The Galapagos Islands are a natural science lab located in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are known for their unique wildlife, stunning landscapes, and clear waters. If you're planning a trip to the Galapagos, you're probably wondering when the best time to visit is. And we’ve got the answers…
There are a few things to consider when planning your trip, including the weather, wildlife, and peak tourist seasons. The Galapagos is a year-round destination and there’s no “right time” to visit. But there are some important considerations.
The weather in the Galapagos Islands is divided into two seasons: the hot/wet season and the cool/dry season. The hot/wet season runs from December to May, while the cool/dry season runs from June to November.
During the hot/wet season, the weather is warm and humid with frequent rain showers. The average temperature is around 85°F, and the humidity is high. The warm water temperature is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and the lush vegetation is at its peak. Of course, the wet season also means more mosquitoes and other insects, and some of the trails may be muddy and slippery. The best time to visit the Galapagos Islands if you are prone to seasickness is during the warm and wet season, from January to May, when the seas are at their calmest.
During the cool/dry season, the weather is cooler and drier with occasional drizzle. The average temperature is around 75°F, and the humidity is lower. The water temperature is cooler, making it less comfortable for swimming, but it is still possible to snorkel. The seas are also choppier at this time so it’s not an ideal time to visit if you get seasick easily. Everything is drier and there are fewer insects.
The wildlife in the Galapagos Islands is the main attraction for most visitors. The islands are home to many unique species that are found nowhere else in the world. When planning your trip, it's important to consider the best time to see the animals you're interested in.
If you're keen to see sea turtles, the best time to visit is between December and May when the female sea turtles come to shore to lay their eggs. You even may be lucky enough to see baby sea turtles hatching and making their way to the sea. If it’s all about whales and dolphins for you, the best time to visit is between June and November. During this time, the water is cooler, and the whales and dolphins migrate to the area to mate and give birth.
If you’re interested in seeing the famous Galapagos giant tortoise, the best time to visit is between June and November. This is when the tortoises come down from the highlands to the coast to find water and mate.
The peak tourist season in the Galapagos Islands is between mid-December and mid-January, as well as from June to August. During these times, the islands are crowded with tourists, and prices for accommodations and tours are higher. If you're planning a trip during these times, it's important to book well in advance to ensure you get the accommodation and tours you want.
If you're looking for a quieter and more affordable time to visit, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of May and September. During these times, the weather is still good, and there are fewer tourists.
The right time to visit the Galapagos Islands is whenever you have a gap! That said, if you’re dead-set on seeing one animal in particular – or if you have an aversion for tourists or cold water! – you might want to plan accordingly.
Keen to experience Darwin’s playground for yourself? Check out our most popular Galapagos cruise and Galapagos island hopping itineraries. Or speak to a destination expert about crafting the bespoke tour of your dreams.