Galapagos Wildlife Calendar

Blue footed booby - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours

Visiting the Galapagos Islands is a once-in-a-lifetime trip that is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression no matter when you go. However, there are certain times of the year when particular animals are more active than others so if you have a list of wildlife that you simply have to see then it is a good idea to plan your trip accordingly. Below you will find our Galapagos wildlife calendar with details of which animals take the spotlight each month and where best to find them.

Green turtle - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
Galapagos wildlife to see in...

January

One of the highlights of this month is the hordes of green sea turtles that arrive on the islands' beaches to lay their eggs. Other occurrences in January include the marine iguanas on Espanola Island changing colour as part of their breeding process, giant tortoise eggs beginning to hatch and land birds starting to nest.

Flamingos - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
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February

This month sees greater flamingos start to nest on the island of Floreana and marine iguanas nest on Santa Cruz. It is the peak season for Galapagos doves to nest and marks the start of the breeding season for black-tailed pintails. Giant tortoise eggs are still hatching at this point.

Marine iguana - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
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March

As the rainy season reaches full force, marine iguanas start to nest on Fernandina and North Seymour, and towards the end of the month the Waved Albatross begins to arrive on Espanola island. Another exciting event is the arrival of Galapagos penguins on Isabela Island.

Frigate bird - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
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April

If you missed the green sea turtles laying their eggs in January, now you will have the chance to watch them hatch. Land iguana eggs also start to hatch on the island of Isabela. Male frigate birds on Genovesa and San Cristobal woo their mates with the sight of their red throat pouches.

Waved albatross - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
Galapagos wildlife to see in...

May

May sees the waved albatross on Espanola begin to lay their eggs and the eggs of the marine iguanas on Santa Cruz start to hatch. On North Seymour the blue footed boobies perform their mating dance and all over the islands the band-rumped storm petrels start the first of their two nesting seasons.

Giant tortoise - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
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June

As the cold season creeps in the giant tortoises of Santa Cruz begin to migrate to the lowlands in search of a suitable nesting ground. As birds migrate north, they use the Galapagos as a pit stop and the short-eared owl begins mating on Genovesa Island.

Dolphin - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
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July

Now is the time to look to the seas, particularly off the coast of Isabela. Hordes of whales and dolphins will fill this section of water and off the coast of Wolf and Darwin islands whale sharks can often be seen. Inland, adorable blue-footed booby chicks can be spotted and lava lizards start their mating season, which usually lasts until around November.

Sea lion pup - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
Galapagos wildlife to see in...

August

During August, sea lions take centre stage as mothers begin birthing and pups can be spotted all over the western and central islands. Mothers can be aggressive if they feel their babies are in danger so be careful not to get to close. Giant tortoises also migrate back to the highlands, humpback whales swim past the islands and Galapagos hawks start to court one another on Espanola and Santiago islands.

Galapagos Penguin - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
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September

The main event in September is the sudden rush of activity by the Galapagos penguins on Bartolome Island. There is also a lot going on with the sea lions as males bark and fight constantly to win or defend the females. Humpbacks can still be seen and whale sharks are often spotted in the northwest of the archipelago.

Lava heron - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
Galapagos wildlife to see in...

October

October sees the peak of the Galapagos fur seal mating season and the start of the nesting period for lava herons. Giant tortoises are still laying their eggs at this point and whale sharks can still be found off the coasts of Wolf and Darwin islands.

Band-rumped storm petrel - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
Galapagos wildlife to see in...

November

Finally, the sea lions are old enough to interact with visitors without causing their mothers any concern. This is the best time to see these animals. Brown noddies and green sea turtles start to mate and the band-rumped storm petrel commences its second nesting period. In the water, a number of different jellyfish can be found.

Fur seals - Galapagos Wildlife Calendar - On The Go Tours
Galapagos wildlife to see in...

December

Now the rainy season begins and as it kicks in the waved albatross and its fledglings leave the islands. Green sea turtles continue to mate and the eggs of the giant tortoises begin to hatch. Fur seals are still breeding and some of the pups that were born earlier have become playful.

See Also

To help you plan your adventure to the Galapagos, here's some more handy travel resources:

Best Places to Visit - the top islands of the Galapagos
Best Time to Visit - climate and weather of the Galapagos
Top Travel Tips - information on currency, what to pack and more