There is never a bad time to visit the Galapagos! The weather varies little at the equator and most of the wildlife does not migrate. The “High Season” and “Low Season” in the Galapagos mostly corresponds with holidays. The Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter Holiday are the busiest times in the Galapagos, and it can be very challenging to find a great cruise available over these dates, unless you are booking a year or more in advance. Summer and spring break times are also very busy. The Low Season is usually any time outside of these periods: after New Year’s in January, February, and September through the first half of December. Sometimes it’s possible to get a discount for traveling during the Low Season, but it depends on the boat.
December to Early May
- Weather: The weather is warm, with the warmest months being February and March. Temperatures average between 77F – 88F (25C – 31C). It can rain every day, but the Galapagos is a really dry place, so the it never rains all day every day. You might get a bit of rain in the afternoon, either a sprinkle or a downpour.
- Water Temperature: This is the time of year when the water is the warmest: 73F – 78F (23C – 26C). This is a lovely time to snorkel and play in the water. Some people don’t need a wet suit during these months. We recommend that you always wear a wet suit, even in the warmer months, because you can stay in the water longer, more comfortably, and see more wildlife!
- Ocean Currents: These months are when the currents are the most calm, and you won’t feel a lot of motion while on a boat or snorkeling. When you’re in the Galapagos, you’re very protected by all of the islands, so it’s very rare that you’re in open ocean.
- Wildlife Activity: The wildlife in the Galapagos doesn’t migrate, so you’ll always be able to see most of the iconic wildlife of the islands! The only exception to this is the waved albatross. The albatross migrate away from their home base of Española Island from December through April.
Mid-May to November
- Weather: The weather is cooler and drier during these months. Temperatures average between 68F – 80F (20C – 27C). While the weather is drier, it is also the Garua Season, so you will have high misty clouds in the morning, usually burning off by noon.
- Water Temperature: The waters of the Galapagos are influenced by the Humboldt Current, which brings cold water to the islands during these months. The water temperature is 70F – 74F (21C – 23C). While the water can be cooler than expected for the location, these currents also bring nutrients and food that feed all of the numerous animals in the Galapagos, so the underwater wildlife is often more active during this time. In La Nina conditions, the water temperature can be approximately 5F (3C) cooler. We recommend that you always wear a wet suit, even in the warmer months, because you can stay in the water longer, more comfortably, and see more wildlife!
- Ocean Currents: These months are when the currents are less calm, and you will feel a lot of motion while on a boat or snorkeling. The trade off is that the colder water brings more nutrients, and the marine wildlife is more active during these months. The waves are never very big in the Galapagos. You’re very protected by all of the islands, so it’s rare that you’re in open ocean. But if you’re very susceptible to sea sickness, we recommend that you avoid going in September. You can read more about avoiding sea sickness here: 7 Ways to Avoid Sea Sickness on Your Galapagos Cruise
- Wildlife Activity: The wildlife in the Galapagos doesn’t migrate, so you’ll always be able to see most of the iconic wildlife of the islands! This season is when you will be able to see the waved albatross on Española Island. Marine wildlife is more active during this time, as the water is colder and has more nutrients. It’s a good time for spotting whales and dolphins too, especially in the channel between Isabela and Fernandina Islands.