A visit to the Galapagos over the holidays during the warm season is an experience to be remembered for years to come. December or January marks the beginning of the warm season throughout the archipelago. Sunny skies and calm waters are interrupted occasionally by afternoon showers that liven up the landscape and bring warm currents and wildlife to the turquoise waters. The warm season continues until April and begins to transition to the cool season.
May and June normally are months of transition from the warm season to the cool season. Remember, the Galapagos Islands cross the equator. Weather that may be cool to locals can be very refreshing to those who are experiencing the summer heat at home. During the cool season, it is normally sunny during midday. We may experience some occasional cloud cover in the late afternoon and evening. In November, the Galapagos Islands normally begin to transition into the warm season.
When is the best time to visit the Galapagos?
The Galapagos is a place that can be visited at any time of year. There are two seasons, the warmest time of year is between December to May when the sky is always clear and the sun shines strongly. If you love to dive, the waters are warmest between December to May. If you don’t mind cooler water June to November is a great time to observe much of the famous Galapagos marine life.
Galapagos Cool Season
From June to December the southern trade winds bring the colder Humboldt Current north to the Galapagos. This means that the water is cooler, and a layer of high atmosphere mist pervades the island skies.
In effect, the highlands of the larger islands are kept green and lush while the sea level islands and shorelines have little precipitation. Thus, June to December is generally called the “dry season” which is known for its blue skies and light mist.
During this season the tourists may observe a large number of species around the islands and in the sea such as giant tortoises, humpback whales, blue-footed boobies, cormorants, oystercatchers, lava lizards, Galapagos hawks, masked boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions, lava herons, brown noddies, and penguins.
Galapagos Warm Season
The time period between December and May is considered the “warm season.” During this warmer season, the Galapagos’ climate is more tropical with occasional tropical showers. Also, the ocean temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkeling.
During this season the tourists may observe a large number of species around the islands such as marine iguanas, sea turtles, land iguanas, flamingos, white-cheeked pintails, masked boobies, marine iguanas, albatross, and blue-footed boobies. Since the waters warmer, snorkeling is highly recommended during these months.
The Humboldt Current’s influence brings cold waters especially during the misty, rainy season (cool weather) from July to December. “El Niño” current may bring warm waters to the Galapagos and will make the surface warmer and rainfall increase (January to June).
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)