Weather in the Galapagos in January

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 21.05.2024

Considering taking a trip to Ecuador’s extraordinary Galapagos Islands? While a wealth of unforgettable experiences awaits around the year, each month and season delivers something different. So, read on to find out about the weather in the Galapagos in January, along with tips on what to see and do, and inspirational itinerary suggestions. 

Is January a good time to visit the Galapagos Islands?

As touched on above, there’s not a really a bad time to visit the Galapagos Islands — each month and season offers something special in terms of weather, wildlife, landscapes, and associated activities and trips.

Overall, though, January is a very good time to visit the Galapagos Islands. During this month, the warm season is in full swing, bringing blue skies, sunny mornings, with occasional rain showers in the afternoons. 

In addition, the waters are usually warm at this time of year (they’re at peak warmth in February), with good visibility. This makes January a good time to come to the Galapagos to dive and snorkel.

It’s also a good time to visit to catch some special wildlife action — see below for detail on what to do in the Galapagos in January. 

For more inspiration, talk to our local experts, and browse our customisable Galapagos itineraries and Ecuador itineraries


Sea lions, Galapagos Islands © Shutterstock

Average temperatures in Galapagos Islands in January

The weather in the Galapagos in January sees average daily maximum temperatures of 85°F (29°C), and an overall average of 80-83°F (26-28°C). Expect the seas to be around 76°F (24°C)

As for the average rainfall in January, this usually totals around 60mm. For comparison, rainfall in February averages 91mm.

Want to take winter trip, undecided about where to go? Read up on the best places to visit in January.

What about crowds and costs?

Falling within the Galapagos warm season (AKA the rainy season, or “green season”) that runs from December until May, January is a good month for water lovers and wildlife watchers to visit. This means it is a pretty popular time to visit.

That said, the main peak season month in the Galapagos is December, so visiting in January won’t be as crowded — or pricey.

Still wondering when to visit? Read our guides to the best time to visit Galapagos and the best time to visit Ecuador.

Giant tortoise in El Chato Tortoise Reserve, Galapagos islands (Ecuador) © Alberto Loyo/Shutterstock

Giant tortoise, El Chato Tortoise Reserve, Galapagos islands © Alberto Loyo/Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to Ecuador in Janaury?

If you’re ready to venture to Ecuador and the Galapagos in January, browse our itineraries to find further inspiration before booking your trip. 

100% customisable, they take the hassle out of planning. What’s more, with a local expert on hand, they’re perfectly placed to make sure you make the most of the experience. Here are a few sample itineraries:

  • Galapagos Special — three islands in 10 days (10 days): The start and end of this extraordinary trip is Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and capital of Ecuador, with visits to a trio of incredible islands (San Cristobel, Santa Cruz and Isabela Island) offering travellers utter immersion into wildife and nature.
  • Luxury Galapagos cruise and mainland highlights (17 days): Spend seven nights on a luxurious super yacht in the Galapagos to explore the natural wonders of this island paradise in style. Afterwards, fly to the mainland and discover Ecuador from Guayaquil to Quito. Volcanoes, waterfalls, markets, and much more await.
  • Ecuador Highlights — Amazon and Galapagos (12 days): Into adventure? This trip takes you from Quito and Otavalo to the Amazon, where guided boat tours unveil flora, fauna and indigenous customs. Next, you'll venture to the glorious Galapagos islands for more exploration and adventure.

Browse more itinerary ideas.

Want to learn more useful information before your upcoming trip to Ecuador? Read our travel tips for traveling to Ecuador. You might also find it helpful to read about what you need to know before traveling to Ecuador.

Bartolome Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. Bartolome Island is a volcanic islet in the Galapagos Islands with an amazing viewpoint at the top © Seumas Christie-Johnston/Shutterstock

The weather in the Galapagos in January in warm on land and sea © Shutterstock

What to do in the Galapagos Islands in January

If you’re lucky enough to visit the Galapagos Islands in January, read on to find out about a few special experiences to enjoy during your visit.

Snorkelling and diving

As mentioned above, the weather in the Galapagos in January is warm and mainly sunny, with good water visibility. This means diving and snorkelling are among the top activities to enjoy at this time of year.

Into diving? You’ll love our Diving Adventure trip.


In January you can see the islands’ famous giant tortoises hatching eggs at the breeding centre on Santa Cruz.

January also heralds the start of green sea turtle season. At this time, females begin to come ashore to lay their eggs. 


While you can see many species of bird in the Galapagos around the year — for example, red-footed boobies and masked boobies breed and nest year-round, while magnificent frigate birds breed year-round on North Seymour Island — January is a great time to see land birds.

When the rains start, land birds start their curious courtship rituals before nesting. You’re likely to see cormorants, penguins, red footed and Nazca boobies, and frigate birds. Get lucky, and you could also see greater flamingos.

A word of warning though — you might be too late to see the waved albatross that’s usually found on Espanola Island. For some chance of seeing any stragglers that haven’t yet moved on, visit earlier in the month.

See curious courtship rituals

Alongside being a significant month for land bird activity, January also sees marine iguanas and land iguanas start their mating season, with the marine variety in particular putting on an incredible show. During this season, they change colour, putting on bright shows of red, green and black 

January is also mating season for Galapagos sea lions, which makes it a unique time to visit.  

For more ideas, discover the best things to do in Ecuador.

Galapagos iguana

Galapagos iguana © Shutterstock

Visit the Galapagos Islands in other months 

Before booking your trip, discover what to expect of the Galapagos weather around the year.

  • February: warm on land and sea, February is fabulous for snorkelling, diving and hiking, and seeing green turtles come ashore to lay eggs. 
  • March: this rainy season month means lush landscapes, high temperatures and morning showers. It’s also nesting time for land iguanas and many birds.
  • April: end of the rainy season, April offers warm waters, and opportunities to see waved albatrosses, giant tortoise hatchlings and green turtle hatchlings.
  • May: transition month between the rainy and dry seasons, May means cooler temperatures, small crowds and remarkable avian activity.
  • June: start of the dry season, June sees cooler temperatures and is a top time to see waved albatrosses’ mating rituals and humpback whales.
  • July: cool and dry, July is ideal for hiking, biking and watching whales and dolphins. It’s also prime whale shark season.
  • August: still cool and dry, this peak season month draws increased crowds to see whales, dolphins, sea lions, and blue-footed boobies.
  • September: quiet and cool, this is a top month for marine activity, especially whales, dolphins, sea lions, Galapagos fur seals and Galapagos penguins.
  • October: this dry low-season month is ideal for hiking and biking, and seeing sea lion pups and blue-footed booby chicks.
  • November: this transition month between the cool dry season and the warm wet season is ideal for snorkelling, diving and seeing sea lions and penguins.
  • December: start of the warm season, December heralds breeding season for frigate birds and sea lions, and peak season crowds as the month wears on.
Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 21.05.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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