We all work long days, spend countless hours writing emails and scanning our phones, not to mention the many hours of time wasted in traffic. Everyone from young couples, young families, and empty-nesters deserve a break.
The Galapagos Islands is common on the universal must-see list of travelers for obvious reasons. Not only do you experience a rich community, learn the history about the islands, watch wildlife that is unlike anywhere else on Earth, but you also create an adventure of a lifetime. Now that you know where you want to go, all you have to decide is when the best time is for YOU to visit the Galapagos Islands.
We emphasized YOU because there isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer – depending on what you’re looking to see and experience, the time to visit the Galapagos is based on your travel requirements. Let’s break down the wonders you’ll experience to help you and your spouse or family determine when you should schedule your trip.
Birdwatchers, photographers, historians, wildlife observers, and adventure travelers make their way to this famous and protected spot in the world during all months of the year – there is no shortage of action happening here. Whether your goal is to seek fantastic adventure opportunities, witness the stunning wildlife, or experience a truly vibrant culture, the Galapagos Islands has it all!
The First Half of the Year (January – April)
The Galapagos is an island group, otherwise known as an archipelago, which is made up of 20 islands and 42 islets! Some of the most popular wildlife in the Galapagos are Boobies which are essentially seabirds that have webbed feet. Some of them even have striking bright blue feet! Birds are a main source of tourism because of the numerous rare species found only in The Galapagos.
Not only are penguins nesting (the only penguins in the Northern Hemisphere mind you), but you can’t miss the stunning bright pink and gorgeous make-up of the flamingos, which are also nesting around February. The beginning of the year has a perfect combination of sunshine and a mild drizzle of rain. Given the variety of species on the islands, you can expect rain through May.
This time of the year is a popular time to visit the islands because sea turtles start the cycle of life by laying their eggs. The circle of life continues with pintail ducks, land-birds, and Galapagos doves nesting. After all the eggs have hatched, you can start seeing Waved Albatrosses begin their return to Espanola for their mating season as well as Penguins, who are commonly seen on Isabela Island and occasionally on Fernandina.
Along with warmer weather, you can expect to see tortoises (that can indeed live past 100 years old) and other land-based animals. Starting March into April you will see a blanket of beautiful spring flowers in full bloom thanks to the light but somewhat steady rainfall in the afternoon.
The Second Half of the Year (April – December)
The blue-footed boobies are in full mating season allowing lucky tourists to witness their dance of love and affection. Have you ever witnessed or heard of a courtship dance between waved albatrosses? Well you have now, and trust me, it is a sight to see in April.
If you can believe it, owls – yes OWLS are a part of your adventure in the Galapagos. To be exact, short-eared owls on Geneva begin their nesting season this time of year.
In June, July and December, there are three major events you don’t want to miss out on:
June – One of the few migratory animals of the Galapagos Islands makes a splash in June – The Humpback Whale!
July – Impeccable time to witness migratory birds, mating season for blue-footed boobies and those adorable short-tailed owls aforementioned. In order to be an environmental steward, it’s important to note that although you can view this magnificent mating time, it has to be from a safe distance. December - The famous Galapagos Island tortoises that can live to be over 100 years old are giant as they end the year hatching their eggs.
How to Discover Adventure, Culture, Cuisine, Wildlife and History With Neotropic Expeditions
By now, you can see why there isn’t such a thing as the ‘best time to visit The Galapagos Islands.’ Although we’ve only scratched the surface of what to see and experience throughout the year, I bet you’re wondering how you can see all these things. Neotropic Expeditions is a pioneer in land-based tours, giving you the perfect alternative to a cruise, to view The Galapagos Islands up close and personal.
Discover your adventure with active and exhilarating ways to seek thrills in the Galapagos Islands. Adventure enthusiasts will love hiking, mountain biking and kayaking through the spectacular natural landscape while viewing the wildlife up-close. Delight in adrenaline-pumping sports alongside the colorful Galapagos culture in our game-changing travel experiences.
Take Inspirational photos of the rugged coastline and the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Experience a snorkeling session at postcard-worthy Darwin’s Bay, with sea turtles, sea lions, and marine iguanas. Snorkelers and divers must visit Kicker Rock, world renowned for these sports due to spotting sharks, rays, tropical fish and one of the world’s best natural aquariums.
Get your sport on – Kayak and witness marine life up close and personal while also being surrounded by rare bird species that are sure to impress. Travel via mountain bike through a variety of terrain while passing by the Mangrove colonies and white sandy beaches.
Visit the Galapagos Island’s inspiration for its namesake at the Giant Tortoise Breeding Station, a wonderful family activity!
Hike the Sierra Negra, one of the largest active calderas on the planet, over six miles at its widest point and go to the rim of this enormous crater. If you’re feeling energetic, continue on to the caldera of Volcan Chico.
Unwind and take in the breath-taking view of the sea lions at The Loberia Beach, and relax and soak in the sun in Playa Mann – the closest beach to Puerto Baquerizo – where you can enjoy the stunning scenery.
Foodies can experience exquisite cuisine while watching the sun set and meet the amazing locals.
Isabela’s rise to fame (literally) happened only about one million years ago, young in geological terms, having been formed and shaped by six volcanoes merging into one landmass. This seahorse shaped island is also famed for being one of the most volcanically active places in the world – with 5 currently active volcanoes. Not only is it the largest of the archipelagos, it’s the only island that intersects with the equator. The island’s celebrity doesn’t stop there, it is the only place in the world where penguins reside north of the equator. It’s a must stop on any Galapagos trip.
Explore Tintoreras, a set of small islets filled with hidden coves and beaches.
Find the peculiar, endemic Galapagos penguin and other marine life.
Hike the caldera of Volcan Chico, an otherworldly landscape of vibrant hues created by sulfur deposits & the Sierra Negra – the second largest crater on the planet!
Snorkel at Tintoreras, where the northern hemisphere penguins call home and kayak to view boobies, birds, and white-tipped sharks.
Travel back in time to visit a former penal colony, where a “Wall of Tears” is built as a haunting reminder of the prisoners that created it.
Reconnoiter lava bridges and tunnels which many species have made their homes.
Located in the heart of the archipelago, this volcanic island is the most visited in the Galapagos, and for good reason. Here, you’ll find the Charles Darwin Station which has a breeding station for the endangered tortoises - that live in the wild. The island is known for the most beautiful sandy beaches, many of the best restaurants in the Islands, great souvenir outlets and a vibrant nightlife. Savor some of the finest international gourmet foods with nutrients from one of the best-preserved islands on Earth. The islands may be remote, but the Galapagos offers world-class, farm-to-table cuisine with a simplistic, yet creative flair. Its capital town of Puerto Ayora hosts approximately 18,000 residents which makes the nightlife vibrant and captivating.
Take a scenic drive up through different ecological floors and farm lands.
Extraordinary hiking trails where giant Galapagos Tortoises roam freely among native vegetation, their toes stuck in mud ponds or waiting for Darwin’s Finches to clean their ticks.
Live an adventure for all ages exploring inside Lava Tunnel underground.
Visit a local sugar mill and let the owners show you the farm production: coffee, cocoa, sugar cane, see a demonstration of traditional techniques for making chocolate, coffee and moonshine (traditional liquor).
Walk an easy 1.2 mile path to Tortuga Bay Beach along a forest of cactus. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Galapagos, the best place to relax and bask in the sun with marine iguanas. Once back in town take a leisurely walk to Charles Darwin Research Station (a mandatory visit) to learn about the Galapagos conservation goals and see giant tortoises and land iguanas as well.
Why Choose Neotropic Expedition?
Neotropic offers the most comprehensive selection of adventure travel options in the Galapagos Islands today. After 25 years of specializing in travel development, we deliver the very best nature-friendly active combinations that benefit local people and minimize carbon footprints.
We use top-of the line equipment, we don’t cut corners on safety, and we offer you peace of mind through our liability insurance coverage. Plus, we are the direct managers of the hotel where you stay. Most importantly, we simply love what we do and want to make your stay the experience of a lifetime.
To contact us to plan your journey of a lifetime, contact us for more information!