The Galápagos Islands are at their coldest in August, with temperatures around 70 °F. The waters have the lowest temperatures of the year, around 68-70°F. Water temperatures drop below 70, and if you prefer a milder climate, this is the perfect month for you to visit the islands. August brings stronger winds, and it is a good idea to avoid boat tours if you tend to get seasick. Besides that, it is an enjoyable month to travel to the Galápagos Islands, with lots of wildlife viewing and plenty of activities to go around for every type of traveler.
Crowds & Costs
August is busy with families as many schools still have their summer breaks, but it is not as crowded as July. The demand for flights and hotels continues to be high, which means it is more expensive to travel during the month. Cruises remain popular, and it is a good idea to book your spot further in advance, particularly if you are traveling with family. Consider booking any land-based tour as well, as these fill up too. It is more crowded on land, as well as out on the sea, with many activities and wildlife attracting a lot of people.
Some islands get busier than others, such as Isabela Island, Santa Cruz Island, and Española Island. Keep in mind that tours to famous places such as the Charles Darwin Research Station fill up quickly, as well as trips to Tortuga Bay and "The tunnels." It is a great month to travel, despite the crowded, due to the marine life being especially lovely in August, and there is a large variety of tours, sports activities, and family adventures.
Where to Go
As with every other month on the Galápagos Islands, August has its unique wildlife. On Santa Cruz Island, the giant tortoises arrive in large numbers as they search for food away from the dry climate in the low lands. Cold waters bring plenty of food, and there is an abundance of sea lions and their pups. The best places to witness sea lions are around the Plazas, Santa Fe, San Cristobal, Española, and Fernandina Island.
August is also the time to see a large number of dolphins and whales, especially in the western, northern, and southern parts of Isabela Island. You will most likely see Humpback whales, Sperm whales, Minke whales, and possibly even Sei whales. The Sei whale is the third-largest rorqual, after the blue- and fin whale. Some common dolphin species in the Galápagos Islands waters are Bottlenose and Common dolphins—known for their friendliness, speed, and intelligence.
Make sure to visit Las Tintoreras, just south of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. Here, you can snorkel with sea lions, turtles, rays, and colorful fish. You will also probably spot some boobies and penguins on your way there. Watch for the courtship among Galápagos hawks on Santiago and Espanola Island as well. Book a cruise that will take you to several islands over a few days to spot as much wildlife as possible, and remember to ask about snorkeling opportunities.
If you're visiting large breeding colonies of birds of sea lions, remember: the best way to protect wildlife is to leave them alone, although it may be appealing to pet the cute sea lion pups.
What to Do
Island hopping and island cruises are great activities during August. Dolphin- and whale watching is one of the highlights in August, and the Galápagos Islands are filled with snorkeling opportunities and swimming among incredible species, such as sea lions. It is also a great month for walking around the different islands and see the giant tortoises, as well as spotting the many Galápagos hawks that make their appearance.
Visit La Loberia on San Cristobal Island—a rocky 2,952-foot (900 m) path, home to hundreds of sea lions and marine iguanas (some huge ones). Take the opportunity to snorkel here and swim with sea turtles, or hike up to the bird cliff and come across lava lizards and seabirds. Once you arrive at the top, you will have a great view of swallow tail gulls, frigate birds, and blue-footed boobies. Continue to Floreana Island and visit Asilo de La Paz—a historical 1,476-foot (450 m) hill behind the Straw Hill—to see the pirate cave and a freshwater spring.
Events in August
Independence Day (August 10). Ecuador's National Day is celebrated all over the country, including the Galápagos Islands. It is known as "Día del Primer Grito de Independencia de Quito" in Spanish and marks Quito's independence from Spain in 1809.
Traveling to the Galápagos Islands in August? Check out these great itineraries.
Galápagos Cruise: Wildlife Watching, Snorkeling & Hiking - 11 Days. This 11-day cruise is a perfect excursion for those wanting to maximize their time on the Galápagos Islands. You'll experience around a dozen islands, although some of these are quite small, such as Chinese Hat and Bartolome. It also includes some lesser-known sights and activities, such as the unusual Rábida Island, which has a Mars-like rocky surface.
Land-Based Adventure Tour - 10 Days. Experience wildlife, culture, and a unique ecosystem of the archipelago as you see sights by bike, by foot, and in the water. This extraordinary adventure includes snorkeling with sea lions, tropical fish, and beautiful manta rays.