Nature’s Calendar in the Galapagos

Click here to download this page as a PDF.

January

  • Rainy season begins
  • Land birds start to nest
  • Adult marine iguanas' colours change to bright green, red and & black
  • The green sea turtles arrive to lay their eggs on the beaches
  • Land iguanas begin breeding on Isabela Island
  • Both water and air temperatures rise and stay warm until June
  • Good time for snorkelling

February

  • The Great Flamingos start nesting
  • Breeding season for Black-tailed pintail and the Galapagos Dove
  • Marine iguanas nest on Santa Cruz Island
  • Warm water temperature reach 25C (77F) and remains constant until April

March

  • Tropical rainy season, high humidity, hot sun; temperatures up to 30C (86F)
  • Marine iguanas nesting season
  • Summer equinox begins on 21 March with the arrival of the waved albatross
  • Good snorkelling – swim with Galapagos Penguins and tropical fish

April

  • End of hatching season of the giant tortoises
  • Eggs of green sea turtles begin to hatch
  • Eggs of land iguanas hatch on Isabela
  • The rains subside leaving lush, green landscapes
  • Good visibility for snorkelling
  • April and May are two of the best months to visit The Galapagos (weather, animals, water temperature)

May

  • North Seymour's blue-footed boobie birds begin their courtship
  • Sea turtles are hatching on Gardner Bay, Punta Cormorant and on Santiago
  • Marine iguanas' eggs hatch in nests on
    Santa Cruz
  • Ban-rumped storm petrels begin their first nesting period

June

  • Beginning of the Garúa (cool, dry) season
  • Giant tortoises migrate from the Santa Cruz highlands to the lowlands in the search of suitable nesting places
  • South east trade winds return. Sea surges and currents become stronger
  • Male Frigate birds on North Seymour display their red pouches
  • Southern migrants start their journey north; many stop for a rest in The Galapagos. Humpback whales can sometimes be spotted

July

  • Sea bird breeding season, especially the Blue footed boobies
  • Flightless cormorants perform beautiful courtship rituals
  • American Oystercatchers nest along the shores of
    Santiago Island
  • Lava lizards initiate mating rituals until November
  • Whale and dolphin spotting, especially west of Isabela
  • Witness the four stages of nesting of the Blue footed boobies: eggs, chicks, juveniles into young adults
  • Water temperature is on average 21C (68F)

August

  • The coolest month of the year
  • Galapagos hawks court on Española and Santiago
  • Nazca (masked) boobies and Swallow-tailed gulls
    nesting season
  • The ocean temperature can drop as low as 18C (64F)
  • Migrant shore birds start to arrive and stay until March
  • Giant tortoises return to the highlands of Santa Cruz
  • Oceans currents are at the strongest levels
  • Sea Lion pups are born on many of the western and
    central islands

September

  • Peak of the Garúa season; the weather is cool (19C-66F)
  • Galapagos Penguins are very active
  • On the west and central islands, sea lions begin their mating period; males fight each other for the females

October

  • Lava herons start nesting until March
  • The Galapagos Fur Sea lions begin their mating period
  • Blue footed boobies raise chicks all over Española
    and Isabela
  • Giant tortoises continue to lay their eggs
  • The western islands can be quite misty until the sun
    burns it off
  • Volcanic summits rise up above the low-lying fog
    along the shores
  • Beautiful sunrises and sunsets can be seen

November

  • Sea lions continue to give birth to their pups
  • Band-rumped storm petrels begin their second
    nesting period
  • Seas are calm; south east trade winds have subsided; water temperatures start to warm up
  • Usually good weather as the season changes
  • Good visibility for snorkelling
  • Young sea lion pups play in the nursery waters on
    Champion Islet

December

  • Hatching of giant tortoise's eggs begins and lasts until April
  • Green sea turtles start their mating season
  • The rainy season begins and plants florish with fresh
    green leaves
  • The first young waved albatrosses fledge
  • Mostly sunny days; little wind and waters continue
    to warm up
  • The Great Frigate birds show off their red pouches
  • Northern migrating birds, whales and dolphins start their journey south