• Swimming turtle,  Galapagos Islands

The Best time to go to the Galapagos islands

The best time to go to the Galapagos Islands is between December and June.

The islands of the Galapagos straddle the equator in the Pacific Ocean, and as with most destinations here at 0° latitude, the archipelago does not experience any particularly drastic changes in climate throughout the year. That said, there are two distinct seasons here, and although the differences between them are less pronounced than in many other places, it is worth bearing this in mind when planning your Galapagos safari.

Many activities in the Galapagos can be enjoyed year-round, but some months can be better than others due to cooler temperatures or calmer seas, for example. In addition, many animals will abide by predictable behaviour patterns, so if you're looking to see avian courtship rituals or nesting sea turtles, you will want to travel at a particular time of year. Take a look through this page, and our month-by-month breakdown, to find out when the Galapagos is best for you.

Galapagos seal

When to go to the Galapagos if you want to see…

Waved albatross: These migratory seabirds arrive in April and depart in December, performing their famous mating ritual and rearing their chicks during their stay in the Galapagos.

Blue-footed booby: May to July is the best time to see the comical mating ritual that these birds perform.

Espanola Marine Iguana: December to February is the best time to see this unique subspecies during their breeding season, when the iguanas develop vibrant red and turquoise colourings.

Sea Lions: The Galapagos sea lion breeding season occurs mainly from July to December, but varies between islands. Swimming with them is best between the months of December to June when the seas are warmer and calmer, improving the visibility underwater.

Giant Tortoise: Most eggs are laid between June and December. Hatchlings usually emerge between December and April.

Turtles: Green sea turtles breed year-round, but most activity occurs in the hotter months of December - May. This is also when you have the best chance of seeing nesting turtles (and, if you're lucky, hatchlings).

Whales and Dolphins: There are great whale sharks sightings to be had at Darwin and Wolf Islands from June to November. Whales and dolphins are commonly seen between Isabela and Fernandina Islands from July to November when the Humboldt Current is more prominent and supplies more nutrient-rich waters to the archipelago.

Waved albatross, Galapagos Islands

When to go by season

The Warmer Months

The warmest weather in these incredible islands occurs between December and May, when the average maximum temperature is a warm 30 ºC and the water temperature will usually be a welcoming 25 ºC. Heavy showers are common during these months, but are usually brief and can be quite refreshing.

Read more about each month on the following pages:

The Cooler Months

A cooler weather period runs from June to November, and whilst there is little rain it can often be foggy or overcast. The sea temperature will be slightly cooler at this time of year, at around 22 ºC. June to August is also the highest international tourist season, so if you're planning to travel during this time, be prepared to book well in advance and prepare for busy attractions and higher prices. It is also worth considering that the seas are roughest between July and October, so this might be a good time to avoid for those who suffer from seasickness.

Read more about each month on the following pages:

Snorkelling with sea lions,  Galapagos Islands

Best times to go to Galapagos if you want to experience…

Hiking: Hiking can be enjoyed year-round in the Galapagos, but some people may prefer the cooler months of June through to November.

Snorkelling and Diving: Snorkelling and scuba diving is best between the months of December and June, when the seas are warmer and calmer, improving visibility underwater. The visibility is at its very best between January and April.

A quieter safari: Many ships are put into dry dock in September. This is a great time to visit the Galapagos if you want to avoid the crowds and experience the destination on your own terms.

Galapagos Family Trip - Will Bolsover - Penguin

Your Next Steps

View our Galapagos Islands safaris, or talk to one of our specialists for more details on travelling to the Galapagos Islands. Please note we recommend a budget of from £7,000 / $10,000 USD per person for our style of trip to this destination.