One of the most common questions we get asked: when is the best month to travel to Galapagos? Is our vacation to Galapagos in October a good idea, or should we go in September or November? Is it too hot / cold / rainy in October? Are the October seas warm enough for swimming? Our answer is always the same – October is a great month at Galapagos, and so too are all the other months! The Galapagos Islands are an all year round travel destination, with comfortable weather and great wildlife viewing every month of the year. So yes, October is as good a month as any to visit Galapagos.
Read on for a complete low-down on travel to Galapagos in OCTOBER – weather (air and water temperatures, rainfall), tourist activity and wildlife highlights.
October is in the COOL & DRY Galapagos season, so prepare for cloudy skies, cool and comfortable temperatures, and dry weather. Even if you are not under direct sun it is still very strong behind the clouds, so do remember to use sun protection or you will burn - we are right on the equator after all. The cool temperatures are perfect for activities like hiking and wildlife observation - you won't have to be constantly seeking shade like during the hot season. There's also very little risk of rain so no need for umbrellas or raincoats in your suitcase.
In COOL & DRY months like October, the cold Humboldt current washing up from the Antarctic is dominant. This means seas are cool in temperature and rich in nutrients, making perfect feeding conditions for marine species like Sealions, Sea Turtles, and species of seabird, who find food plentiful. It's also a good time of year for Galapagos whale watching, and diving with huge whale sharks up at Darwin and Wolf islands.
The highlands are bare and dry. Don’t worry though, the land Galapagos species are still easily spotted in October, even though there is less green food available for them. In fact it can be easier to spot birds like finches as there is less foliage in the trees to hide behind.
October sees LOW demand for Galapagos trips - cruises and land tours spaces are usually available, and there are fewer tourists than the busier summer months. Some yacht operators take advantage of this to send their ships to dry dock for maintenance. Those yachts that do operate may not be full, so tourists may be able to pick up a special October price deal.
October at Galapagos is very pleasant weather-wise. We are in the cool and dry season, so skies are often cloudier, but temperatures average a comfortable 26 degrees celcius. October is also the joint driest Galapagos month, with just 0.25 inches of rainfall in 31 days, and low humidity. Don't be fooled though - even on cloudy days the sun can burn visitors from behind the clouds, so be sure to use high factor sunscreen and a hat for protection. It's also a good idea to bring along a warm sweater in case the evenings are chilly, especially when spending time out on the open deck. Generally the Galapagos weather in October is comfortable for active treking and wildlife watching.
October Galapagos water temperatures average a cool 22.5 degrees celcius, so wetsuit rentals are recommended. October is a great month for underwater action though, as marine species are very active feeding (and often breeding), plus migratory species can often be spotted. So be sure to get into the water and check out the action, snorkeling or diving.
Is October in Galapagos a good month for wildlife? Remember, every month at the Galapagos Islands (including October) is amazing for wildlife spotting, and almost all land and marine species can in fact be found all year-round.
That said, each month does bring something different to the archipelago. Subtle changes in animal behavior such as breeding, nesting, hatching, feeding, growing, migrating. The Galapagos natural world is in constant change. In October, look out for Blue footed boobies - the hatchlings are now fledglings, making this a very active month for the iconic birds. Baby blue-footed boobies are cute and fluffy, making lovely photo opportunities. Another October highlight is flamingo nesting - good places where you might observe this are at Bachas Beach on Santa Cruz, and Punta Cormorant on Floreana island, among others. If you visit Bartolome island in October then look out for Galapagos penguin courtship. These unique birds pair up and nest together from May through to December.
Check out the infographic below for some of the special wildlife highlights to expect at Galapagos in October.
If you need any help planning your Galapagos Vacation (in October or any other month!), then get in touch with us for a FREE GALAPAGOS TOUR QUOTE, and all of the expert advice you need to make your dream a reality.
Happy Gringo has over 15 years of experience as the trusted choice in Galapagos travel and has received special recognition from TripAdvisor for 6 consecutive years. We specialize in Galapagos Cruises, Diving Tours, and Custom-Made Galapagos Land Trips. We’d love to hear from you.
We really hope that this Galapagos in October blog was useful. If you are looking for a complete summary of Galapagos climate across the year, then also check out our general Galapagos Weather blog.
In conclusion, October is a desirable month to visit Galapagos if you are looking for mild and dry weather. October rewards visitors with some truly memorable wildlife spotting highlights - especially marine species - and you won't have to share it with too many other tourists at the islands. Photographers also report that October is one of the top months for landscape snaps, with softer lighting conditions, and impressive sunsets. So, an October Galapagos vacation has a lot to offer, but do compare with other months highlights before booking.