The Galápagos Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean, about a thousand kilometres (600 miles) west of Ecuador, have a peculiar climate, tropical and semi-arid, with a hot and relatively rainy season from January to May, and a cool and dry season, but also cloudy and misty, from July to November.
The landscapes of the Galápagos are barren, except in the highlands of the larger islands, which receive more abundant rainfall. As was already noted by Charles Darwin, who as we know studied the peculiarities of the species living in the islands, their climate is cooler than one would expect from a place located near the Equator, because of the Humboldt Current, which reaches the area after flowing in the sea west of South America. Anyway, here the climate is variable from one year to the other, because there are different sea currents that meet or take turns in the area (there is also a warm current coming from Central America, which runs at no great distance and is more active in the years of El Niño), therefore the weather is difficult to predict.

Sea currents around the Galápagos Islands
Here are the average temperatures in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Puerto Baquerizo - Average temperatures
Min (°C)232323232221191918192021
Max (°C)293030302927252424252627
Min (°F)737373737270666664666870
Max (°F)848686868481777575777981

As mentioned, in these islands there are two seasons: a warm season from January to May, with maximum temperatures around 29/30 °C (84/86 °F), and a relatively cool season from July to November, called Garúa, with daytime temperatures around 24/25 °C (75/77 °F). In the latter, night-time temperatures remain acceptable, around 18/19 °C (64/66 °F), but there are often mists, which cause the condensation of tiny droplets (called garúa from which the season takes its name), and the sky is often covered by low clouds (due to the thermal inversion generated by the cool sea current). This period is the least rainy of the year in coasts and plains (because the Garúa does not produce significant rain accumulations), while on inland hills and mountains, there can be some real rains. The highest peak is the Volcán Wolf, 1,707 metres (5,600 feet) high, situated on Isabela Island.
The warm season, from January to May, is instead the rainiest period, but normally the rains are not abundant, and in any event they occur in the form of afternoon showers, which do not overshadow too much the sun. The rainiest month is March.
On the coasts, the rainfall amounts to less than 500 millimetres (20 inches) per year, so it's not abundant. Here is the average precipitation in Puerto Baquerizo; we can notice the fact that in the dry season, few millimetres (a few tenths of an inch) per month accumulate, due mostly to drizzle and dew formation.
Puerto Baquerizo - Average precipitation

However, tourists flock to the beaches during the rainy period, because in addition to being the sunniest, it's the one in which the sea is the warmest.
It must be said that rainfall is irregular, and can become more abundant in the years of El Niño. During the most intense El Niño years, such as 1982-83 and 1997-98, the climate of these islands becomes fully tropical, with higher temperatures and abundant rainfall. In the years of La Niña, instead, the rains become more scarce, and there's a decrease in both air and sea temperature.


The sun at the Galápagos shines all in all for a good number of hours in the hot and relatively rainy period, while in the cool period, clouds and mists become more frequent.
Puerto Baquerizo - Sunshine

The sea is warm enough for swimming from January to May (when it's also calmer), while it becomes a little cool from July to November, when the water temperature drops to around 21/22 °C (70/72 °F).
Galápagos - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)242626262523222121222223
Temp (°F)757979797773727070727273

When to go

In general, the Galápagos can be visited all year round. However, the best time to visit the islands, if you also want to swim and sunbathe, runs from February to May, because it is the warmest and sunniest, although there may be some downpours or thunderstorms in the afternoon.
The cool season, from July to November, can be recommended to explore nature, since it almost never rains in the plains and the temperature is pleasant, even though you have to take into account mists, haze and cloudy skies. From September to November the sea can be a little rough, and this can disturb those who suffer from motion sickness, during boat trips from one island to another.

What to pack

From December to May (warm period): light clothing, a light sweatshirt for the evening, light raincoat or umbrella for rain showers; sun hat (after all, we are at the Equator). For hiking in inland hills and the Volcán Wolf, a bit warmer sweatshirt and raincoat, hiking shoes.
From June to November (cool period): light clothes, sweatshirt or sweater and light jacket for the evening; for hiking in inland hills and the Volcán Wolf, hiking boots, sweatshirt and raincoat.

For the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.