The water temperature in the Galapagos changes throughout of year but the fluctuation isn’t too dramatic. No matter what, you can snorkel at any time of year, as long as you do a bit of planning. We can help you figure out when to go and how to prepare for your Galapagos trip.
Although the Galapagos Islands straddle the equator, the water temperatures can sometimes be surprisingly cool and, at other times, surprisingly warm.
COOL & DRY SEASON
- MAY – NOVEMBER
- Surface Water Temperature: 71°F – 74 °F
The waters of the Galapagos are influenced by the Humboldt Current that brings cold water to the islands, especially during the mist or Garua season (cool, dry weather) from June to December. While the water can be cooler than expected for the location, these currents also bring nutrients and food that feed all of the numerous animals in the Galapagos. The currents also account for the amazing diversity of wildlife in the islands, even the adorable Galapagos penguins swim and nest there. In La Nina conditions, the water temperature can be approximately 5°F cooler.
- DECEMBER – MAY
- Surface Water Temperature: 73°F – 78°F
This is the warm season which is occasionally rainy, but mostly just warm to hot. The southeast trade winds become weaker and the water from the Panama Basin remains warm. During this season there is more of a tropical climate with some occasional rains.
So now the question is: do you want to wear a wetsuit while snorkeling? For the most part, you’ll want to wear a shorty wetsuit from May through mid-November and these can be rented in person for a small cost during your tour. Mid-November through April you probably won’t need a wetsuit, but some people may want them during the shoulder months there. The good thing is that you don’t need to decide if you’ll want a wetsuit until you get there. Heck, some days you may want a wetsuit and other days you may want to forgo one, but that’s OK.
The Galapagos Islands are an amazing destination for any wildlife lover or fan of nature. The islands are one of the top tourist destinations in Latin America, and they are on many people’s bucket lists for good reason. The traditional way to to visit the islands is on a Galapagos cruise, although the new Galapagos multisport adventures are becoming quite popular for those who want a bit more activity than offered by the slow-paced nature walks of a naturalist cruise.
Detour makes it easy to get the trip you want. Check out our Galapagos trips here: Galapagos Trips
First Class Galapagos Yachts
Eric and Letty Galapagos Yachts$4,500–$5,600
First-class 20 passenger sister yachts that offer active and very personalized tours due to a small guide to traveler ratio (1 naturalist per 10 travelers). Great guides, great itineraries, great service make these memorable trips, and these are the first boats in the Galapagos to have Stand Up Paddleboards on board.
Trip Length: 8 Days
Destination: Galapagos Islands
Accommodations: 20 passenger, First Class Yacht
Activities: Wildlife viewing, naturalist walks, snorkeling, kayaking
Galapagos Adventure Trips
Galapagos Premium Multisport Adventure$3,188–$3,613
One of the very best active trips possible in the Galapagos Islands, this land-based multisport adventure combines nice accommodations with great guides and equipment and a well-planned itinerary designed to maximize recreation while seeing as much wildlife as possible. This trip is ideal for private groups or families, too.
Trip Length: 7 Days
Destination: San Cristobal, Isabela, & Santa Cruz Islands, Galapagos
Lodging: First-class, beachfront Optunia Lodges
Activities: Hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing
Galapagos Cruises and Yacht Trips
Nemo I Galápagos Sailing Catamaran$1,550–$3,600
The Nemo I is a small 14-passenger sailing catamaran that is perfect for adventurous people who want to spend their time in the Galapagos outside on the net between the hulls or on the various common areas. Cabins are quite small, in the pontoons, making a trip on this boat an intimate nature adventure.
Trip Lengths: 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, or 15 Days
Destination: Galapagos Islands
Lodging: 14-Passenger, tourist superior sailing catamaran
Activities: Wildlife viewing, naturalist walks, snorkeling