Galapagos: Monthly Wildlife Guide



Planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands? Use this at-a-glance guide to check what the main wildlife highlights are each month.

January

As the rainy season starts, marine iguanas become brightly coloured and land birds begin nesting. Green turtles start egg laying and warming sea temperatures are ideal for snorkelling.

February

Galapagos dove courtship is in full swing; amingos and pintail ducks are also breeding, along with marine iguanas on Santa Cruz. Sea temperatures reach 25 degrees C.

March

Expect frequent downpours this month. Marine iguanas are nesting on Fernandina, but the big event in late March is the mass arrival of waved albatross to Espanola.

April

Waved albatross waste no time in practising their courtship dances. Frigatebirds are also engaged in frenzied mating rituals. Green turtle and Isabela land iguana eggs hatch. As the rains come to an end, the islands are at their greenest.

May

As North Seymour’s blue-footed boobies begin their courtship, waved albatross are laying eggs on Espanola and turtle hatchlings are emerging. Marine iguana eggs are also hatching on Santa Cruz.

June

The first of the season’s mists appear as giant tortoises descend from the Santa Cruz highlands in search of nesting sites. Seas can become choppy. This is a good month for spotting migratory birds and humpback whales.

July

Sea temperatures will drop to around 21 degrees C this month. Everywhere you go, seabird colonies are a riot of courtship, egg-brooding and chick-feeding. It’s another good month for whale watching.

August

Sea temperatures fall to around 18 degrees C. Sea lions begin to pup, and it’s a good time to look for courting Galapagos hawks and nesting Nazca boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. Migrant shore birds arrive, while giant tortoises head back to the highlands.

September

It’s a good month to brave the waters around Bartolome where Galapagos penguins are usually active. Most seabirds are also still busy nesting and rearing chicks. Male beachmaster sea lions start ghting over females.

October

The misty (Garua) period is coming to an end. Galapagos fur seals start mating, lava herons begin nesting and blue-footed boobies have chicks on Española and Isabela.

November

Seas are calmer and water temperatures start rising. Snorkellers can enjoy encounters with sea lion pups. Storm petrels are busy nesting on Genovesa and dodging the island’s short-eared owls.

December

Giant tortoise eggs hatch between now and April; green turtles are mating in o shore waters, while the rst waved albatross chicks edge.

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