Located 1,000 km from the Ecuadorian mainland, the archipelago consists of 13 major islands,5 of which are inhabited.
The Island's interesting volcanic geology, as well as its rich flora and fauna have been admired and studied by numerous travelers, scientists, and nature-lovers. Scientists are still faced with a mystery how such a large diversity of species could develop in a remote location like the Galapagos Islands.
The Galapagos Islands are blessed with pleasant weather all year round, so there is no “best” time to visit the precious islands. However, you may consider factors such as high season vs. low season and the climate. Whether the trip is for yourself, your group, or your family, check out when to go to the Galapagos Islands.
The Galapagos Islands won't leave you untouched. Travel with us and have the journey of your lifetime amidst playful sea lions, elegant albatrosses, fiery red Sally Light-foot Crabs, and sneaky Friate birds.
All tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands must pay an entry tax to visit the archipelago. The amount of this entrance fee depends on the age and nationality of the tourist. Most foreign tourists over the age of 12 pay $100, while children pay $50. Visitors from the Andean Community and Mercosur nations over the age of 12 pay $50, and children pay $25. Ecuadorian nationals over the age of 12 pay $6, and children pay $3.
For some, this entry tax may seem a bit high, but it is important to keep in mind that these fees are helping to protect the wonderful islands. On its website, the Galapagos National Park announces that, “Funds from the entry tax for tourists are used to finance the conservation of biodiversity of flora and fauna, terrestrial and marine, and benefits the local community by improving basic services, education projects, sports, health, environmental sanitation, environmental services and services directly related to tourists.”
If you want to see the reptiles and mammals that the Galapagos Islands are famous for, you may want to consult this calendar to help you plan your trip.
Just like the birds, the mammals and reptiles in Galapagos follow certain cycles of breeding, feeding, mating and other life functions. These behaviors vary during different times of the year and also from island to island. For example, if you want to see the bright red-and-green "Christmas Iguanas" of Española, you should go in December or January.
Here's a handy chart, organized by month.
•Española Marine Iguanas are brightly colored
•Green Sea Turtles are laying eggs
•Isabela land iguanas begin breeding season
•Giant tortoise eggs still hatching
•Santa Cruz Marine Iguanas begin nesting
•Fernandina and North Seymour Marine Iguanas nesting
•Giant Tortoise hatching season ends
•Sea turtle eggs begin to hatch
•Isabela Land Iguana Eggs hatch
•Green sea turtles hatching on Punta Cormorant, Puerto Egas and Gardner Bay
•Santa Cruz Marine Iguanas hatching
•Santa Cruz Giant Tortoises migrate down from the highlands to the lowlands to begin mating season
•Humpback Whales migrate through Galapagos
•Good time to see Whale Sharks off of Darwin and Wolf, until November or so
•Lava Lizards begin mating behavior which includes "push-ups" this will continue into November
•Whales and Dolphins common, especially in the waters between Isabela and Fernandina
•Giant Tortoises on Santa Cruz migrate back to the highlands
•Galapagos sea lions begin to give birth, pups common
•Sea lions very active as breeding season kicks off: males often fight on land and in the water to defend their harems
•Galapagos Fur Sea Lion mating season begins
•Giant Tortoises laying eggs
•Good time to see sea lion pups at nurseries
•Giant tortoise eggs begin to hatch, this will last until April
•Green Sea Turtles often mating in shallow waters