Blessed by their isolation from the mainland and their equatorial location, the Galapagos Islands are beautiful all year through, making it so there is no single time of year that is better than another for visiting. However, there are a number of factors that may influence your plans when you are deciding when to visit the Galapagos.
Many tour operators consider around April & May and September & October to be their low season months. During these periods, the tourism in the Galapagos decreases and (depending on the boat) many lower their prices at this time in order to attract more passengers on board. During the high season, many boats will be booked far in advance, so make reservations months before you plan on traveling. If making last minute reservations, you may have to choose a boat that is not your first choice.
The climate of the Galapagos is always conducive to boat tours, but there are slight climatic variations throughout the year. From June to December the southern tradewinds bring the colder Humbolt current north to the Galapagos. This means that the water is cooler, and a layer of high atmosphere mist pervades the island skies. In effect, the highlands of the larger islands are kept green and lush, while the sea level islands and shorelines have little precipitation. Thus, June to December is generally called the "dry season", known for its blue skies and mid-day showers. During this season, sea mammals and land birds are most active. This is the perfect time for observing the sea birds' courtship displays. The warmer waters of the southern flowing Panama current head strongly towards the Galapagos again around December when the southern tradewinds blow more softly. Then the cooling factor of the Humbolt current recedes and the waters are warmed.
The time period between December and May are considered the "warm season". During this warmer season, the Galapagos' climate is more tropical with daily rain and cloudier skies. The island birds are especially active during that season. Also, the ocean temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkeling. On the Galapagos Islands, you'll always find the wildlife activity to be absolutely amazing and unique, no matter when you visit the islands. To check out the weather forecast on the Islands, click here.
There are a number of animals, particularly sea birds, that have specific breeding patterns. For example, the captivating waved Albatross come from all over to Isabela Island to stay for the rest of the year. In October, their courtship is at its peak and is a sight to see. Other animals have specific seasons during which they breed, and are more active or more abundant in the water during these periods.
View the Galapagos Fast Facts