Isolated in their unique setting in the middle of the tumultuous Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Islands sit almost in the middle of nowhere, 600 miles from Ecuador, the country they are a province of. Although spread-eagled across the equatorial line, as Charles Darwin observed on his visit to the islands that inspired his theory of evolution in the late nineteenth century, the climate is surprisingly “far from being excessively hot”.
Despite being in a tropical region of the world, the Galapagos Islands don’t have the same tropical heat as you would expect. In fact, they don’t have a tropical climate at all, which means you can visit the Galapagos Islands all year round, enjoying both the weather and the islands’ unrivaled wildlife spotting opportunities.
The temperature stays fairly mild in the Galapagos Islands all year round. The average temperature during the daytime is usually around 24ºC, while the average water temperature is usually cooler than is needed to sustain coral that usually surrounds tropical islands. No matter what season you visit, you will still see an abundance of wildlife and plant life on the islands and beneath the waterline.
Like its surrounding tropical regions, the Galapagos Islands have two seasons. The wet season and the dry season, known as the garúa. With the islands located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the seasons are very much dictated by their surrounding currents, causing warmer and cooler spells for the islands. However, the differences in the seasons are most noticeable by the amount of rain, with lots more rainfall frequenting the Galapagos islands in the rainy season, rather than any significant change in the temperature.
The wet season usually takes place from December to May, and is largely affected by the hot Panama currents, and the Northeast trade winds. Surprisingly, during this season you will see a lot of sun, and average temperatures of around 26ºC. Despite it being the wet season, the rain leaves as quickly as it arrives, with brief moments of heavy rain gracing the arid islands and disappearing again. Unlike the Amazon Rainforest, much of the rain that falls on the Galapagos Islands is absorbed by its volcanic soils, and so the effect of the rain can often bring a much warmer climate. For example, the ocean is often warmer during this season, making it a great time of year for swimming and snorkeling.
Lasting from June to November the dry, garúa, season, sees the Humboldt current and Cromwell undercurrent bring cooler air to the islands. The air and the ocean are both cooler than during the wet season. Even though it is called the dry season, like a tropical climate, light rain can fall across the islands during this time, particularly in the higher parts of the islands, where surprisingly the islands see more rain than during the wet season. You will find the general weather conditions will be cloudy, cooler, and the sun will be less intense, with average temperatures of around 22ºC. With the water temperature much cooler during the dry season, this season can be a perfect time of year for a cruise. During this season you will discover plenty of sea mammals and land birds on and off the islands.
El Niño is an unusual ocean warming event that can have an adverse effect on the climate and wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. El Niño primarily affects land on and around the equator and can cause heavy flooding and excessive rainfall on the Galapagos Islands. While it often benefits the plant life and land animals, it can have a negative effect on marine life, seeing fish and algae die out in during this time.
Whether you travel during the Dry or Wet season, exploring this unique ecosystem will always be an unforgettable vacation in Galapagos.
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