The Galapagos Islands are spectacular in so many ways, but even more so underwater. The seascapes of reefs, ledges, walls and extinct volcanic craters are teeming with wildlife – from sea lions and marine iguanas to turtles and schools of hammerhead sharks. This guide tells you all you need to know to discover one of the world's best diving destinations.
Galapagos Islands Travel Advice
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
The Galapagos Islands comprise one of the world's most extraordinary travel destinations, and the opportunity to observe the famous archipelago's native creatures is especially magical for children. This guide tells you all you need to know to embark on the family adventure of a lifetime.
When to visit Galapagos Islands
January is one of the best times to visit the Galápagos Islands, thanks to the pleasant temperatures and birdwatching opportunities. It is also a great month to experience hiking and underwater adventures, such as snorkeling and diving. Many of the marine species are active during this time, which means you will get to see endemic birds, iguanas, and sea turtles as they make their way upon the land to nest and lay their eggs. Read on to learn why January is an excellent month to visit the Galápagos.
February is a festive month in the Galápagos Islands, with Ecuador's Carnival celebration and ideal conditions for scuba diving and boating. You will enjoy colorful parades, delicious food, and true Ecuadorian spirit. The penguins will join you as they return to the islands during this time, while greater flamingos and marine iguanas begin their nesting season. Keep reading for tips and advice if you're planning on visiting in February.
Traveling to Galapágos Islands in March means excellent wildlife watching and clear water visibility. It is one of the warmest months, which makes it the perfect time to enjoy snorkeling and visit the western islands. Many bird species are in the midst of their nesting seasons, and you can spot waved albatross and male frigate birds as they dazzle prospective mates with raucous displays. The renowned Holy Week starts towards the end of the month, where you can enjoy parades, food, and a vibrant atmosphere. Read on to find out more about visiting the Galápagos in March.
April in the Galápagos brings snorkeling in clear blue waters, spotting baby giant tortoises, and Easter celebrations. As the month progresses, dramatic scenes play out between the hatchlings and their fierce predators: stick around the beaches to see how it unfolds. It is the ideal time for island-hopping between Isabela, Genovesa, and Española Islands to see a variety of wildlife. Between the land-based activities, you'll dive into the sea and experience the marine underworld. If you're planning on visiting in April, read on for weather tips and travel advice.
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.
June on the Galápagos Islands is the start of the winter season, meaning cooler weather, clear water, and an uptick in marine wildlife activity. You'll see endemic bird species (like the colorful greater flamingo and frigatebird), go swimming with sharks, and snorkel with particularly active marine life. If you like being active on your vacation, June is an excellent time to visit for whale watching, diving, kayaking, and mountain biking. Since it's high season, you'll want to book a few months ahead.
July is the middle of the high season in the Galápagos, with many international and Ecuadorian families traveling to the islands during this time. Visitors during this month will enjoy colder waters, abundant marine life, and incredible birdwatching. It is the perfect time to travel with family, enjoy hiking, dive with sharks and whales, and go snorkeling among crustaceans and mollusks. Lazy sea lions and their pups will welcome you around the islands, and you will see blue-footed boobies go about their days. Keep reading for travel advice for visiting the Galápagos in July.
August is high season in the Galápagos, and for good reason: marine life is abundant, the weather is great, and it's summer vacation for families in the Northern Hemisphere. This month is perfect for families, as well as adventure seekers. The whale-watching is superb during this month, and plenty of other marine species—such as dolphins and curious sea lions—are active as well. Galápagos hawks make their appearance, as do giant tortoises and lava lizards. Book in advance, especially for cruises, and pack warm clothing, as night can be chilly and windy. Keep reading to find out why August is one of the best months to visit the Galápagos.
September on the Galápagos is perfect for enjoying the low season's tranquillity, lower prices, and particularly active wildlife. The Galápagos fur seals arrive during this month, sharing space with the cute sea lions and their pups. Visit Isabela Island to see them mating, being lazy on the pavements, and taking up space on the beaches. It is also the season of the penguins, and the last chance to see the humpback whales. Snorkel with penguins around Bartolóme Island and hike to Pinnacle Rock to enjoy beautiful sea views. Read on to find out why September is an excellent month to visit the Galápagos.
October brings impressive scenery of the Galápagos Islands, and it is the prime time to catch beautiful sunrises and dramatic sunsets. The transition from colder to warmer waters creates the opportunity to see some of the best wildlife of the year. You can still spot dolphins and whales, swim with sea turtles and penguins, and watch for cute sea lions and sea fur pups. It is a quiet month with lower prices, mild weather, and fewer crowds. October is perfect for couples as well as nature lovers and animal explorers. Keep reading to find out why October is a fantastic month to visit.
November's cool weather and off-season quiet make it an excellent month to enjoy unique water activities and sightseeing. Swim with playful seal and sea lion pups as they enter the waters for the first time and enjoy snorkeling through volcanic tunnels at Los Tuneles. Visit Fernandina Island and share underwater space with penguins and marine iguanas, walk through swathes of pahoehoe lava flows in Sullivan Bay, and look for several different breeding bird species. Read on for more travel tips and advice for visiting the Galapagos in December.
December on the Galápagos means two things: Christmas and sea turtles. It's during December that baby Galapágos giant tortoises see light for the first time and Galápagos green sea turtles accompany you on your snorkeling adventures. With a perfect blend of warming weather, cultural activities, and abundant wildlife, December is one of the best months to visit the Galápagos—which also makes it one of the busiest. Visitors during this month will experience the landscapes coming to life after the rains, and if you stick around for Christmas or New Year's Eve, you'll experience a holiday that's entirely unique.