Galapagos Weather | Galapagos Islands - When To Go | Galapagos Unbound

Galapagos Weather - When to Go

GALÁPAGOS WEATHER - WHEN TO GO

Although the Galápagos has a plethora of wildlife, it only has two seasons: the cool and dry season that lasts from July through December and the hot and rainy season that goes from January through June. The weather remains relatively temperate throughout both seasons and so it’s always a good time to visit the Galapagos Islands.

The “peak season” for tourism is usually attributed as lasting from mid-December through mid-January and mid-June through September. However, since the Galápagos National Park Service has various travel restrictions, you will never have to deal with hordes of tourists and can instead enjoy the natural serenity of the islands in relative solitude.

GALÁPAGOS DRY SEASON

The dry season in Galápagos is known as the garúa season, and this is when temperatures begin to drop.

  • As cold waters travel north from the Antarctica region, the climate becomes more subtropical than tropical.

  • One of the most visible effects of the subtropical climate is the misty rain that coats the island peaks and turns the vegetation green. As garúa translates to “drizzle” in English, it’s a fitting name for the misty season.

  • The garúa season attracts more marine mammals, fish, and birds despite the colder waters because the Humboldt Current brings up nutrient and plankton rich water.

  • The drizzle largely effects the highlands while the lowlands continue to have an arid climate, and there’s plenty of wildlife to observe in both.

  • The sea is swarming with fishes, and so it’s one of the best times to observe seabirds and Galápagos penguins who are enjoying the feast swimming below the surface.

GALÁPAGOS RAINY SEASON

The rainy season extends from January through June, and the water and weather is at its warmest during these months. Explore the shores of Galápagos during ideal tropical weather on our Galápagos Adventure.

  • The tropical rain showers are at their heaviest January through March, but although the rainfall can be heavy the storms are generally short.

  • The predominately sunny days paired with the warm waters coming down from Colombia and Panama make for great snorkeling weather.

  • While the weather is at its clearest and the water at its smoothest from March to April, there are less fish to see in the warm waters; rather, more fish can be found later in the year.

WILDLIFE NEVER HIBERNATES IN THE GALÁPAGOS  

The Galápagos Islands are teeming with wildlife. While it’s true that for everything there is a season, every season in the Galápagos has something miraculous to recommend it. Whether you want to see animals nesting or hatching, mating or migrating, there’s always something to see in the Galápagos. The wildlife never hibernates in the Galápagos, and so your adventures do not have to either.  Explore Galápagos any day of the year on one of our Galápagos Island Vacation Day Tours

See below for a breakdown of monthly weather and wildlife events and check out our Galapagos weather and wildlife info-graphic for a helpful visual!

JANUARY

JANUARY

January in the Galápagos is customarily sunny with occasional rainfall in the afternoon. Temperatures are rising throughout the islands, and with temperatures in the 80s and the ocean balmy and in the 70s, the Galápagos in January is no winter wonderland. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 30/22C, 86/72F
  • Hours of clear skies: 5.3
  • Average Rainfall: 2.5cm, 1.0in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 24.5C / 76F

Wildlife Activity

  • Giant tortoise eggs are beginning to hatch! Watch for baby tortoises scampering about
  • Galápagos green turtles come to shore to lay their eggs
  • Male marine iguanas develop bright coloring to attract future mates on Española Island
  • Land birds begin to nest after the first rain of the season
  • Land iguanas begin mating rituals on Isabela Island

Hike, paddle, and snorkel in the tropical paradise that is Galápagos on our Galápagos & Mainland Ecuador Multisport Tour.

FEBRUARY

FEBRUARY

Things keep warming up from January to February, though the sunny days and afternoon showers continue. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 30 / 24C, 86 / 75F
  • Hours of clear skies: 7.5
  • Average Rainfall: 2.5cm, 1.0in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 25C / 77F

Wildlife Activity

  • Giant tortoise eggs continue to hatch throughout the islands
  • Galápagos penguins can be seen on Bartolomé Island before they commence migration to Fernandina and Isabela Island for cooler waters. 
  • Marine iguanas begin to nest on Santa Cruz Island
  • Greater flamingos start nesting on Floreana Island
  • The Galápagos dove’s nesting season reaches its height
  • Nazca boobies end their nesting season on Española island

Take a look at the giant tortoises that had Darwin so fascinated on our Galápagos Islands Luxury Adventure Cruise.

MARCH

MARCH

March brings in the rainiest season of the Galápagos; an average of two inches of precipitation fall within the month. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 31 / 24C, 88 / 75F
  • Hours of clear skies: 6.0
  • Average Rainfall: 5.1cm, 2.0in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 25C / 77F

Wildlife Activity

  • Galápagos penguins can be seen on Isabela Island
  • Frigatebirds begin to inflate their bright red throat pouches on Genovesa and San Cristóbal Islands in hopes of attracting mates
  • The waves albatross begins to arrive on the shores of Española Island after the summer equinox
  • Giant tortoise eggs continue to hatch
  • Marine iguanas can be seen nesting on Seymour and Fernandina Islands

See Galápagos in its rainy season glory from the comfort of a cabin on the Eric or Letty yacht, specifically designed for cruising the Galápagos Islands.

APRIL

APRIL

Things to begin to cool a bit in April. April showers continue throughout the month, although the average rainfall drops from the previous month. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 31 / 24C, 88 / 75F
  • Hours of clear skies: 7.5
  • Average Rainfall: 3.8cm, 1.5in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 25C / 77F

Wildlife Activity

  • Galápagos green turtle eggs start to hatch along the beaches
  • Land iguana eggs begin to hatch on Isabela Island
  • Waves albatross begin to flock to Española Island in droves
  • Waves albatross begin their courtship rituals
  • Giant tortoise hatching season comes to an end

Kayak through the waters of Galápagos and see all its accompanying wildlife on a Galápagos, Otavalo & Amazon Trip.

may

MAY

Air and water temperatures continue to cool and the tropical rain showers begin to wane. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 28 / 22C, 82 / 72F
  • Hours of clear skies: 5.2
  • Average Rainfall: 1.9cm, 0.75in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 24.5C / 76F

Wildlife Activity

  • Galápagos green sea turtles continue hatching in Punta Cormorant on Floreana, Puerto Egas on Santiago, and in Gardner Bay on Española
  • Galápagos sea lions mate from May through January, and their pups are born a year after conception. In May, you can come across mating sea lions or some new sea lion pups greeting the world
  • Marine iguana eggs begin hatching rom nests on Santa Cruz Island
  • Waved albatross begin laying eggs on Española Island
  • Blue-footed boobies begin mating dance on Seymour Island
  • Band-rumped storm petrels start their initial nesting period
June

JUNE

Tropical rain showers become infrequent as water and air temperatures continue to drop. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 26 / 21C, 79 / 70F
  • Hours of clear skies: 4.4
  • Average Rainfall: 0.6cm, 0.25in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 23C / 73F

Wildlife Activity

  • Giant tortoises begin to migrate to the lowland in search for nesting sites on Santa Cruz 
  • Pods of whales may be seen passing Galápagos as they migrate to the Equator along Ecuador’s coast from June to September. 
  • Whale sharks can be seen off the coasts of the northwestern islands towards the end of June
  • Short-eared owls begin to mate on Genovesa
  • Male frigatebirds and their red throat pouches can be spotted throughout Seymour
july

JULY

July brings in the garúa, or dry, season. Air temperatures continue to cool into the 60s while water temperatures drop to the low 70s. Rain shows continue to be infrequent. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 26 / 20C, 79 / 68F
  • Hours of clear skies: 2.8
  • Average Rainfall: 1.3cm, 0.50in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 22C / 72F

Wildlife Activity

  • Whale sharks can be seen off the coasts of Wolf and Darwin Islands
  • Dolphin and whale sightings increase; Isabela’s western coast is one of the best spots
  • Frigatebird chicks begin to hatch
  • Greater flamingoes begin to mating “dances” to court potential mates
  • Lava lizards begin their mating season which continues through November
  • Flightless cormorants begin to court and nest on Fernandina Island
  • Blue-footed boobies become active on Española and bobby eggs, chicks, juveniles, and young adults can be seen throughout the island
  • Oystercatchers begin to nest on Santiago Island
august

AUGUST

The Galápagos Islands are at their coolest in August with highs reaching the mid-70s. Water temperatures drop below 70, their lowest temperatures throughout the year. The dry season continues. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 26 / 19C, 79 / 66F
  • Hours of clear skies: 3.3
  • Average Rainfall: 0.6cm, 0.25in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 21.5C / 71F

Wildlife Activity

  • Giant tortoises begin the return migration to the Santa Cruz highlands following nesting
  • Galápagos sea lions continue to give birth to their pups, with the largest populations on the central and western islands. 
  • Greater flamingos continue their courtship dance
  • Frigatebird chicks begin hatching
  • Galápagos hawks begin courtship rituals on Santiago and Española Islands
  • Nazca boobies and swallow-tailed gulls begin to nest on Genovesa
  • Migratory shorebirds begin their stopover on Galápagos Islands through March

 

september

SEPTEMBER

The garúa season reaches its prime during September, and the terrestrial animals and birds grow more active. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 26 / 19C, 79 / 66F
  • Hours of clear skies: 2.9
  • Average Rainfall: 1.3cm, 0.50in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 22C / 72F

Wildlife Activity

  • Sea lions active along the shores
  • Seabirds lively at nesting sites
  • Galápagos penguins begin courtship on Bartolomé Island—a mating ritual that continues through December
  • Migrating whale sharks and humpback whales can be seen off the coasts of the northwestern islands

 

october

OCTOBER

Although the garúa season carries on, the Galápagos begins to warm with water temperatures returning to the low 70s. Coastal regions experience occasional haze while higher peaks have clear weather. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 26 / 20C, 79 / 68F
  • Hours of clear skies: 3.8
  • Average Rainfall: 0.6cm, 0.25in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 22.5C / 73F

Wildlife Activity

  • Whale sharks remain nearby Wolf and Darwin Islands
  • Galápagos fur seals commence their mating season
  • Blue-footed booby chicks being to mature on Española and Isabela Islands
  • Lava herons begin nesting, which continues through March
November

NOVEMBER

The Galápagos continues to warm up. Conditions for snorkeling begin to improve as the surrounding seas are calm and visibility increases as the haze lessens. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 26 / 21C, 79 / 70F
  • Hours of clear skies: 3.5
  • Average Rainfall: 1.3cm, 0.50in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 23C / 73F

Wildlife Activity

  • Galápagos green sea turtles are at their prime in their mating season, and their activities are at their best for human observation from November through January
  • Galápagos sea lion pups continue to be born. At this point, sea lion mothers begin to relax and the older pups are allowed to play with human guests
  • Brown noddy mating season begins
  • Band-rumped storm petrels commence their secondary nesting period

Explore Galápagos tropical water during prime conditions on our Dive Galápagos tour.

December

DECEMBER

The garúa season concludes. Although tropical rain showers remain infrequent, the Galápagos Island plants begin to turn green. Temperatures rise with highs in the low 80s and a low of 70. Water temperatures on average stay in the mid-70s. 

Weather Snapshot

  • Air Temp (Max / Min): 27 / 22C, 81 / 72F
  • Hours of clear skies: 4.0
  • Average Rainfall: 1.3cm, 0.50in (in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 22.5C / 73F

Wildlife Activity

  • Giant tortoise egg hatching begins in December and continues through April 
  • Galápagos green turtles continue their mating season
  • Waved albatross chicks develop their wings for flight, allowing them to leave the islands until their return migration in March

Experience all that December in the Galápagos has to offer on a Galápagos Islands: Christmas Vacation.