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When is the best time to go on an adventure cruise in the Galapagos Islands

One of the most commonly asked questions about the Galapagos Islands is "When is the best time to go on an adventure cruise in the Galapagos Islands?"

Read on to find out the best time to go on an expedition cruise in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

There is never a bad time to go on an adventure cruise in the Galapagos Islands It all depends on what animals you would like to see and what you would like to do.

Here is a quick summary of the seasons - more information follows below for those of you who would like to get into the fine details:

December through May - rainy season - great for land animals, swimming & snorkelling

  • water and air are warmer

  • daily drizlle for a short period of time

  • also the sunniest time of year

  • great for swimming and snorkeling

  • not as many fish

  • breeding season for land birds (watch unusual mating rituals)

  • sea turtles nest on the beach

  • March through May land tortoises come down from the highlands in search of a mate

  • sea lions mate (males fight it out for the females)

  • March and April see newborn sea lion pups

  • February, March, and April flowers bloom and the islands are awash in colours

  • sea is calmer, so there is little chance of getting seasick.

June through November - dry season - fish & birds abound, great diving

  • cold water (bring a wet suit)

  • cold weather

  • water rich in nutrients and plankton, which attracts fish and birds

  • often cloudy but rarely rainy

  • windy - seas can be rougher (especially July & August)

  • best time for diving

  • Albatrosses on Espanola from April to December

  • Penguins are more common

  • Blue-footed boobies mate (beautiful mating ritual)

During the school holidays - from mid-June through early September and from mid-December through mid-January - you need to book far ahead of time. And while the number of visitors to each island is strictly controlled, during school holidays you are less likely to get a sense of solitude and isolation.

My recommendation is to spend as much time as you can on your adventure cruise in the Galapagos Islands. Operators often add one night on either end in Quito and two days are used up for travel back and forth to the islands. So what may look like a 10-day adventure cruise in the Galapagos means you only spend six days on the ship.

At a minimum you should try to include Fernandina, Isabela and Española in your itinerary. They offer a lot of the different species you can see on your adventure cruise in the Galapagos Islands. If you are looking for specific animal species, check out my blog post on where to find what animals in Galapagos.

Rábida (Jervis) and Santiago (James) offer the best snorkeling in the islands.

Broken down by month, this is what you can expect to see on your adventure cruise in the Galapagos Islands


• Land birds start nesting, generally after the first rain.

• On Española adult male marine iguanas become brightly colored.

• green sea turtles arrive to lay their eggs.

• Land iguanas begin their reproductive cycles on Isabela.

• Hatching of giant tortoises eggs