The Galapagos Islands are one of our favorite South American destinations not only due to their incredible natural diversity but also because they can be enjoyed all year-round! There is no ‘bad’ weather season to visit the Galapagos Islands as due to its equatorial location the weather makes it suitable to visit throughout the year and the wildlife can be appreciated whenever you choose to go.
Instead of the varying climates in the United States, Europe or elsewhere in the world, the Galapagos Islands have just two climatic seasons each with their own advantages. The wet season runs from January to May and the dry season from June to December and unlike most island or beach vacations the drier season is no better than the wetter one.
The Dry Season – June to December
In our opinion, the dry season is the best time to explore the underwater life of the Galapagos as well as taking advantage of the birdlife on offer. As a result of the colder waters and flow of the Humboldt Current that brings a large amount of nutrients to the area, there is an abundance of marine life during the dry season. This attracts and marks the arrival of the penguins and albatrosses to the islands and dolphins and whale spotting becomes more common. Although during the dry season in the Galapagos Islands, the skies can be in fact more gray than blue where thin layers of cloud can block the sunlight; it is the driest time of the year to visit these islands. From August to November, you may find that the seas become ever so slightly choppier than normal but this does not mean by any means that you should avoid traveling to the enchanted Galapagos Isles during this time. Most of the traveling is done during the evening whilst you are sleeping and during the day the yachts generally dock in calm waters near the shore so that you can enjoy the day discovering one of the incredible islands or exploring life underwater whilst snorkeling.
The Wet Season – January to May
If you are wondering why on earth you would visit the Galapagos or any destination during the wet season, although it rains more, the showers are short-lived and mainly occur in the afternoon. Once they have passed quickly, the rainstorms usually leave behind beautiful blue skies and help to maintain the stunning and vibrant greenery on the hillsides and around the islands. In 2012, as can be seen in our infographic above, the highest amount of monthly rainfall was during the month of March however, with just 7.64 inches of rainfall, it is drier than most of the world’s other major vacation destinations. The air and sea temperatures throughout the wet season are in fact warmer than during the dry season making snorkeling and other water based activities that little bit more enjoyable. The wet season marks the start and end of the breeding and mating seasons for many animals in the Galapagos and provides you with many attractive and interesting wildlife encounters. March and April is our favorite time on the island as the adorable newborn wildlife begins to emerge all over the island and along with the blossoming flowers you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the islands.
There is no best month or season to visit the Galapagos Islands especially as wildlife activities vary greatly and each month has its own natural highlights. For example, green turtles begin laying their eggs in January whilst you can enjoy spending time with penguins from June until the end of September. The humpback whales begin to arrive to the islands in June and from July through to the end of September the seabird activity is at its peaks. The peak sea lion pupping is around August, whilst the best time to enjoy playing with the pups whilst snorkeling is in November and December marks the month that the giant tortoise eggs hatch. Throughout the year there is always something going on, making the Galapagos Islands one of the best and most exciting year round locations to visit in the world!