What is the Water Temperature in the Galapagos Islands?

Snorkeling in the Galapagos

Snorkeling in the Galapagos during the Garua season is best done with a wetsuit (unless you are a sea turtle, and then just a shell will suffice).

Galapagos Snorkeling
The water temperature in the Galapagos changes throughout of year but the fluctuation isn’t too dramatic.  No matter what, you can snorkel at any time of year, as long as you do a bit of planning.  We can help you figure out when to go and how to prepare for your Galapagos trip.

Although the Galapagos Islands straddle the equator, the water temperatures can sometimes be surprisingly cool and, at other times, surprisingly warm.


  • Surface Water Temperature: 71°F – 74 °F

The waters of the Galapagos are influenced by the Humboldt Current that brings cold water to the islands, especially during the mist or Garua season (cool, dry weather) from June to December. 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. The currents also account for the amazing diversity of wildlife in the islands, even the adorable Galapagos penguins swim and nest there. In La Nina conditions, the water temperature can be approximately 5°F cooler.


  • Surface Water Temperature: 73°F – 78°F

This is the warm season which is occasionally rainy, but mostly just warm to hot. The southeast trade winds become weaker and the water from the Panama Basin remains warm. During this season there is more of a tropical climate with some occasional rains.


So now the question is: do you want to wear a wetsuit while snorkeling?  For the most part, you’ll want to wear a shorty wetsuit from May through mid-November and these can be rented in person for a small cost during your tour.  Mid-November through April you probably won’t need a wetsuit, but some people may want them during the shoulder months there.  The good thing is that you don’t need to decide if you’ll want a wetsuit until you get there.  Heck, some days you may want a wetsuit and other days you may want to forgo one, but that’s OK.

The Galapagos Islands are an amazing destination for any wildlife lover or fan of nature. The islands are one of the top tourist destinations in Latin America, and they are on many people’s bucket lists for good reason. The traditional way to to visit the islands is on a Galapagos cruise, although the new Galapagos multisport adventures are becoming quite popular for those who want a bit more activity than offered by the slow-paced nature walks of a naturalist cruise.

Detour makes it easy to get the trip you want. Check out our Galapagos trips here: Galapagos Trips

One of the very best active trips possible in the Galapagos Islands, this land-based multisport adventure combines nice accommodations with great guides and equipment and a well-planned itinerary designed to maximize recreation while seeing as much wildlife as possible. This trip is ideal for private groups or families, too. Trip Length: 7 Days Destination: San Cristobal, Isabela, & Santa Cruz Islands, Galapagos Lodging: Your choice of 3- or 4-star hotels Activities: Hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing

The Nemo I is a small 14-passenger sailing catamaran that is perfect for adventurous people who want to spend their time in the Galapagos outside on the net between the hulls or on the various common areas. Cabins are quite small, in the pontoons, making a trip on this boat an intimate nature adventure. Trip Lengths: 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, or 15 Days Destination: Galapagos Islands Lodging: 14-Passenger, tourist superior sailing catamaran Activities: Wildlife viewing, naturalist walks, snorkeling