Galapagos Wildlife Calendar Highlights

Lauren Curd

The beautiful unspoilt Galapagos Islands, 620 miles west of Ecuador's mainland in the Pacific Ocean, is a tropical archipelago home to incredible wildlife. Charles Darwin based many a theory on the endemic wildlife he encountered during his time here, including marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants and the famous giant tortoises. The Galapagos Islands can be visited at any time although there are variations between the two main seasons. The warmest weather is found during the tropical season between December and May; when temperatures are higher but daily rain is to be expected. If you love to dive in amazing places, the best time to visit Galapagos is from June to November. During this season the weather is a little colder but you can enjoy the best from Galapagos’ famous marine reserve.

Two blue footed boobies sitting on a rock in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

As the Galapagos Islands is a year-round destination, you may like to choose when you visit according to the typical wildlife cycle...

January

On Española, the adult marine iguanas become brightly coloured.
As the tropical season begins, green sea turtles arrive to the beaches to lay their eggs.
Land iguanas start breeding on Isabela.

February

Greater flamingos flock to Floreana to begin nesting.
Bahama pintail ducks start their mating season.
Marine iguanas begin nesting on Santa Cruz.

March

Marine iguanas can be found nesting on Fernandina.
Penguins swimming alongside tropical fish can be seen by the western islands.

April

Lots of new life begins after the tropical rainy season, with hatching season starting for the green sea turtle and land iguana eggs.
Large numbers of albatrosses land on Espanol Island.

May

Albatrosses start to lay their huge eggs.
Sea turtles continue to breed around Gardner Bay, Punta Comorant and Puerto Egas.
Start of the prime whale shark season at Wolf and Darwin.

June

Giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island migrate from the highlands to the lowlands in search of suitable nesting places.
Migratory birds start their journey north to warmer climes.
Some groups of humpback whales and other cetaceans that migrate up to equatorial latitudes along the coast of Ecuador reach the Galapagos.

July

One of the best months to observe whales and dolphins, especially off the western coast of Isabela.
A good time to observe the four stages of blue-footed boobies nesting - eggs, chicks, juveniles and sub-adults.
Lava lizards start their mating rituals, including “push-ups”.
Whale and dolphin sightings are more frequent.

August

Galapagos sea lions begin to give birth so sightings of young are possible.
Migrant shore birds start arriving for their stay until March. 
Giant tortoises return to the highlands of Santa Cruz.

September

Galapagos penguins are at their most active on Bartolome.
Sea birds are very active at their nesting sites.

October

The Galapagos fur sea lions begin mating.
Blue-footed boobies raise their chicks on Española and Isabela.
Giant tortoises are still laying eggs.

November

The seas are calm and the south-east trade winds have decreased in strength.
Generally good weather due to a seasonal transition.
Excellent visibility for snorkelling.
Sea lions harem-gather on the eastern islands.

December

Green sea turtles begin their mating display.
Hatching of giant tortoise eggs begins and lasts until April.

 

**This blog post was previously published on Medway Leisure Travel, now trading as Pettitts Travel**