Somewhere in between the Pacific Ocean, laying over 600 miles off the beaches of South America, you can find one of the most wonderful and pristine places on the face of the Earth; The Galapagos Islands, a natural haven worth visiting at least once in a lifetime.Therefore, and considering this is a travel you will worship forever, is better to plan in advance and know what is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands.
Wildlife in the Galapagos Islands
This archipelago has been home to some endemic species for millions of year, many of which are a result of evolution, others came floating from the mainland, and a few, like the giant tortoises, still remain a mystery of how they arrived.
But, why the Galapagos Islands? To answer this question you need to consider the following:
- First of all, they are located on a privileged spot, right on the equator, what gives the islands a warm temperature appropriate for the blooming and evolution of the flora and fauna.
- The Galapagos Marine life is influenced by the crossing of sea currents, like the Humboldt current which affects the water temperature. As a result, the Galapagos marine reserve is one of the best in the world.
- And, last but not least, Isolation, these islands are located over 600 miles off the coast of the nearest continent, and also, away from the nearest predator. Thus endemic wildlife and migratory species don’t get scared by the closeness of mankind, and consider us as friends coming to visit.
Summing up, the Galapagos offer a wonderful weather in a great neighborhood, and far away from any danger, a once in a lifetime opportunity that some species have taken advantage of.Considering that the endemic species of the Galapagos do not have a way, or a need to leave the islands, visitors will be able to see them any time of the year.
Aside from endemic resident species, there are some migratory fish and, birds species that visit the islands every year.
Weather and it's influence over the Galapagos Wildlife
Temperature is Galapagos is quite stable, remaining on an average temperature of 80°F, on land and underwater. Consequently, most wildlife species do not need to migrate for the winter. This is the case for animals like boobies, sea tortoises, mockingbirds, sea lions, etc.
In the case of giant tortoises, well, obviously they won’t migrate from the islands, but they will move from the highlands to lower soils depending on the season of the year. Much similar to the penguins who are also likable to migrate between islands depending on the weather. Anyhow, penguins are most likely to be seen on the eastern Galapagos islands.
The Galapagos penguin is the only penguin species to live North of the equator. As a result of evolution, they have shortened their size to be able to keep cooler.
Season in the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos region sees a little annual fluctuation of sunlight. However, seasonal shifts occur along a rainy, low-pressure belt called the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ICZ). As a result, the amount of precipitation tends to vary more dramatically than the average temperature
The Galapagos Islands have two seasons. The wet and the dry season.
As the islands are located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the seasons are governed by the sea currents, causing warmer and cooler conditions on the islands. Nonetheless, the differences in the seasons are most noticeable in the amount of rain.
The Wet Season: December - June
During this season you can expect daily rains, that regardless of the possibility of being heavy, are generally short, making the rest of the day sunny and warm. The temperature in this season borders the 80°F, on land and underwater.
Although of the rains, this period of time is the warmest of the year. The water temperature and the calmed sea currents flowing through the islands, make it a great season for snorkeling. Even though, you will not see as much species as expected during the Dry Season.
Top Wildlife Highlights during the Wet Season
- Hordes of green sea turtles
- Marine iguanas start their nesting season.
- Albatross arrive in Española.
- Blue-footed boobies courtship
- Flightless cormorants start nesting.
The Dry Season July-November
Top Wildlife Highlights during the Dry Season
- Flightless cormorants nest on Fernandina Island
- Booby and frigate bird eggs begin hatching
- Flamingos begin mating rituals August.
- Sea lions very active, the breeding season begins. September
Galapagos penguin breeding season during the month of September.
So, when it comes to deciding what is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands, first of all, don’t forget that there is no wrong time, nor a season when the wildlife and scenarios are not something spectacular. Is just a matter of deciding what is your interest, and favorite activities, and with the help of the Galapagos & Ecuador experts, you can be sure that you will live a vacation experience you will never forget.
Thank you for an insight into Galapagos travel. My highest priority is wildlife, and I still can’t decide what’s the best time to spot most of it. Perhaps, September for the sea lions and penguins? Or if it’s the wet season, what’s the most rewarding month?
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