Best time to visit Galapagos Islands

Swimming and Snorkeling Season in Galapagos Islands

One of the most fascinating places for snorkeling welcomes you with spectacular underwater life in a natural setting, perfect visibility and comfortable temperature conditions

Swimming and Snorkeling Season
Swimming and Snorkeling Season
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The Galapagos Islands are one of the most beautiful places for snorkeling due to their natural habitat, diversity of the underwater life, and favorable weather conditions. It's a place where you can snorkel with marine iguanas, sea lions, green sea turtles, the second smallest penguin, and an incredible variety of colorful reef fish.

Best snorkeling conditions (visibility & water temperature)

If you're planning to spend most of your time snorkeling or swimming in the water, avoid coming during the June–November period as the water temperature drops from 75°F (23°C) to 65°F (18°C) and the underwater visibility falls from 13 to 10 meters due to the seasonal winds. Also if you're predisposed to seasickness, the snorkeling experience can be not that pleasurable. Therefore, the best period for snorkeling on the islands is December through April: the water temperature is from 70°F (21°C) to 80°F (27°C), the visibility is great and not spoiled by the seasonal winds. You can freely use a catamaran for exploring new snorkeling places. And if you're a beach lover, the wetter season is also more favorable: the high air temperature is accompanied by short-term rains, which bring you enjoyable freshness.

Top snorkeling locations

Some of the most rewarding snorkeling locations include Tagus Cove on Isabela Island, Punta Espinosa (Fernandina Island), Pinnacle Rock (Bartolome Island), off Genovesa Island and Floreana Island, in Gardner Bay, and around Kicker Rock.

Practical info

When is the best season to go snorkeling in Galapagos Islands?

Snorkeling season in Galapagos Islands runs from December until April, where the water temperature ranges from 70°F to 80°F, visibility is high, and winds are minimal. Conversely, during June to November, underwater visibility drops as a result of seasonal winds, and the water temperature falls from 75°F to 65°F, which makes it less ideal for snorkeling. Show more

What kind of marine life can you observe while snorkeling?

The Galapagos Islands offer a unique snorkeling experience as they house various marine species. Snorkelers can spot the likes of sea lions, marine iguanas, green sea turtles, Galapagos sharks, eagle rays, and reef fish among other marine species. Additionally, snorkelers can observe the Galapagos penguin, which is the second smallest penguin globally and the only one in the northern hemisphere. Show more

Where are the best snorkeling locations on the islands?

Galapagos Islands houses numerous snorkeling spots, with some of the notable ones being Tagus Cove on Isabela Island, Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island, Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome Island, off Genovesa Island and Floreana Island, in Gardner Bay and around Kicker Rock. These spots are known for their clear waters, rich marine life and spectacular underwater environments. Show more

How can seasonal winds affect the snorkeling experience?

The period between June to November in Galapagos Islands experiences seasonal winds that increases water turbulence. Due to these winds, underwater visibility reduces from 13 to 10 meters and makes snorkeling rougher. Seasickness is a common occurrence as a result. It is, therefore, recommended to avoid snorkeling in that period and opt for the December to April season when the waters are calmer. Show more

What are the conditions of the sea during June-November?

During the June to November season, Galapagos Islands experience cooler water temperatures resulting from the chromatic Humboldt Current that floods the islands. Water temperatures drop from 75°F to 65°F, and underwater visibility reduces from 13 to 10 meters. Seasonal winds make the waters rougher, and there is an accompanying increase in rainfall leading to a more humid and hot atmosphere. Snorkeling under these conditions is less favorable compared to the December to April season. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin