit the ground. In July and August sees an influx of tourists to the islands. Prices for flights and accommodation are the most expensive during this time. The sea cools slightly and reaches around 22 degrees Celsius, so you’ll need a wetsuit for diving. Due to the southern trade winds and the cool Humboldt Current, it can get foggy in this season and it’s more difficult to observe the islands’ animals.

  • Good travel time for the Galapagos
  • End of the rainy season
  • End of June and August: Summer holidays and peak travel season
  • Transition period to cooler months

September to November: Cool temperatures and few visitors

Sea lions resting under the sun, Galapagos
Sea lions resting under the sun, Galapagos

The low season on the Galapagos is from September to November, when the islands see the coolest temperatures. In September you can expect temperatures between 18 and 25 degrees. The sea is rough with choppy waves, so boat trips are limited. These months are also the worst for snorkelling and diving. However, the Galapagos are sees the least amount of tourists and little to no rainfall. From September to November you have to reckon with two rainy days – apart from that it stays dry.

  • Off-season
  • Cooler temperatures, rough sea
  • Low-cost flights and accommodation

My conclusion on the best travel time for the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a great destination at any time of the year due to their moderate temperature fluctuations. The main travel season is between December and May. The temperatures are warmest, the sea is pleasantly warm and perfect for swimming, diving and snorkelling. The warm season is also ideal for observing the wildlife. June and August mark the transition to a cooler season, but from August, it is much colder in the Galapagos. The southern trade winds cover the islands in fog on some days. Animal observations are only conditionally possible under these circumstances. But at this time you have the islands almost for yourself and can explore the natural paradise undisturbed.

The Galapagos Islands is one destination that you should put firmly on your bucket list. Curious? Then take a look at my current offers for your next holiday. Of course you will find more inspiration in my travel magazine. Have fun!

More information about the Galapagos and South America

 

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