Six hundred miles off the continent, Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands are a world by itself not to be missed, and our 40 years there can help you make the best trip choice. Large cruise ships and small yachts, or land-based itineraries in cozy eco-lodges for our famed “island hopping” can be the answer, all with the highest standards of safety and approved by the Galapagos National Park Service. Ranging from 4 to 10 days, our programs adapt to your interests, time availability and budget, hence, we never try to sell you on any particular boat or lodge, but rather suggest what is best for you.
More than 875 species and varieties of Galapagos plants have been described. Of these, 228 are endemic (found nowhere else on the planet) and approximately 397 are indigenous, while 250 are introduced species. The fish population in the Galapagos is represented by 289 species from 88 families, many of which are found only here. So much for a brief natural history class, though our guides will tell you more in a fun learning experience for all ages!
Climate in Galapagos
The climate in the archipelago is pleasant throughout the year, with two well-defined seasons: hot and rainy (January to June) and dry and temperate (July to December), both of which are determined by the presence of the warm El Niño Current and the cold Humboldt Current. The former generates a more tropical climate, greater rainfall, cloudier days and a warmer water temperature. The latter results in a dry climate with minimal rainfall or drizzle, sunnier days and colder water, ideal for either snorkeling or diving. However, many believe that the transition months, particularly April and May, are the best to visit the archipelago, as the climate and water temperature are generally more pleasant with better opportunities for bird watching. On the other hand, March is usually the hottest month, though never as high as summer in the higher latitudes.
Diving in Galapagos
The water temperature varies during the year: January to June from 70° F (21° C) to 80° F (27° C); July to December from 65° F (18° C) to 75° F (23° C).
Transition periods occur from April to June and November to January. These six months are particularly special due to the natural events that occur, including:
- Cetaceans migrate from the north to the south.
- Southern migratory birds go north.
- Frigates inflate their pouches for mating.
- Blue-footed boobies begin their courtship dances.
- Water gets warmer, perfect for snorkeling.
- Albatrosses return to Española Island.
- Marine iguanas begin nesting.
However, each month has something to offer, so it is worth visiting the archipelago at any time of year.
Additional information by month
- Beginning of the rainy season.
- Land birds start nesting, generally after the first rainfall.
- At Española Island, the marine iguanas change their skins into bright colors.
- Sea turtles arrive to the beaches of the Galapagos to lay their eggs.
- Land iguanas begin their reproductive cycles on Isabella Island.
- The warm ocean current arrives, increasing water temperature and staying until May.
- Good time for snorkeling.
- At Floreana Island, flamingos start nesting.
- Pintail ducks begin their breeding season.
- At Española Island, the nesting season for Nazca boobies nears its end.
- Marine iguanas nest on Santa Cruz Island.
- Water temperature rises to 25 ° C (77 ° F) and stays until April.
- Nesting season for the Galapagos dove reaches its peak.
- Normal precipitation, although not rainy every day, with high humidity and considered the hottest month of the year.
- Marine iguanas nest on Fernandina Island.
- Albatrosses reach Española Island.
- Massive arrival of albatrosses to Española Island and courtship begins.
- End of hatching season for the giant tortoises.
- Sea turtle eggs begin to hatch.
- Eggs of land iguanas hatch on Isabella Island.
- Good visibility for snorkeling.
- At North Seymour Island, blue-footed boobies begin their courtship.
- Sea turtles are still incubating at Gardner Bay (Española), Cormorant Point (Floreana) and Port Egas (Santiago).
- Palo Santo trees begin to shed their leaves.
- At Española Island, albatrosses begin laying eggs.
- Swallow gulls begin their first nesting period.
- Garúa (drizzle) season starts.
- Giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island migrate from the highlands to the coast in search of nesting sites.
- The Humboldt Current arrives and so increases the swell.
- Male frigate birds inflate their red pouch on North Seymour Island.
- On occasion, humpback whales that migrate towards the equator arrive in Galapagos, too.
- Seabirds are very active, wooing, particularly blue-footed boobies on Española Island.
- Flightless cormorants perform courtship rituals and nesting on Fernandina Island.
- Lava lizards start their mating season thru November.
- Good chances to see cetaceans (whales and dolphins), especially on the west coast of Isabella Island.
- Perfect month to see the four stages of nesting blue-footed boobies: eggs, chicks, juveniles and adults.
- Average water temperature is 21° C (68° F).
- At Española and Santiago, Galapagos hawks initiate courtship.
- Nazca boobies and swallow-tailed gulls nest on Genovesa Island.
- Average ocean temperatures drop to 18° C (64° F).
- Continental migratory birds begin to arrive and stay on the islands until March.
- Giant tortoises return to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.
- The surf is strong, especially in the south and west of the archipelago.
- Sea lion cubs can be seen.
- Air temperature reaches its lowest level (19° C / 66° F).
- Galapagos penguins are very active on Bartolome Island.
- Sea lions are very active, especially in the central and western islands, as the females are in heat.
- Lava herons nest.
- The Galapagos fur seals mate.
- There is fog on the coast and the seas get rough, especially in the eastern islands.
- Ongoing season for sea lion pups.
- Brown noddies have their young.
- Some species of jellyfish can be seen around the islands.
- Seas are calmer and the southeast trade winds are weaker.
- Water temperature increases slowly.
- Good visibility for snorkeling.
- Giant tortoises start egg incubation.
- Sea turtles begin mating.
- Juvenile albatrosses try to fly.
- The rainy season begins and the weather is most pleasant.