Are you planning a Machu Picchu and Galapagos Tour? Then we have a month by month guide to the Galapagos to help you pick the perfect travel dates. For travel in mainland Ecuador, we highly recommend Ecuador Hop as a safe and comfortable option.
Land birds start nesting, generally after the first rain
On Hood (Española) Island adult marine iguanas become brightly colored (green & red + black)
The green sea turtles arrive to beaches in GPS for egg laying period
Land iguanas begin reproductive cycles on Isabela Island
Both, water and air temperatures rise and stay warm until June
Ideal time for snorkeling
On Floreana Island greater flamingos start nesting
Bahama pintail ducks (Black-tailed pintail) start their breeding season
Nazca (masked) boobies on Hood are at the end of their nesting season
Marine iguanas nest on Santa Cruz Island
The highest water temperature reaches 25C (77F). This temperature remains constant until April
Very few penguins are sighted at Bartolome Island (most have followed the cool waters back to the west or near upwelling areas)
Nesting season of the Galapagos dove reaches its peak
Sporadic tropical rains, intense sun and hot climate. Air temperature can reach up to 30C (86F). Humidity is high.
Marine iguanas nest on Fernandina
March 21st, the beginning of the summer equinox signals the arriva of the waved albatross to Española.
Even the western islands have warm waters where snorkeling is excellent. Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela) can be an amazing site. Penguins still active in the water, next to tropical fish! (How bizarre!)
Some shores, especially those facing the north side, can receive deep surge (ola de fondo) coming from the northern currents. Wet landings at places like Puerto Egas, Gardner Bay, Bartolome can sometimes be a challenge.
Snorkelers can remain long periods of time in the water.
Massive arrival of waved albatrosses to Española. Amazing courtship starts.
End of hatching season of the giant tortoises
Eggs of green sea turtles begin to hatch
Eggs of land iguanas hatch on Isabela
While the rains have ended, the islands continue to be quite green
Good visibility in the water for snorkelers
North Seymour’s blue-footed boobies begin their courtship
Sea turtles are still hatching on Gardner Bay, Punta Cormorant, and Puerto Egas
Most of marine iguanas’ eggs hatch from nests on Santa Cruz
Palo santo trees begin to shed their foliage
Waved albatross on Española start laying their eggs
Ban-rumped storm petrels begin their first nesting period
Sea bird communities are very active (breeding), especially the Blue footed boobies on Española. Flightless cormorants perform beautiful courtship rituals and nesting activities on Fernandina.
If you walk along the shores of Puerto Egas (Santiago Island) you could find American oystercatchers nesting.
Lava lizards initiate mating rituals until November
Cetaceans (whales & dolphins) are more likely to be observed, specially off the western coast of Isabela
Great month to see the four stages of nesting in Blue footed boobies: eggs, chicks, juveniles and subadults.
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostels Chain for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bars is free even for non-guests
Galapagos hawks court on Española and Santiago
Nazca (masked) boobies and Swallow-tailed gulls nest on Genovesa Island
Migrant shore birds start to arrive, and stay on the islands until March
Giant tortoises return to the highlands of Santa Cruz
Oceans are quite choppy, currents at the strongest levels, surge can be expected along the shores that face west or south
Pupping season (births) of sea lions has started. Western and central islands are common places for such sightings.
The air temperature reaches its lowest levels (19C-66F)
Galapagos Penguins show remarkable activity on Bartolome. Since May swimmers and snorkelers can be delighted at Bartolome with penguins active at the surface or torpedo-like while underwater.
Sea lions are very active. Females have reached estrus stage, and so harem-gathering males are constantly barking and fighting. Shore fighting is heavy. Western and central islands are the most active ones in terms of sea lions’ activities.
Most species of sea birds remain quite active at their nesting sites.
Lava herons start nesting until March
The Galapagos Fur Sea lions begin their mating period
Blue footed boobies raise chicks all over Española and Punta Vicente Roca (Isabela) .
Giant tortoises are still laying eggs
Days are not always sunny. Garúa can be expected in most locations, except the western islands where most days have a misty start but after few hours of daylight it burns off.
Sunrises in the west can be quite beautiful after the garúa covers only certain locations of the western volcanoes. Summits are clear, but low-lying fog covers the shoreline.
Pupping of sea lions continue.
Sea lions are sexually active on the eastern part of the archipelago.
Breeding season for the brown noddies
Some species of jellyfish can be seen around the islands. The genus Physalia is commonly seen floating around Gardner and Tortuga Islets. Some can also be seen stranded at the shores of the Flour Beach at Floreana.
Band-rumped storm petrels begin their second nesting period
Seas are calm. South east trade winds have decreased strength. Water temperatures are slowly rising.
Generally great weather due to transition between one season and the next one
Good visibility for snorkelers
Sea lion pups (specially at Champion Islet) play aqua-aerobics next to snorkelers. Most pups here are curious enough to nibble at fins of snorkelers. The average age of most pups is 3-4 months.
Hatching of giant tortoise’s eggs begins and lasts until April
Green sea turtles display their mating behavior
The rainy season begins, all of the plants of the dry zone produce leaves. Galapagos becomes “green”