Here’s a destination that tops many a bucket list … the gorgeous Galapagos Islands! If you're looking to get away from the cities and typical tourist spots, have a think about heading to the incredible Galapagos Islands, where nature reigns supreme and there’s not a high-rise in sight!
It’s no secret that the Galapagos Islands are teeming with endemic wildlife, with species that you can’t find anywhere else in the world - marine iguanas, giant tortoises, Galapagos penguins to name just some. No wonder Charles Darwin had a field day here!
So when is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands? This is a very good question! What makes this question so hard to answer is that there is always something to see and something happening on the Galapagos Islands. It really depends on what is on the top of your list to see.
Because of the optimal environmental conditions in the Galapagos, there aren’t many species that need to migrate. The humpback whale is one of the few that come and go. Otherwise, you’ll be able to see most of the wildlife year round. So it depends what behaviours you want to see, and if you are intending on going diving or not.
The seasons are basically divided into two – cool and dry (June to November) and warm and wet (December to June). Generally speaking, the warmer season is the best time to visit as the seas are calmer which makes for better underwater visibility. And don’t let the wet put you off – the showers are only drizzles and short-lived. You’ll still have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the sunshine!
So here’s a quick snapshot of what you can expect to see in each of the seasons:
Cool and Dry (June – November)
The cooler season sees an increase of plankton which in turns sees the birds enjoying a little feast and it’s also a good time for any divers brave enough to witness the underwater performances. On the island of Isla Espanola especially, you’ll see the mating rituals of the blue-footed boobies, an intriguing looking bird that looks like it may have stepped out of the pages of Harry Potter. Short-eared owls are also mating around this time. Shortly after they’ll start nesting. Humpback whales start making an appearance usually in June and you may be lucky enough to see whale sharks (in the north). In July, the sea lions are getting their romance on and breeding season begins, with babies born in August. Around this same time in August, you’ll see the giant tortoises returning to the highland after laying their eggs.
In September, you might see the first of the sea lion pups and in October, the blue footed booby chicks start making an appearance. Fur sea lions begin mating around October.
Warm and wet (December – June)
December sees the starting of the hatching of the giant tortoises. This is closely followed by the green sea turtles laying their eggs at the beginning of the year. This is also the mating season for many land birds, sea lions, turtles and tortoises so it’s a pretty happening place at this time of year! In February, the marine iguanas start nesting on Santa Cruz (generally March for North Seymour and Fernandina) and penguins start moving to Isabella and Fernandina. April sees the waved albatross starting to nest as well as sea turtles and land iguanas. Blue footed boobies begin their mating season in May.
Cruises in the Galapagos operate all year around. In fact, some companies have ships permanently located in this part of the world. If you’re planning a cruise to this area, be sure to look into which cruise companies have on-board lecturers and experts. There is simply so much going on, with so much wildlife, that their knowledge and expertise will absolutely make your trip. They’ll explain what that elaborate dance the blue-footed booby is doing or why the frigate birds are inflating the red sac on their neck. You’ll learn so much more by joining a cruise with these guys on board.
To find out more about cruising to the Galapagos Islands, you can chat with one of our cruise experts – either by calling us on 1300 485 846 or contacting us here.
Image: Unsplash - Simon Berger