When to go to the Galapagos Islands? The Galapagos Islands are a collection of volcanic islands off the coast of Ecuador. The islands are located on both sides of the equator and collectively expand an area of 17,375 square miles (45,000 sq km). This archipelago and the surrounding water represent a national park and a biological marine reserve. The islands also account for an Ecuadorian province with a population of approximately 25,000 people.
The Galapagos Islands were made famous by Charles Darwin who penned the theory of evolution as a result of the variety of endemic species he studied while visiting the area. These islands do provide visitors with one an intimate encounter with some of the most intriguing and unique wildlife.
The peak seasons, which always represent the best times to go, for the Galapagos Islands include the period from mid-June through early September. An additional window of peak time occurs from mid-December through mid-January. There is never a bad time to go to the Galapagos Islands because of crowds. The national Park restricts the number of visitors to the islands along with monitoring and coordinating the touring ships.
The Galapagos Islands are located on the equator which keeps temperatures fairly consistent, however there are shifts in the temperature for both the air and the water which is noticeable. The warmer season runs from December through May, with the cooler season occurring during the remainder months of June through November.
There are pros and cons for each season making the best time to go dependent on your primary objective. The warmer season is more comfortable for exploring were getting in the water. However, the warmer season also brings the rains. The rains tend to lighten during February, March, and April, and along with that comes flowers the blossom bringing beautiful colors to the islands.
The warm season provides the environment for the birds which are breeding at this time. Visitors can be witness to some unusual mating rituals. During the months of March, April, and May sea turtles can be spotted nesting along the beaches. Similarly you may find tortoises searching for partners. These birds, turtles and tortoises are not alone because this is also the breeding season for sea lions.
The mating of sea lions is engaging because the males can be aggressive as they fight for the females. Another bonus during the months of March and April is watching the newborn pups making their way across the sands and rocks of the islands.
Most of the wildlife experiences during the warm season take place above the ocean surface. The ocean wildlife is limited during this part of the season.
The months December through May are more enticing for divers because the water is warmer. The drawback is that during this season much of the ocean wildlife has migrated away. The best diving for experiencing wildlife and the abundance of fish occurs between the months of June through November. The Humboldt Current brings plankton and other nutrients to the waters around the islands at this time. The fish and sea life follow the food.
The best diving for wildlife occurs during the colder season but the drawback is colder water, rougher seas, and cloudy days. The best diving for comfort occurs between December and May, the divers experience less wildlife.
Travelers are always encouraged to explore the resources as they plan for their trip to the Galapagos Islands. You can visit the Ecuador Tourism Board for more information.