The Best Galápagos Time: Transition Months

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Frigate Bird Galapagos IslandsFrigate Bird Galapagos IslandsIt is quite common for potential travellers who are planning Galapagos Islands Cruises and Tours, to ask what is the best time to visit the islands, and usually they will ask why that time is the best time.

The correct answer has two variations: first, let’s start by saying there is no bad time to visit the islands. In other words, any month is worth visiting the islands. The second answer may be more specific, and thus the best time to come to the islands are the transition months.

To understand this answer, and be able to explain the real reasons, we must go back to the climate pattern of the archipelago. Since the islands have two extreme seasons, which trigger the beginning or the end of reproduction for most species, there are months that combine these two phases and can evidence incredible wildlife contacts.

These are the transition months. Therefore, one transition occurs between the hot season and the dry season (April to June), and another one between the dry season and the hot season (November to January).

These are six months of the year where Galapagos turns very special due to the mixing of natural events happening at about the same time. For example:

  • Northern Cetaceans migrate southward
  • Southern migratory birds migrate northward
  • Frigate birds inflate their gular pouches for pair bonding
  • Sea lions establish their territories
  • Blue-footed boobies start their courtship rituals
  • Warm waters arrive to the islands (viva snorkeling!)
  • Waved albatrosses have returned to Española (Hood) Island
  • Marine iguanas start egg-laying season Months like April, May, June, November, December and January are months when all natural events may happen at once.

This does not mean the rest of the year is not worth visiting the islands. On the contrary, the rest of the year includes months that reflect the specific beauty of many unique species of the Galapagos Islands. The month of May, for example, is considered by many to be the most spectacular month of the whole year in Galapagos.

Come and see it yourself. Blue-footed boobies reproduce extensively during the months of April and May. Only then, guests will witness the amazing courtship display of this resident sea bird. During April & May the arid zone changes from green to brow due to the lack of rainfall. Only the highlands remain green. The results of the breeding season of the Darwin's Finches can be seen during April and May, since the greatest majority of nests had hatchlings in February and March. It is only during the months of April and May when the Waved Albatrosses are back after their long journey in the East Pacific. Watching their courtship will leave many guests in complete awe.

The clear waters of the Galápagos is a classical example of the transition months.