One of the most common questions we get asked: when is the best month to travel to Galapagos? Is our vacation to Galapagos in November a good idea, or should we go in October or December? Is it too hot / cold / rainy in November? Are the November seas warm enough for swimming? Our answer is always the same – November 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, November is as good a month as any to visit Galapagos.
Read on for everything you need to know about Galapagos in NOVEMBER – temperatures, rainfall and wildlife highlights.
November is getting towards the end of the Galapagos COOL & DRY season, so cloudy skies are the norm, temperatures are still quite cool, and the weather is dry. Remember to use sun protection, as it is easy to burn even under cloudy skies close to the equator. November is a nice month to enjoy Galapagos treking without feeling uncomfortable under a strong direct tropical sun.
In COOL & DRY months such as November, the cool sea temperatures are ideal for Galapagos marine species like Sealions, Sea Turtles, and species of Seabird, who enjoy plentiful food and nutrients in the water.
The highlands are at their driest, with trees looking rather barren. Don’t worry though, the land Galapagos species are still easily spotted in November, even though there is less green food available for them.
November typically sees LOW demand for Galapagos cruise and land tour spaces, making it an ideal time to travel before the high season of Christmas and New years and avoid the crowds. The same can be said for Land Tours - there are usually spaces available on day tours and a wide selection of Galapagos hotels to choose from. There is, however, one exception to the rule - the first days of the month mark a 4-day public holiday in Ecuador for All Saints and all souls (day of the dead) and Fiestas of Cuenca. During this long weekend many locals like to travel, so flights often book up completely and prices rise.
November at Galapagos is approaching the end of the cool and dry season, but you should still expect cooler temperatures - averaging 26 degrees celcius. November is another dry Galapagos month, with just 0.5 inches of rainfall, so rain gear is rarely required. Remember though that even on a cloudy day the equatorial sun is extremely strong, so don't forget to use sunscreen and a hat to avoid burning. In the evening it is cool and pleasant but you'll likely need a jacket or sweater to spend time out on open deck.
November Galapagos water temperatures are slighty warmer than previous months, with an average of 22 degrees celcius - most tourists will feel more comfortable using a wetsuit if in the water for any length of time. Those that do brave it are rewarded with excellent conditions for snorkeling and diving, and some great underwater treats as marine animals are very active, and playful sea lion pups are exploring the sea for the very first time.
Is November in Galapagos a good month for wildlife? Remember, every month at the Galapagos Islands (including November) 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.
November is a very good month to observe sea lions, with cute pups in the nurseries and learning to swim in the shallows. The pups are playful little things, but remember - don't get too close or risk upsetting a protective mother! Photos can be memorable as the pups are furry and cute with big doughy eyes. With luck a pup might even come up close to check you out when snorkeling.
In the sea Galapagos sea turtle mating season is just beginning. You'll often see them coupling up in the sea.
For bird watchers there's also plenty of activity to look forward to. Boobies (blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca) are all nesting with young chicks, while Brown Noddy Terns and Storm Petrels are busy begining their breeding season. In the case of Nazca booby chicks, look out for the unusual practice of Siblicide. Put simply this is survival of the fittest among siblings. Nazca boobies produce two eggs in each clutch as an insurance policy - if the first chick does not survive then they still have a chance with the second. But what happens when the first chick does survive? He/she naturally becomes bigger and stronger than the sibling, and receives the lion’s share of food. The parents allow this to happen until eventually the weaker chick is ejected from the nest. While some visitors may consider this a gruesome or cruel practise, it is an important part of the reality of natural survival at the islands.
Check out the infographic below for some of the special wildlife highlights to expect at Galapagos in November.
We really hope that this November in Galapagos 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.
If you need any help planning your Galapagos Vacation (in November or any other month!), then contact us for a FREE GALAPAGOS TOUR QUOTE.
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.
In conclusion, November is a very enjoyable month to visit the Galapagos islands. The weather is still comfortable and dry with low humidity and pleasant temperatires. There's also plenty of wildlife action to keep visitors happy, the biggest highlight being the playful sea lion pups. The Galapagos seasons are close to change (in December / January) so this is the last month of stability before the rains come and the islands transform once more.