Worst Time to Visit the Galápagos By Tourism Experts

Nestled in the waters off the shores of Ecuador and Peru, lie the remarkable Galápagos Islands—a breathtaking destination that beckons adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike to embrace its awe-inspiring charm. These enchanting islands have long been renowned for their extraordinary wealth of endemic wildlife and picturesque vistas of verdant volcanic landscapes, captivating the hearts of explorers and visitors throughout the ages.

However, having knowledge of the worst time to visit the Galápagos Islands can be quite valuable when planning your trip to this alluring paradise.

For your convenience, we offer an insightful guide to help you discover the perfect time for your enchanting adventure in the Galápagos Islands.

The Worst Time to Visit the Galápagos

The transitional months of January to April are the worst time to visit the Galápagos Islands due to unpredictable weather, and excessive rainfall. Many tourist attractions are closed during this rainy season, limiting the opportunities for exploration. Additionally, prices of accommodations and tours tend to be higher during this period.

Galapagos Rain Chart
Galapagos Rain Chart

This leads to slippery and dangerous conditions on the roads and trails, posing a risk to visitors. Furthermore, the rainy season also brings shorter daylight hours, reducing the time available to experience the islands fully. If you choose to visit during this time, it is advisable to pack appropriate rain gear and prepare for inclement weather conditions.

Other Challenges: Why The Rainy Season is Bad in The Galápagos?

In addition to the previously mentioned challenges, there are certain activities that can hinder your stay at the Galápagos Islands during the rainy season.

Low Wildlife Activity

Due to low wildlife activity, the months of mid-January through April are not ideal for exploring the Galápagos Islands. Wildlife viewing is more difficult when it rains. The best time to see an animal in its natural habitat will depend on the species you’re interested in. For instance:

  • Galápagos Albatross: If you specifically want to see the waved albatrosses in their breeding habitat, the ideal time to visit the Galápagos Islands is from April to December. During this period, you have a higher chance of witnessing their impressive courtship behaviors, nest building, and rearing of their chicks. Keep in mind that the peak of the breeding season is from May to July. It’s important to note that albatrosses are not present in the Galapagos Islands during the months of January through March, as they spend that time at sea.
  • Marine Iguanas: The Galápagos Islands are home to the only seafaring lizards in the world. You can spot marine iguanas throughout the year, but the mating season takes place from December to March, offering unique behavior and coloration displays.
  • Sea Lions: These playful marine mammals can be seen year-round in the Galápagos. They are particularly abundant on islands like San Cristobal, Santa Fe, and Floreana.
Galápagos Albatross
Galápagos Albatross

Further, picking the right spot is crucial for the best possible animal sightings. Visit Santa Cruz between the months of January and March for the best chance of seeing sea turtles.

Likewise, you can travel to Fernandina and Isabela Islands all year round to go whale watching. But if you want to view whales at Kicker Rock particularly, you should go between April and December.

The months of June, July, and August, as well as the period from about the middle of December to about the middle of January, see the greatest influx of visitors for viewing wildlife. All of these things should be taken into account while organizing your trip.

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Extremely Risky Trails

If trekking is a big part of your ideal vacation, you should avoid the Galápagos between January and April, when the rainy season is in full swing. When it rains, things can get trickier:

Trails and paths can become dangerously slick after rain, particularly in locations with a lot of uneven terrain. Slipping and falling, which can result in injuries, are more likely on these rough surfaces.

Rain can also turn trails into muddy, slippery places where it’s hard to keep your footing or even see where you’re going. When the trail is muddy, it can be more difficult to see any obstructions or dangers that may be in your path.

Inca Trail

More rain falls throughout the rainy season, and flash floods are a real possibility. Water may rush down tiny channels or gullies on the Galápagos Islands because the volcanic topography does not absorb water as quickly as other topographies. Extremely dangerous situations can arise when hikers encounter unexpectedly high water levels.

Rain can limit vision, making it more difficult to see landmarks and increasing the risk of becoming disoriented. This makes successful navigation more difficult, particularly in unfamiliar terrain or dense foliage.

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Risk of Mosquitoes

The presence of flies and mosquitoes, primarily centered around the inhabited islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, and Isabela, must be taken into account when organizing your trip to the Galápagos Islands.

For concerns about pest activity and mosquitoes, December through April are typically regarded as the least desirable months to visit the islands.

Mosquitoes in Las Vegas

Fortunately, you won’t encounter many mosquitoes or other biting insects if you stay near the beach, especially during the hottest hours of the day. However, you might notice a little higher prevalence of these pests if you explore shady regions with foliage or visit tiny shops and eateries.

The National Institute for Public Health Research (INSPI) and the Agency for the Regulation and Control of Biosecurity and Quarantine for Galápagos (ABG) have put in place a proactive approach to safeguard the unique biodiversity of the Galápagos Islands and assure the safety of its tourists. On Santa Cruz Island’s Bellavista parish, 100,000 sterile male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been released.

The infertile males mate with wild females in this environmentally beneficial method, producing no viable progeny and finally eradicating the Aedes aegypti species. This method doesn’t involve any chemicals and is only effective against the A.aegypti species and has no effect on any other species.

We advise bringing mosquito spray if you still want to visit any of the inhabited islands; otherwise, you should be fine. Wear long clothes as frequently as you can if your skin is really sensitive.

Summers: A No-Go Time for The Galápagos Islands

Visiting the Galápagos Islands between May and August is also not advisable due to the scorching weather. There isn’t much wildlife or plant life during these months, only hot, dry weather. The equatorial islands have warm weather all year round with an average temperature of roughly 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The hottest months, however, can get into the 90s, making inside spaces uncomfortable and outside activities challenging. In the summer, avoid the Galápagos Islands for the following reasons:

  • Health Risks: Being sick or experiencing health issues is more likely when heat and humidity are present.
  • Unbearable Heat: If you’re not accustomed to hot weather, it may make you sweat a lot.
  • High humidity: Frequently, hot weather is accompanied by a rise in humidity, which exacerbates the discomfort that comes with the heat.
  • Volcanic Activity: The existence of active volcanoes makes traveling to the Galápagos Islands challenging. Even though they might not be erupting right now, volcanic activity is always a possibility.
Heat Stroke
Heat Stroke

There are 21 volcanoes on the archipelago, and more than fifty eruptions have been documented. The Galápagos Islands’ distinctive configuration is a result of the ongoing shaping and transformation of their landscape by these eruptions.

The most recent eruption of the Wolf Volcano took place in January 2022. The Wolf Volcano, which rises to a height of over 5,600 feet, is the tallest summit of these volcanoes. It was named after renowned German naturalist Theodor Wolf, who conducted in-depth research on the archipelago in the late 1800s and is located on Isabela Island’s northern tip.

Visitors are at risk when there are active volcanoes nearby since eruptions can produce ash, gas, and lava. Such occurrences may necessitate the evacuation of the affected area as well as the cancellation of flights and the temporary closure of airports.

Visitors would need to modify their travel arrangements accordingly. Access to tourist places can also be restricted by safety concerns, such as when trails, highways, and attractions are closed for everyone’s protection.

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When is Galápagos Pricey and Crowded?

During the peak season, which lasts from mid-June through early September and from mid-December to mid-January, Galápagos gets both pricey and congested. Numerous tourists are drawn to these months because they coincide with important activities like wildlife breeding, sea turtle nesting, blue-footed booby courtship, waved albatross breeding, and land bird breeding.

Galapagos Crowded
Galapagos Crowded

The cost of traveling to the Galápagos Islands drastically rises during this time, making it practically impossible to get last-minute discounts. One of the busiest months is July in particular, which leads to increased rates. As the month goes on, more families travel to the islands as it coincides with the beginning of the summer break for students in several countries.

Due to Christmas, New Year, and Holidays in the month of December, it is also one of the busiest and costliest months to spend here. However, most fun activities are also during this time!

It is advised to avoid these peak months if you prefer not to deal with crowds and long lines. However, if you still want to go during this period, you must make advance plans and reserve your flights, lodging, and other travel-related needs in order to guarantee your seat.

Month-by-Month Analysis: Best Time to Visit Galápagos

Visiting The Galápagos is on your bucket list but choosing the right month to go to is also important. Follow our month-by-month analysis to find out more.

Galapagos Island
Galapagos Island

January

  • Temperature: Average high of 86°F (30°C) and average low of 75°F (24°C).
  • Weather: Warm and humid with occasional rainfall.
  • Activities: Excellent time for snorkeling, swimming, and diving. You can spot sea turtles nesting on the beaches and observe colorful marine life.
  • Crowd Level: Moderate to high tourist activity.

February

  • Temperature: Average high of 86°F (30°C) and average low of 75°F (24°C).
  • Weather: Similar to January, warm and humid with occasional rain showers.
  • Activities: Ideal for snorkeling, diving, and beach exploration. You can encounter playful sea lion pups and observe the mating rituals of various bird species.
  • Crowd Level: Moderate to high tourist activity.

March

  • Temperature: Average high of 88°F (31°C) and average low of 75°F (24°C).
  • Weather: Gradual transition towards a drier season with intermittent showers. The days are sunny and hot.
  • Activities: Great for snorkeling, diving, and hiking. You can witness the courtship displays of blue-footed boobies and the arrival of waved albatrosses.
  • Crowd Level: Moderate tourist activity.

April

  • Temperature: Average high of 88°F (31°C) and average low of 75°F (24°C).
  • Weather: Dryer season begins, with occasional light showers. Days are warm and sunny.
  • Activities: Perfect for underwater activities like snorkeling and diving. It’s a good time for birdwatching, as various species are nesting.
  • Crowd Level: Moderate tourist activity.

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May

  • Temperature: Average high of 86°F (30°C) and average low of 75°F (24°C).
  • Weather: Dry season continues with mild temperatures and minimal rainfall.
  • Activities: Excellent for snorkeling, diving, and exploring the islands’ diverse wildlife. You may witness the hatching of giant tortoise eggs.
  • Crowd Level: Moderate tourist activity.

June

  • Temperature: Average high of 82°F (28°C) and average low of 73°F (23°C).
  • Weather: Cooler and drier month with occasional fog and mist.
  • Activities: Ideal for snorkeling, diving, and wildlife observation. You can see the famous Galápagos penguins and enjoy hiking trails.
  • Crowd Level: Moderate to high tourist activity.

July

  • Temperature: Average high of 79°F (26°C) and average low of 71°F (22°C).
  • Weather: Cool and dry season with occasional mist and fog.
  • Activities: Perfect for diving, snorkeling, and exploring the islands’ diverse ecosystems. You may spot whale sharks and observe marine iguanas nesting.
  • Crowd Level: High tourist activity.

August

  • Temperature: Average high of 77°F (25°C) and average low of 68°F (20°C).
  • Weather: Cool and dry month with cool sea temperatures.
  • Activities: Excellent for underwater activities, including diving and snorkeling. You can witness sea lion pups playing in the water and observe nesting birds.
  • Crowd Level: High tourist activity.

September

  • Temperature: Average high of 77°F (25°C) and average low of 68°F (20°C).
  • Weather: Transition month with occasional rainfall and cooler temperatures.
  • Activities: Good for snorkeling, diving, and wildlife observation. You can see sea turtles laying their eggs and observe various bird species.
  • Crowd Level: Moderate to high tourist activity.

October

  • Temperature: Average high of 77°F (25°C) and average low of 68°F (20°C).
  • Weather: Increasingly warmer and wetter month with occasional showers.
  • Activities: Great for snorkeling, diving, and hiking. You can observe sea lion colonies and spot blue-footed boobies.
  • Crowd Level: Moderate tourist activity.

November

  • Temperature: Average high of 79°F (26°C) and average low of 71°F (22°C).
  • Weather: Warmer and wetter month with occasional rain showers.
  • Activities: Good for underwater activities, including snorkeling and diving. You can see sea lion pups learning to swim and watch sea birds in their breeding plumage.
  • Crowd Level: Moderate tourist activity.

December

  • Temperature: Average high of 82°F (28°C) and average low of 73°F (23°C).
  • Weather: Warm and humid with occasional showers.
  • Activities: Perfect for snorkeling, diving, and beach visits. You may spot newborn sea lion pups and observe frigatebirds performing their mating displays.
  • Special Events: Christmas and New Year celebrations with festive activities in some areas.
  • Crowd Level: Moderate to high tourist activity.

Also, check out our other “When to Visit” articles!

Conclusion

Now that you are fully aware of the worst time to visit Galápagos, planning your trip in the best months is easy. Make sure that you plan in advance, carefully keep consideration of each month, and be mindful of what activities you plan on doing. This will help you choose an appropriate time for visiting this heaven on earth.

Worst Time to Visit The Galápagos - FAQs

What is considered the worst time to visit the Galápagos Islands?

The worst time to visit the Galápagos Islands is generally considered to be during the rainy season, which typically falls between January and April.

Can you provide any alternative destinations or times to visit that would be more favorable than the worst time to visit the Galápagos?

If you want to avoid the worst time, it is recommended to plan your visit during the dry season, between June and November. During this period, you can expect better weather, clearer waters, and increased wildlife activity.

What is the most expensive time to visit The Galápagos Islands?

The most expensive time to visit the Galápagos Islands is typically during the peak tourist season, which falls between June and August, as well as during the winter holidays in December.

Asjad Sheikh
Asjad Sheikh is a travel enthusiast who shares invaluable travel tips and insights to help you create unforgettable journeys of your own. Asjad is also an ethical hacker by profession, he explores the intersection of technology and travel, sharing captivating tales of exploration while offering valuable insights on cybersecurity during his journeys.

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