May on the Galápagos Islands is shoulder season, with lower prices and quieter beaches. The sea is cold and clear during the month, which means the snorkeling is at its best. Take the boat to Santa Cruz Island to spot young land iguana hatchlings and visit the port of Puerto Ayora, where Galápagos sea lions take their afternoon siestas on the benches. Read on for travel advice and suggestions for visiting the Galápagos in May.

Weather

In May, expect pleasant temperatures with little rainfall. It is generally a bit colder, and as the Galápagos Islands are approaching the dry season, it is the perfect time to travel if you are looking to escape the rain and heat of winter. There is also a lower degree of humidity than the rest of the year, with daily temperatures around 72-75°F. The waters become more refreshing as well, with sea temperatures around 72°F. 

Crowds & Costs

May is considered the "shoulder month" between the low and high season with fewer visitors than earlier in the year. The best time to avoid bigger crowds and higher costs are during the first two weeks of the month. Toward the end of the month, Galápagos Islands tends to attract more travelers, as schools start their summer breaks.

It tends to also get busier around May 24 when Ecuador celebrates the anniversary of the Battle of Pichincha, which is a public holiday. If the celebration falls during the weekend, you can expect the entire weekend to be more crowded. To find good deals on accommodation and flights, make sure to plan your trip at the beginning of the month and be flexible with your dates.  

Where to Go

In May, the wildlife continues to be abundantly active, and you will get to see a lot of species across the Galápagos Islands. One highlight is the unique courtship dance between the blue-footed boobies, which you can witness on North Seymor Island, home to a colony of blue-footed boobies 

On Santa Cruz Island, you can spot young land iguana hatchlings, and on Fernandina and Isabela Island, penguins are in the middle of their nesting season. Visit Punta Cormorant on Floreana, Puerto Egas on Santiago, and in Gardner Bay on Española, where the Galápagos green sea turtle continues to hatch.

You will come across mating sea lions and new sea lion pups greeting the world. In the port of Puerto Ayora, Galápagos sea lions take their afternoon siestas on a bench rather than the beach. Some of the best spots to see these charismatic creatures are San Cristobal, Isla Lobos, Gardner Bay, Punta Suarez, North Seymour, Punta Vicente Roca, and Punta Espinosa.

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What to Do 

May is a good month to visit the Galápagos Islands if you want to enjoy a variety of activities. As the waters cool down around the islands, marine life becomes abundant and more visible. Take the opportunity to board cruises with water-based activities such as snorkeling and diving to swim with sea lions, see unique fish species, and experience the colorful reefs. 

Since the temperatures drop slightly during May, you can enjoy full-day land-based activities and adventures without overheating. It is an ideal time to enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and follow Charles Darwin's footsteps on a guided tour. Make sure to visit the different islands to experience the active wildlife in May, such as North Seymor Island and Isabela Island, and take the boat to Roca Union to see amazing lava bridges and tunnels.

Events in May

Battle of Pichincha (May 24). A national holiday that commemorates the victory of the liberation forces during a determinant battle of 1822 that signified the independence from the Spanish Kingdom. Expect exciting parades, dancing, cultural events, and great food. 

Traveling to the Galápagos Islands in May? Check out these great itineraries.

Galápagos Islands Adventure Tour - 6 Days. This island-hopping tour enables you to see a diverse range of sites in the Galápagos. You will hike the Sierra Negra Volcano, visit Tintoreras on Isabela, and more.

Galápagos Islands Land-Based  Adventure Tour - 10 Days. You will explore the pirate and whaler caves on Floreana Island and enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving at Kicker Rock—famed for its marine life. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station with a thrilling downhill bike ride in the San Cristobal Highlands.

More Helpful Information

Galápagos Islands in June
Galápagos Islands in April 
Best Time of Year to Visit the Galápagos Islands 
Best of the Galápagos Islands