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What’s more? Most of the wildlife stays in the archipelago throughout the whole year. The most important thing to remember is that there are two distinct seasons – the Hot Season (January to June) and the Dry Season (July to December), each with their own set of noticeable differences and features. So, ultimately, the best time to visit the Galapagos may vary depending on your personal tastes, interests, and what you would like to see and do. This blog will help you learn more about when the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands is.
Hot Season (January to June)
A warmer and more humid climate
Excellent water temperature to go snorkeling
More wildlife activity on land
Presence of dense and lush flora
Intermittent but refreshing showers
Dry Season (June to December)
Humboldt Current brings in nutrient-rich waters
Cooler overall temperatures
More active marine life
Relatively pleasant climate for hiking due to greater cloud cover
Apart from the two main seasons (hot and dry), there are two transition months (or periods) in the Galapagos that mark the change from one season to the next. The transition months are December (transition from Hot to Dry) and June (transition from Dry to Hot). These transition months in the Galapagos are pretty unique, as they give visitors a proper sense of how dynamic and versatile the Galapagos environment is. During these particular months, you’ll get to notice how sea currents begin to change and, consequently, the vegetation throughout the archipelago starts to flourish or wither. It also affects just how active certain land or sea creatures are.
On land: According to many people, the best time to have close-up encounters with the land flora and fauna is during the hot season. Of course, you could possibly have more pleasant hiking conditions in the dry season, but you will probably see more wildlife activity on land during the hot season. This has a lot to do with the fact that vegetation is flourishing during the hot season in the Galapagos, which makes for a greater food supply for all of the wildlife. For example, during the hot season, marine and land iguanas are at their most colorful (in order to mate), and the Galapagos giant tortoise eggs begin to hatch at the breeding centers on both Santa Cruz and San Cristobal islands.
In the water: The best time to visit is during the dry season, as the cooler waters (which are rich in nutrients) signal a huge increase in marine activity. During this season, there is usually an increase in bird activity, too. Both the blue-footed boobies and the American flamingos give impressive courtship displays as part of their unique mating rituals. Even though the water can be quite cool during this time, wetsuits are available on each of our vessels to allow you to enjoy the underwater world of Galapagos as much as possible.
You will definitely enjoy the raw beauty of the islands at any time of the year. Let’s have a look to see what the best time of the year is to enjoy each Galapagos activity.
Many travelers to the Galapagos try to organize their trips on their own, from flights to accommodation to individual activities in an attempt to save money. However, they soon find they could have saved time and money by choosing a more comprehensive package. Many tourists find that deposits are non-refundable if they have a last-minute change in plans and that their many excursions don’t do their visit justice to the beauty and uniqueness of the islands. You can imagine this bucket list trip can turn into a stressful nightmare rather quickly in such cases.
There are many different types of accommodation on the islands, but many, like the famous Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, are booked rapidly (especially during peak months) so make sure you book well in advance. The peak months tend to be June, July, and December, but it’s still a good idea to book ahead of time so that you’re not left emptyhanded. The quieter months are May and October when hotels are less occupied and there are smaller overall crowds. If you decide to stay at Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, make sure you plan the activities you wish to do with the same agent so that you are guaranteed to do everything that you wish to do.
If you decide to book a cruise aboard the Isabela II, La Pinta, or the Santa Cruz II then you can tick all of the boxes of top-quality accommodation, professional naturalist guides, incredible meals, and a huge variety of activities both on the water and on land. On a cruise, you can be sure that you’ll see and do most, if not all, of the activities on your wishlist and the bonus of having a 24/7 onboard medical officer. Every single detail will be taken care aboard a cruise too, from food all the way to accommodation and activities.
All in all, the decision of when to visit the Galapagos Islands is up to you and what your timetable allows, as well as what you’d like to see and do. Whatever you do, you should always plan your trip well in advance to make sure you get everything you want. Make sure you work with a well-reviewed travel agency (such as Metrojourneys!) or research every activity and accommodation option to make sure you get the best value for money. Remember: This is your trip! You need to make it the most memorable trip you can.