Spanish Island, Galapagos Islands
Known for unique wildlife, inspiring landscapes and vibrant colors, the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands reflects the regional diversity and natural wonders the archipelago is known for.
The area has become a symbol of biodiversity, with sweeping panoramas leading to the famous blue-footed boobies or barking sea lions and clear waters that allow you to spot green sea turtles. The natural beauty is enhanced by the tropical climate that helps shape the landscape of each island.
Depending on your travel goals, this guide can help you determine the best time to visit Ecuador, as well as the best time of year to visit the Galapagos Islands.
- Best time of travel season
- Best time to visit
- Best time for a cruise
- best time at the beach
- Best Time for Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
- best time to hike
- Best Time to Spot Turtles
- Best Time to Spot Giant Turtles
- Best time for families with kids
- best time for seniors
- Best Time for Couples or Honeymoon
- Best time for dry season activities
- Best time for rainy season activities
- Best time to book a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
Best time of travel season
Sea lion pups in the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos straddles the equator, giving the archipelago a relatively tropical climate with two seasons instead of the typical four. This also means that the islands are scattered, some in the northern hemisphere, others in the southern hemisphere, and even Isabella Island and Wolf Volcano make landfall on the equator line.
Each month, dry or wet, has its advantages and fascinating possibilities for you to experience, but this list will give you suggestions for some of the best months to visit based on your travel goals.
dry season:September • October • November
The climate in the Galapagos Islands is much cooler during the dry season, creating an excellent breeding environment for wildlife, especially between September and November. This is one of the best times for wildlife viewing, as newborn animals and an abundance of food feed throngs of wild animals. This is because strong seasonal currents bring schools of small fish and plankton to the surrounding waters.
The wet season is an excellent time to visit the Galapagos Islands, especially between February and May. The weather is generally warm, the waters are much calmer than in the dry season, and the mix of heat and humidity coincides with the mating season of turtles and sea lions. Beyond the animals, the weather brings color-filled life to the entire island as flowers bloom across the crystal-clear Pacific Ocean.
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Best time to visit
Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome Island, Galapagos
The Galapagos Islands are vibrant and unique all year round, but December to May is the best time of year to visit, with the perfect combination of weather, sea conditions and wildlife viewing. The wet season is an ideal time to experience calm waters that support active wildlife and engage in adventurous activities like hiking or kayaking.
This is also the best month to visit multiple islands on a cruise. Ecuador's weather may not directly affect the Galapagos tourist season, but it can add to your adventure should you choose to explore further into the Amazon or Andes. The climate varies greatly between regions, but December to May is generally warm and humid.
Best time for a cruise
Queen Isabella II Yacht Cruise in the Galapagos Islands
The best time to visit the Galapagos Islands is December to May. A Galapagos Islands cruise is one of the best ways to see the various islands and learn more about the wildlife and scenery. Cruises are an excitingWays to Travel Around the Galapagos IslandsAnd create the opportunity to visit the coast far from the typical arrival of the island of San Cristobal.
Once the dry season hits, the water flow starts to change dramatically. Sea conditions can be an issue on cruise ships, especially if you are prone to seasickness. Currents are strongest between June and September, making them great for viewing marine life, but not for cruises.
best time at the beach
Bacha Beach on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands
The beaches of the Galapagos Islands are not your stereotypical coastline. The islands have unique tropical sandy beaches that are perfect for wildlife viewing, especially between February and May. While these months are technically the region's wet season, the weather is warm and typically rains in the afternoons.
Best Time for Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands
Best month:June • July • August • September
The Galapagos Islands are a great destination for scuba diving year-round, but June to September are teeming with active wildlife. Four different ocean currents connect around the archipelago, bringing together tropical and temperate conditions and a variety of marine life. The currents are strongest between June and September for snorkeling and scuba diving, and animals like hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and more than 400 species of fish will be at the forefront of your offshore adventures. However you choose to spend your time in Ecuador and the Galapagos, you can find plentythings to do.
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best time to hike
Hiking in San Cristobal Island, Galapagos
December through May is usually the best time of year to hike in the Galapagos Islands. These months fall under the monsoon season, but in reality, showers are usually frequent but short, and most days are sunny.
Not only are the conditions tough, but it's also mating season for birds, sea lions and turtles, as well as time for the leaves to bloom, making the hike more lively and more memorable things you can see toPlaces you should visit in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands during your trip.
Best Time to Spot Turtles
Turtles in the Galapagos Islands
The rainy season from December to May brings you Galapagos turtles. Green turtles typically mate in shallow water by December, lay their eggs on the beach by January, and hatch from April to May. By visiting during these months, you're sure to see some green sea turtle activity, one of the most popular wildlife events in the Galapagos Islands.
Best Time to Spot Giant Turtles
Giant tortoise on Isabela Island, Galapagos
The famous giant tortoises are most active from December to January, again from April to June, and finally in August on the Galapagos Islands. The activity of the giant tortoises depends on the weather and the islands they live on, with a hatching period beginning in December and ending in April, migrating from the highlands to the lowlands and back in June and August respectively. .
Best time for families with kids
Family Hikes in Galapagos Islands
The wet season is the best time to visit the Galapagos with the whole family, especially with children ages 6 and up between December and May.
When you factor in certain factors, such as cruise travel versus land travel, during the rainy season and warm, clear days make up most of the weather, it's much easier to sail in calmer waters, often with short, scattered showers.
For a more memorable family adventure, visit during April or May to watch the blue-footed booby mating ritual, where the birds imitate each other and hop from one foot to the other.
best time for seniors
Galapagos Islands Advanced Scuba Diving
The cooler months of the dry season are an ideal time for seniors to visit the Galapagos Islands. Avoid the warmer times of the year and enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife from January to May and December.
Cooler weather makes it easier to wander through different landscapes and spot wildlife from birds to seals, rather than feeling confined to a boat or shoreline due to seasonal heat. Whether inGalapagos Islands Seniors Touror aIsland Cruises for Seniors, you can enjoy more in the pleasant weather conditions from December to May.
Best Time for Couples or Honeymoon
Blue-footed boobies perform courtship rituals in the Galapagos Islands
Ideal for couples, the Galapagos Islands embody romance in seclusion, with warm tropical weather from December to May. Rising temperatures also signal the arrival of mating birds, sea lions, sea turtles and tortoises, showing how love can fill the air in different ways, including in the courtship rituals of blue-footed boobies. Rare wildlife, the heavenly Pacific Ocean and the possibility of luxury make the Galapagos Islands a unique and alluring destination for couples.
Best time for dry season activities
Divers swim with whale sharks in Galapagos
Best month:June • July • August • September • November
Visiting the Galapagos Islands during the dry season, June to November, only underscores the sense of adventure and the raw power of nature. The hot weather makes diving into the Pacific Ocean the perfect way to escape the tropical heat and immerse yourself in the underwater world of the archipelago's hundreds of different fish species.
Activity:Snorkeling • Scuba Diving • Sea Kayaking • Wildlife Watching
Best time for rainy season activities
Iguana on Florena Island, Galapagos
Strong sunshine and scattered tropical rain make the Galapagos rainy season (December and May) a great time for in-depth adventure activities throughout the archipelago. From marine iguanas to albatrosses, cranky penguins to hatching turtles, the monsoons offer a variety of experiences on land and sea. With calm waters and a generally idyllic tropical climate.
Activity:Hiking • Mountain biking • Wildlife watching • Beaches
Best time to book a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
Sally lightfoot crab in the Galapagos Islands
Famous for their pristine environments and untouched wildlife, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are connected to the iridescent tropical Pacific Ocean. Knowing what to do and where to go can only support you in the best time to visit Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, and Zicasso'sEcuador and Galapagos Travel GuideLoads of useful tips and information for your perfect trip.
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The best time to visit Galapagos Islands is between December to February, although different times of year are preferred depending on the desired activities. These months are considered the warm, rainy season or garúa season.When should I visit Ecuador and Galapagos? ›
But that said, our experts generally agree that the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands is from December to May. Why? These months coincide with the warm season and ocean conditions are clear, warm excellent for snorkeling and diving.What is the best month to go to Ecuador? ›
Most people prefer dry and sunny days, which means one of the best times to travel to Ecuador is often considered to be the months of June through September. This is certainly the time when you can be more certain of enjoying superb panoramic views of Ecuador's grand mountains and volcanoes.How long do you need for Ecuador and Galapagos? ›
5 to 6 days is perfect if you have limited time but still want a memorable experience. 7 – 8 days is very comprehensive and will allow you to experience the diversity of the different islands and landscapes. 9 – 15 days if you really want to see all that the Galapagos has to offer. To learn more . . .How many days do you need to explore the Galapagos Islands? ›
How many days should I spend in the Galapagos if I want to see every island? Laughter tells that travelers need 14-15 days to see every single island in the archipelago. However, we recommend adding in some free time between snorkeling, hiking, and exploring lava tunnels for two weeks.What is the rainiest month in Galapagos? ›
- The cool, dry season (Late June to December)
Read more on the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands below. Late December to June is considered the warm and wet season, with March and April usually being the hottest and wettest months.
If you are interested in seeing and experiencing both the culture and history of Machu Picchu, and the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, and if you aren't likely to take another trip to South America, combining the two destinations into one trip makes a lot of sense as they are relatively close to one another on the ...How long is a flight to the Galapagos Islands from Ecuador? ›
Flights to the Galapagos Islands depart from Quito or Guayaquil on the mainland of Ecuador. The flight time from Quito is around 3 hours and around 1 hour from Guayaquil. Three airlines currently serve Galapagos - Avianca, TAME and LATAM.Where do you fly into for Galapagos Islands? ›
Flights to Galapagos Islands land at one of two airports. Seymour Airport is on Baltra Island, adjacent to Santa Cruz Island. San Cristobal Airport is in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island. All travelers flying to the Galapagos Islands will arrive at these airports.
Travel requirements for U.S. citizens planning a trip to the Galápagos are: Valid passport—legitimate for at least 6 months after your expected return to U.S. Return ticket. Proof of economic means of support (may be questioned by Immigration authorities)
Santa Cruz is the best island to stay in the Galapagos Islands, it's the most popular when it comes to tourism, it has great hotels such as Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, and you can take a boat trip to other islands from here.What 4 things do you need to enter the Galapagos Islands? ›
Visitors must have a current passport valid for more than three months, adequate funds to support themselves and a return ticket. Be sure to bring your C-card or proof of certification.Do you need to book Galapagos in advance? ›
You will want to plan your trip well in advance to maximize your options. If you have a month in which to travel, you can wait until a bit closer to your dates, to see if any deals come up. I would recommend 3 to 6 months in advance.Is Ecuador better than Costa Rica? ›
With western amenities, thriving expat communities, diverse regions, modern hospitals, and more, Costa Rica is the clear choice over Ecuador for many expats. Ecuador does require an “all in” approach to truly succeed in the country as an expat.What is the coldest month of the year in Ecuador? ›
|Quick Climate Info|
|Hottest Month||January (59 °F avg)|
|Coldest Month||June (58 °F avg)|
|Wettest Month||April (7.33" avg)|
|Windiest Month||September (7 mph avg)|
It is why it is scientifically impossible to have tornadoes or hurricanes in Ecuador. The convergence area prevents the formation of strong high- or low-pressure ridges in the atmosphere, as are common in high and low latitudes. These clear-cut zones make predicting the weather in North America and Europe a lot easier.What is the hottest month in the Galapagos? ›
January through April are the hottest months, with average temperatures getting above 78∘F (26∘C). The tropical Galapagos season reaches its peak in mid-March, after which time the cool water currents and southeast trade winds slowly return the islands to the cool, dry season.How do I get from Ecuador to Galapagos? ›
Most visitors will travel to Galápagos by air from mainland Ecuador. Flights depart daily from the principal cities of Guayaquil or Quito (direct or via Guayaquil). Three companies currently offer flights: TAME, LAN-Ecuador, and Avianca.What is the best time of year to snorkel in Galapagos? ›
The Best Time to Snorkel the Galapagos
The dry and cooler season runs from June to November while the wet and warmer season lasts from December through the end of May. If you're planning to snorkel in the Galapagos, the wet season is generally preferred.
Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands are a great combination, with simple logistics that make it easy to see both in a relatively short time. If you have more time to explore, consider adding other destinations to your trip.
A visit to the Galápagos is truly the trip of a lifetime, but it can be somewhat strenuous as well. The trails are about a mile to a mile and a half in length; many have uneven lava rock to traverse, others are hard packed dirt, and still others are merely a “walk on the beach”.Why are flights to Galapagos so expensive? ›
All of this is a consequence of being a remote location in the Pacific Ocean, just like Hawaii. Another factor that makes the Galapagos expensive has less to do with the remoteness and more to do with maintaining the pristine state of the Islands.Is snorkeling in Galapagos safe? ›
Fortunately, the Galapagos wildlife is not usually dangerous or aggressive. Reef sharks are small and stay away from people, while sealions are playful but harmless. However, of course animals can be unpredictable, so remember to keep a safe distance away, and avoid dominant male sealions or animals with their young.How much does it cost to get into the Galapagos Islands? ›
Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee
All tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands must pay an entry tax to visit the archipelago. The amount of this entrance fee depends on the age and nationality of the tourist. Most foreign tourists over the age of 12 pay $100, while children pay $50.
An average nonstop flight from the United States to Galapagos takes 20h 30m, covering a distance of 2730 miles. The most popular route is New York - San Cristobal with an average flight time of 14h 37m.Which airlines fly into the Galapagos? ›
What are my flight options? As mentioned, there are 3 airlines flying in/out Galapagos; Avianca, Tame and LAN Airlines. There are several flights departing each day to Baltra and San Cristobal; it is also possible to fly to one airport and return from the other in the Galapagos.How do you fly to the Galapagos Islands from the US? ›
There are no direct flights to Galapagos. Whether you're traveling from the United States, Europe or anywhere else, you should book an international flight to Guayaquil or Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Here's the reason: As Galapagos is a protected National Park, there are some regulations that airlines shall fulfill.What do you not do on the Galapagos Islands? ›
Do not leave the trail. Keep your distance – please keep at least two metres away from all animals and NEVER touch them no matter how tame they appear. Don't feed the animals. Buy responsibly – when purchasing souvenirs, do not buy anything made from the flora, fauna or rocks of the Islands.Do Americans need a visa for Ecuador? ›
Under Ecuadorian law, U.S. citizens traveling for business or tourism on a tourist passport can enter Ecuador for up to 90 days per calendar year without a visa. Extensions for up to another 90 days can be requested through the provincial migration offices.Why not to go to the Galapagos Islands? ›
Tourists and cruise ships are overwhelming the area, bringing with them invasive species that are not endemic to the Galápagos Islands. Over 50 non-native species have been found on the bottoms of countless tourist ships that are daily bringing in hoards of people from around the world.
What are the Galapagos Islands famous for? Giant tortoises on Isabela, marine iguanas on Fernandina, blue-footed boobies nesting on North Seymour, and 17 other land, marine, and avian species not found anywhere else in the world are the major reasons for the Galapagos Islands' fame.What language is spoken in Galapagos Islands? ›
The official language in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands is Spanish. Most locals especially those living in the highlands and Sierra are bilingual. Kichwa, also known as Quichua or Quechua, is the second most widely used language there. Other commonly used languages are Chibcha and various indigenous languages.Is it expensive to stay on the Galapagos Islands? ›
Ultimately, the average cost to visit the Galápagos Islands depends on your research, where you decide to stay and eat, and how many islands you plan to visit. For a budget traveler, I would have at least $500 per week to cover accommodation, food, and travel costs.Is Ecuador safe to travel to right now? ›
See 'Safety'. We advise: Exercise a high degree of caution in Ecuador overall due to high levels of crime. Higher levels apply in some areas.Is 5 days enough for Galapagos Islands? ›
Ideal Number of Days in the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands is truly an extraordinary experience, but some find that a four or five-day cruise is plenty for them, while others prefer to see absolutely everything and take an eight-day cruise, or even a cruise that lasts 14 or 15 days.
Bug spray. While bugs aren't a major issue in the islands, you may find yourself in some spots where there are insects—and they won't leave you alone! It's a good idea to have some organic bug repellent on hand, but remember to watch where you spray it so it doesn't impact the surrounding environment.How much money should I bring to Ecuador? ›
How much money should I bring? Depending on the length of your trip, plan to bring $300-600 per person for spending money, tips, taxi rides, additional visits and those meals not included in the itinerary. Cash is the easiest to carry as Ecuador uses the US dollar for local currency.What is the best way to see the Galapagos Islands? ›
Your best bet for getting to the Galapagos is to fly into Baltra Island before taking a bus and ferry ride to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, the most popular tourist hub. Another option is to fly into the capital of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island, but most cruises start in Santa Cruz.How long are boat rides between Galapagos Islands? ›
It takes 3 or more days by sea to reach the Islands. The boat sailing to the Islands from mainland Ecuador usually lacks the comforts found on cruise ships and touring yachts, most likely it is a cargo boat.What is the best time of year to dive Galapagos? ›
In summary, the best time to dive in the Galapagos is between June and October because you can see the big wildlife, whale sharks, and big schools of hammerheads.
Best time to visit Quito: Quito is slap bang in the middle of the country, but the most popular time to visit is during the dry season from June - September. Temperatures are relatively stable all year round but the high altitude means it can get chilly at night, so pack warm clothing.What is the rainy season in Ecuador? ›
The inter-Andean valleys have a temperate climate and rainy season from October to May and a dry season from June to September; average monthly temperatures are about 14.5° C in the rainy season and 15° C in the dry season.How far in advance do you need to book Galapagos? ›
Generally you should think about booking your trip between 3 to 9 months in advance. Also see: When is the best time to go to the Galapagos? How flexible are your travel dates? If you only have a week long window in which to visit the Galapagos, you will have really limited options.Is it safe to swim in Galapagos Islands? ›
You can swim in the same water as sea iguanas, hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, eagle rays, and more when you dive into the Galapagos Islands. The marine biodiversity in the Galapagos Islands is among the highest in the world. We advise you to abide by all the standard safe diving precautions.Can you swim in the Galapagos Islands? ›
Swimming in the Galapagos is an unforgettable experience, however, you need to be aware that certain marine life such as jellyfish, sharks, sea urchins and coral could be present during the swims.How many days are enough in Ecuador? ›
In two weeks, you can really see the best of Ecuador's diversity. The most popular two-week itinerary is to spend five days in the highlands, three days in the jungle, and six days in the Galápagos in a spectacular tour of the real Ecuador, showcasing the country's immense diversity.What month is the hottest in Ecuador? ›
August is the hottest month in Quito with an average temperature of 13.5°C (56°F) and the coldest is February at 12.5°C (55°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 8 in August. The wettest month is February with an average of 100mm of rain..Do you need a visa to travel to Ecuador? ›
Under Ecuadorian law, U.S. citizens traveling for business or tourism on a tourist passport can enter Ecuador for up to 90 days per calendar year without a visa. Extensions for up to another 90 days can be requested through the provincial migration offices.What months are sunny in Ecuador? ›
The warmest months are usually from December to June (high season). It is generally warmer and sunnier during these months with higher ocean temperatures, up to 24°C. From sunshine to rain, from dry to humid, no matter the climate, Ecuador is a mesmerizing country to visit. Don't wait any longer and experience Ecuador!How long is the flight from Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands? ›
Flights to the Galapagos Islands depart from Quito or Guayaquil on the mainland of Ecuador. The flight time from Quito is around 3 hours and around 1 hour from Guayaquil. Three airlines currently serve Galapagos - Avianca, TAME and LATAM.