Frequently Asked Galapagos Questions [FAQs]

Natural Habitat Adventures has been operating small-group Galapagos tours for over 20 years.  In that time, our knowledgeable Adventure Specialists have gotten every question under the sun when it comes to Galapagos travel.  The following is a collection of our most frequently asked questions about wildlife, weather, packing, and more.  Have a Galapagos question that’s not answered here?  Contact us, and our Galapagos experts will get you an answer!

What is the air temperature and water temperature like throughout the year?

Air temperature: Daytime temperatures often hover around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  The daytime high is usually 75-80°F June through November, and around 80-88°F December through May.  Evening lows can range from 66-75°F.

 

Water temperature: The water temperatures range from the low 70s throughout most of the islands, down to about 60°F on the west side of Isabela.  Generally, the ocean is warmest in the winter. In the summer, water temperatures are cooler.

 

Get month-by month highs and lows for both air and water temperature, and learn more about the Galapagos season on our When to Go page.

 

What is the average temperature?

The average temperature in the Galapagos Islands is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  The average daily high temperature is 80°F and the average daily low temperature is 70°F .

 

Which month is warmest?

On average, February, March, and April are the warmest months in the Galapagos Islands.

 

When is the rainy season in the Galapagos?

The warm, rainy season in the Galapagos spans the months of January through June, although the Galapagos have a generally dry climate and usually only rains in the highlands.  March and April receive the most rainfall in the highlands, averaging 1.5 to 2 inches per month at that time.

 

How rough are the seas on these ships in the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos seas are generally calm, but during bad weather, and when the boat is traveling against the current, it can get rough.  Seas can be a bit rougher July through December, especially in September and October, because of the Humboldt Current. Ships and catamarans with two hulls are generally better at handling choppiness than single hull boats since they’re stabler.

 

Some travelers prefer to take medication for preventative measures. If you are at all susceptible to motion sickness (or if you are unsure), we recommend bringing medication with you. It is better to err on the safe side and bring extra medication, as there is usually none available on board the boat.  If you are going on a Galapagos cruise and are particularly susceptible to motion sickness, consider requesting a cabin on lower decks, as it’s better to be lower to the water because your movement will be less.

 

How often do people get seasick on the ships?

Not often, but it really depends on the individual traveler.  See the answer to the question above for more info.

 

What time of year has the calmest seas in the Galapagos?

The waters in the Galapagos are relatively calm, but you’ll see the calmest waters during the months of December through May.

 

What time are the waved albatross in the Galapagos Islands?

The best time to see the waved albatross is April though mid-December. Egg laying occurs from mid-April to late June, and the colonies are active, with parents feeding their single young through December. When the fledged bird finally leaves the nest, it does not return for 4 or 5 years. From January to March, all the albatrosses remain at sea.  Check out our Galapagos Birds page to learn more about the albatross.

 

When will I see the most baby animals in the Galapagos?

You can see baby animals in the Galapagos year-round!  Below is a list of when you have the best chance of catching a glimpse of the iconic Galapagos species’ young, but keep in mind breeding seasons are different on the various islands.

 

  • Galapagos sea lion: Pups can best be seen July through November
  • Giant tortoise: You can see hatchlings from December through April.
  • Pacific sea turtles: Eggs will hatch February through August.
  • Marine iguanas: Hatchlings can be seen from May through August
  • Waved albatross: Your best bet for seeing waved albatross hatchlings is from May through December.
  • Red and blue-footed boobies: You’re likely to see these hatchlings year-round.
  • Flightless commorants, penguins, & flamingos: These birds breed year-round as well.
  • Frigate birds: Babies can be seen year-round on North Seymour Island.

 

Are there any animals that are seasonal which dictate when I should go?

Nearly every wildlife species one will encounter in the Galapagos Islands arrived by floating there on logs or a “raft” of plants, or they got blown in. Lucky for travelers, that means most of the iconic wildlife of the Galapagos remain there year-round. The only exception is the waved albatross, which is one of the few migratory birds in the Galapagos, best seen April through December.  Visit the Galapagos Animals section of this website to learn more about the patterns of various species.

 

Will you provide the snorkeling gear?

Yes, Natural Habitat Adventures does provide snorkel gear (fins, mask and snorkel) for use throughout our adventures; however, if you have your own mask and snorkel, we highly recommend bringing them with you to ensure better comfort and proper fit. See additional information in the What to Pack section of this website.

 

There is a large supply of fins; thus, you will not need to bring your own. However, if you have an unusually large or small shoe size, please notify our office prior to your departure so that we can arrange for gear that will fit properly.

 

If you are traveling with a company other than Natural Habitat Adventures, you should check with them directly, as not all tour companies will provide you with snorkel gear.

 

Do you provide wetsuits if the water is cold?

Yes, wetsuits are available at no additional charge on NHA’s Galapagos trips. The water temperature averages about 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and many travelers choose to wear a wetsuit when in the water at any time of year. See additional information in the What to Pack section of this website.

 

Again, if you are traveling with an operator other than NHA, you will want to check with them, as not all companies will provide wetsuits free of charge.

 

What is there to do in Ecuador if I were to arrive early?

Many Galapagos travelers opt to arrive a few days early or add a few days to the end of their trip to explore some of the cultural and natural splendors of mainland Ecuador and beyond.  All of NHA’s trips begin in Otavalo, where you can visit Andean villages, take in the sights and smells of the famous Otavalo Market, and hike the nearby Andean Highlands.  If spending time in Quito, we recommend taking a guided Quito City Tour to fully experience Ecuador’s historic capital, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978.

 

If you’re craving a relaxing setting, consider spending a couple days at a lodge in the serene, wildlife-rich rainforest of Ecuador’s Amazon Basin.  For those seeking even more adventure, consider a quick trip to Machu Picchu before or after your Galapagos trip.

 

See the Ecuador Activities section of this website for more information on these options.

 

 

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