The Galapagos is visited all year round, but most people select the holiday / vacation periods (i.e., Christmas/New Year’s, Easter, summer holidays/vacations).
These periods sell out up to one year in advance (or more!).
The warmest period (air & water temperatures) generally run from November through to April. The coldest (and generally has more turbulent seas) are generally September and October. June through September is normally characterized by the presence of whales in Galapagos (mainly off the coasts of the western islands of Isabela & Fernandina).
Most of the wildlife is present all year round (although in different activities depending on the month in question). The Waved Albatross (usually present on Espanola only from March to December), and whales (usually only present between June and September) have very distinct calendars.
February through to April are the most desirable months. During this period, the islands not only adopt an emerald-green color, and turn humid and balmy warm, but many species start reproducing now.
- Calmest waters;
- The hottest period in Galapagos (water & air temperatures);
- The islands are generally a lush green due to high humidity & scattered showers;
- Most animals are in the height of reproduction, courting and/or nesting;
- Reproduction of land reptiles, as well as land birds.
For those sensitive to motion or sea-sickness, there are two factors to keep in mind:
(1) Time of year: try to avoid late August through to October – as the seas are generally more turbulent this time of the year;
(2) Try to avoid the sailing (or motor sailer) boats
(a) the narrower the boat the more prone it is to rocking in the open waters, while the wider (and heavier) the boat is the more stable it is.
(b) The most stable are the large cruise ships (i.e., Eclipse, Galapagos Explorer II, Isabela II, La Pinta etc) and the motor catamarans (i.e., Athala, Anahi, Archipel I & II etc), followed by the wider motor boats and then down to the narrow sailing boats.
Written and contributed by Robin Slater