Last updated on January 10th, 2017
The best time to visit Galapagos is anytime outside mid-December to mid-January. Plenty of wildlife is seen year-round. There is no shortage of action when scuba diving and snorkelling in The Galapagos.
The worst time to visit Galapagos is holiday season around Christmas and New Year’s. To be around tourists squeezing in a bit of holiday magic, away from the stressed work life, isn’t an easy thing to do. I’m generalizing here, but you get the point. There are also the higher prices of tours and accommodations in case you want to visit The Galapagos on a budget.
I asked my friend Jacob, who was born on The Galapagos, when is the best time to visit Galapagos? “December to March, it’s good weather,” he replied. Jacob usually surfs at Tongo Reef on San Cristobal, so he appreciates the warmer waters during this period.
My friend Carlos, who lives on The Galapagos, said February is the best month because of the warmer water.
My other friend Ivan, born in The Galapagos and also a divemaster, simply said, “now” is the best time.
Everyone has their opinion to when is the best time to visit Galapagos. The locals have a different perspective compared to a visitor.
To help you make an informative decision, below is some helpful information.
Best Time to Visit Galapagos Weather-Wise
December to May – Rainy and Warm
The water temperature averages 25°C. The water is calmer and better for new divers and snorkelers. The air temperature averages 22-30°C low to high. The vegetation and land is more colorful due to more rain, but not monsoon-like.
June to November – Cool and Dry
Some scuba divers and snorkelers complain about the colder water between June and November. The water temperature averages 20°C due because of the Humboldt Current. You’ll find more people snorkelling in wetsuits.
On several occasions, I’ve seen people complaining about the water or not going in at all. It is important to accustom yourself to cold water if you’re not use to it. And when you dive, you can easily encounter currents at 16 °C. Even I found this temperature tough.
The air temperature hovers around 19-26 °C. There is less rainfall and humidity. The scenery of vegetation is not as vivid.
Galapagos High and Low Seasons
High-season in The Galapagos is June to September and during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. I was on The Galapagos between June and August, mostly on San Cristobal, and it wasn’t bad, price or tourist-crowd wise.
Best Time to See Wildlife
You can see the main attractions of wildlife year-round in The Galapagos: sea lions, blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, and marine iguanas.
But one bird that visitors want to see is the waved albatross which only breed on Espanola Island in The Galapagos (there are a few on Isla de la Plata off the Ecuadorian cost). They’re on Espanola from mid-April to January. You’ll be able to see the albatross chicks during the latter months.
Then there is Darwin and Wolf, it might be the best dive spot in the world. Darwin and Wolf Islands have the largest biomass of sharks in the world. Hammerheads anyone? Several experienced divers plan liveaboards between June and November which is whale shark season.
In my humble opinion, The Galapagos Islands is the best place on the planet. Though it’s technically a part of Ecuador, it’s another planet separate from Earth. You can’t royally screw up when you visit The Galapagos.