AUTHOR Gabriel O’Rorke
The trickiest part of planning a visit to the Galapagos Islands can simply be “Which month do I pick to travel?” Whilst it is a year-round destination, no month is quite the same in terms of climate. And, most importantly, the islands’ inhabitants are always up to something different from month to month.
Essentially there are two different seasons within the Galapagos Islands: the wet warmer season which typically lasts from January until May, and the dry cooler season which begins in June and follows through to December.
This “cooler” season (all things relative now, as air temperatures range from 18 – 26 degrees C) is more commonly referred to as the Garua season – which translated from Spanish means the “misty” season. Days are sunny or overcast and there can be the occasional drizzle. Happily, it’s not too hot for exploring the islands, and whilst the water temperature is a little less warm (approximately 20 degrees C), at Ecoventura we provide comfortable wetsuits for snorkelling excursions.
During the mornings the islands appear to be floating on clouds, a phenomenon which led them to be called “The Enchanted Isles”. Sunrises and sunsets during the Garua season are breathtaking – witness the western volcanoes piercing through the misty haze and you will understand why it’s one of our favourite times of year here. Avid animal lovers will benefit hugely during these months, as the slightly cooler temperatures correlate with a surge in wildlife activity – especially during September and October. Let us explain!
September and October surge in wildlife
The Humboldt Current is a cold ocean water current which flows up the west coast of South America all the way from Antarctica bathing the Galapagos Islands in nutrient rich waters. Particularly present during September, this potent current has a significant impact on marine activity and the best way to enjoy this is snorkelling.
Endemic to the Galapagos Islands, the Galapagos Penguin is the only penguin found north of the equator and it flourishes at this time of year – torpedoing through the waters – try and keep up at your peril – it’s such a thrilling sight and impossible not to fall for these heavenly little birds.
Perhaps the most lovable creatures of all are the inquisitive Sea Lion pups which adore frolicking in the waves and will swim right up to your mask and wave hello, cheekily disregarding the archipelago’s two metre rule (the Galapagos National Park firmly stipulates visitors must not approach wildlife closer than two metres – yet it’s hard to enforce this on playful wildlife but something we strongly encourage).
In October, Green Sea Turtles become more visible – their nesting colony in the Galapagos is one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean and following these peaceful creatures float through the water is one of the most serene experiences you can enjoy.
Whales & Dolphins
Ecoventura’s two Luxury Yachts Origin and Theory and First Class Yacht Letty sail to Isabela and Fernandina on their Western and Northern Route and during September and October, whale and dolphin sightings are common off the coasts of these islands. Orcas gracefully breach the waves and Humpback calves can be seen swimming alongside their mothers – all from the yacht’s deck – a magical sight you will never forget.
It’s not just the marine wildlife of the Galapagos which become increasingly active during this season; thanks to the slightly cooler temperatures, land mammals, reptiles and birds are encouraged to turn their attention to their future descendants and embark upon their mating rituals – many of which are worthy of award winning nature documentaries!
From Lava Lizards to Sea Lions
Lava Lizards begin their courtship by showing off their muscles with a series of push ups, and male Sea Lions bark and front up to one other in a bid to protect their harem – often resulting in macho scuffles – stand back! The majestic Waved Albatross – the Galapagos’ largest bird which boasts an impressive wing span of up to 8 feet – is still nesting on Espanola and this island is visited on Ecoventura’s Southern and Central Route by all three yachts. Many of the other iconic Galapagos birds continue to nest as well, such as frigate birds, Flightless Comorants, Blue Footed, Red Footed and Masked Boobies. In October it’s already possible to observe the Blue Footed Boobies raising their fluffy footed chicks!
The Galapagos Islands are undeniably the jewel in Ecuador’s crown, yet it would be a shame to miss out on visiting the mainland and everything it has to offer if you have the chance. September and October are a wonderful time to experience the rest of the country with its historical colonial towns and cities, highland markets and haciendas, stunning national reserves and last but by no means least diverse flora and fauna of the spectacular Amazon basin.
Take advantage of travelling during the Fall with Ecoventura’s enticing Promotional Departures – and don’t forget we have a specialty Photography Departure in October (book before May 31st, 2019, and we will give you 10% discount).
ORIGIN: 10% off the cruise rate throughout September and October 2019 (excluding the 15th – 22nd September and 27th October – 3rd November departures).
LETTY: 5% off the cruise rate throughout September 2019 departures (excluding 29th September – 6th October) and including 13th – 20th October.
TWO WEEKS BACK TO BACK ON ORIGIN & LETTY OR COMBINED WITH GALAPAGOS SKY: Ecoventura offers two distinctly unique 7 night itineraries alternating every other week, with itinerary A visiting the Southern/Central route and itinerary B taking a Western/ Northern route. Take 5% discount on both weeks on seasonal departures or 5% on the second week only on peak departures when you book two consecutive weeks back to back. This cannot be combined with any other discount and is subject to restrictions.
For promotions on the Galapagos Sky, check here.