When to Visit the
When is the best time of
year to visit the Galapagos Islands? There is no simple
answer. The perfect holiday time
for you depends on many factors including your interests, your
tolerance for heat/rain/heavy seas,
your budget, the time you have available and how late you have
left it to make your booking. Divers, birdwatchers,
and volunteers all have different requirements and ideas about when is
month to visit the islands and take a Galapagos cruise.
Galapagos high season
is usually considered to be June to August (i.e. "summer holidays" for
Europe and the USA), and December to mid January (Christmas vacations).
Low season in
the Galapagos Islands is springtime (May to June) and
September. The bits in between get categorised as either high
or low season depending how business is going when you are trying to
book. Galapagos flights get particularly busy in high season, so book well ahead.
and accommodation prices are of course higher in the high season.
Availability is stretched in the
high season - Christmas cruises often book up more than a year in
advance. Hotel availability is not usually a problem in the
low season, but cruises are often not available in September.
Sea conditions are at their worst in September and many
cruise operators take this month
to put their boats in dry dock for maintenance. So think
twice before heading off to the islands in search of a last-minute
bargain Galapagos cruise "because it's low season".
The Galapagos climate may
well influence your decision on when to visit the islands.
See the Galapagos
weather calendar for information about
air and sea temperatures, sea conditions and rainfall. The
warm wet season in the first half of the year (actually not all that
rainy) may be best for sunbathing, snorkelling and swimming.
Hikers or volunteers doing more strenuous activity may prefer
the cooler dry season from June or July to December.
For most visitors to the
islands, the wildlife is the main attraction. The
wildlife activity calendar will give you some idea of what
you might see in each month. If you are desperate to see some
particular animal or bird, talk with a specialist Galapagos travel
agency to find the best cruise itinerary, bearing in mind that some of
the rarer wildlife is found only on the more remote islands,
so you may need a longer cruise to reach them.
Birdwatchers in the
Galapagos Islands often recommend April to June as the best
for a birdwatching tour. The famous waved albatrosses
are absent from
the islands from December onwards, with the first few returning to
their home on
Española in late March. Mass
arrivals and fantastic courtship displays make April
perhaps the best month to see the waved albatross.
Diving in the Galapagos
is said to be best from June to November, with more marine
life to be seen then, though divers have to suffer rougher and cooler
sea conditions at this time of year. The huge whale sharks
are found near Wolf and Darwin islands only from around June to
November. However, there are more hammerhead sharks about in
the warm season than the cool. Note that diving conditions in
islands make them suitable for experienced divers only and that the
best diving, out off Wolf and Darwin islands, requires a long trip and
no chance to land on the islands.
Tourists with an interest
volcanic origins of the Galapagos Islands, the fascinating lava flows
geological features may prefer to visit in the cool dry season when
conditions are more pleasant for hiking.
Spanish Vocabulary for when to visit the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador:
Las Islas Galápagos: The Galapagos Islands
fauna silvestre: wildlife
temporara alta / temporada baja: high season / low season
best to visit the Galapagos Islands?
Notes on the best month for a Galapagos cruise or tour, high season and
low season in the Islands, the best time of year to visit the
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
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