The Galapagos Islands are a great year-round destination for a Galapagos cruise and there really is no «off-season» as opposed to many other wildlife sanctuaries around the world. However, the high season for tourism tends to be from mid-December to January and from June to August, which coincides with the general holidays and vacation months around the world. Due to the regulation of national park visitors and cruise ship itineraries, the islands never feel overcrowded, even during the busiest months. If you are planning your Galapagos getaway during the popular «vacation» months, we recommend you book your trip at least 6 months prior to your desired travel date and when possible, even sooner.
December through May
During the archipelago’s wet season, the water and air temperatures are at their warmest. It will likely rain once a day, but this is also the sunniest time on the islands. These months are ideal for swimming and snorkeling, though fish aren’t as abundant during this season. This is also a great time for viewing land birds, sea turtles, and sea lions, as their breeding season takes place in these months. December is an excellent month to visit the Galapagos, but also the busiest time of the year.
June through November
The Humboldt Current brings cold water and weather to the Galápagos Islands. The trade-off is that the currents bring water that’s rich in plankton and nutrients, which attracts birds and fish. You’ll have more cloudy days during this season, but it rarely rains. Because it’s windier in these months, the sea can be rougher. With that said, divers generally agree that this season is the best for scuba in the archipelago. Another highpoint to visiting at this time of year is witnessing the courtship dance of the blue-footed boobies, known as «sky point.»
For anyone interested in visiting the islands, there is really no better or worse time to visit. In part this is because the Galapagos Islands are right on the equator so that air and water temperatures do not vary much. Read in detail about Galapagos weather and climate. In addition, almost all of the animal species you will see on the Islands arrived because they floated there on logs or beds of plants, or they were blown in. This means that species like the Galapagos penguin, flightless cormorant, marine iguana, land iguana, blue footed booby, Galapagos hawk, fur sea lion, California sea lion and others spend the entire year in the Galapagos and do not migrate. The waved albatross is one of the few migratory exceptions and is best seen in spring and summer.