The Galápagos Islands is a year-round destination, a bucket list-worthy adventure for any wildlife and nature enthusiast.
Visiting the Galápagos Islands is a dream come true for many intrepid adventurers. Idyllically located approximately 1,000 km (600 mi) west of the mainland, the archipelago consists of 13 major islands, four of which are inhabited. Several of the smaller islets are not inhabited by humans at all, only by wildlife. There are over 100 small islets or rocks in addition to the bigger islands.
When is the best time to visit?
Every month of the year offers travellers an array of unique happenings. This means any time of year is a great time to visit the Galápagos Islands, depending on what you want to do, see and experience.
For those seeking to increase your chances of seeing a particular animal or bird during your stay, there are certain months that are better than others. View our ‘When to see the very best of Galápagos’ wildlife’ to avoid disappointment.
What is the weather like?
The Galápagos Islands have a subtropical climate. Since the islands are located on the equator, partly in the northern hemisphere and partly in the southern, the temperature remains fairly consistent throughout the year.
The reality is that despite these minor differences, because the archipelago is located so close to the equator, it is a year-round destination and there really is no ‘best’ time to visit. Water temperatures average 22°C / 71°F to 26°C / 80°F throughout.
Ultimately, there are two seasons in the Galápagos:
- Summer (December to May): The average daytime temperature 29°C / 85°F
December to May is considered the ‘wet season’ for the islands, but even though this is when they receive the most rainfall, boasting brilliant clear blue skies between showers, the rain moves out almost as quickly as it moves in. So you may experience quick bursts of heavy rain for a short amount of time, and then it’s over.
- Winter (June to September): Average daytime temperature 18°C / 65°F
The dry season runs from June to November which will bring in slightly cooler temperatures and more cloud cover, with a chance of a slight sprinkle here and there.
What to pack:
It is not necessary to carry much to the Galápagos, so aim to pack light and pack smart. Lightweight, fast-drying cotton is recommended. Over-and-above your normal comforts, you may want to also consider packing the following:
- Long-sleeved shirts
- A windbreaker or light sweater
- A hat that covers the ears
- Comfortable walking shoes
- A small backpack
What not to bring?
The introduction of non-native plant species is considered a top environmental threat to the Galápagos Islands, so do not bring any fruits, vegetables, or plants of any kind with you. Anything that might have seeds or spores clinging to it, such as the soles of your shoes and any outdoor gear or camping equipment, should be washed and inspected thoroughly before being brought to the islands.
The threat of invasive plant species is so great that visitors arriving to the Galápagos have to sign an affidavit swearing that they’re not bringing in any food, animals, seeds, or dirty camping gear.