Weather in the Galapagos in May

written by Joanne Owen

updated 21.02.2024

Lucky is the person who gets to visit the glorious Galapagos Islands! While that’s true of pretty much any time of the year, some months have the edge on others, depending on what you want to see and do, of course. For example, wildlife-watching opportunities vary according to season. With that in mind, read on to find out about the weather in the Galapagos in May, along with inspirational itinerary suggestions covering this Ecuadorian gem.

Is May a good time to visit the Galapagos Islands?

While the Galapagos Islands are a genuine year-round destination, May happens to be one of the best months to visit for a whole lot of reasons.

First up, the Galapagos weather in May sees the islands emerge from the rainy season. As a result, lusher landscapes serve as the scenic backdrop for unforgettable walks on the wild side — and even more unforgettable wildlife-watching experiences. We’ll cover May’s top wildlife experiences below.

In addition, with slightly cooler weather than the preceding months, May is also a good time to visit to enjoy hiking and biking adventures. Note that the sea will be cooler, too, so snorkellers might need to be a little hardier.

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

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 Galapagos weather in May is cooler than preceding months. Bartolome Island © Seumas Christie-Johnston/Shutterstock

Average temperatures in the Galapagos Islands in May

May sees temperatures start to decrease, with an average range of 22-28°C, which might actually suit some travellers better. 

At the same time, changes in the Galapagos weather in May sees the average sea temperature fall to 23°C.

As for rainfall, May being the month when the Galapagos emerges from the rainy season, expect just 0.6 inches of liquid sunshine.

What about crowds and costs?

Marking the transition between the warm and cool seasons, many experienced travellers who prefer smaller crowds (and costs) argue that May is one of the best months to visit.

In short, visiting in May means you’ll be ahead of the peak season crowds, and you could find lower costs on trips, tours and accommodation. 

Still wondering when to visit? Read our guide to the best time to visit Ecuador.

Galapagos iguana

Galapagos iguana © Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to Ecuador in May?

Before you book your May trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos, might we recommend you browse our itineraries before taking the plunge? 

Fully customisable, and curated in conjunction with a local expert, they take the hassle out of planning, leaving you free to make the most of your Ecuadorian adventure. 

Here are a few sample itineraries to spark inspiration:

  • Galapagos Special — three islands in 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: 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: 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.

Blue footed boobies with iguana, Galapagos ©  reisegraf.ch/Shutterstock

Blue footed boobies and iguana, Galapagos ©  reisegraf.ch/Shutterstock

What to do in the Galapagos Islands in May

Clement weather, small crowds, and fresh emergence from the rainy season — along with very special wildlife experiences — mean you won’t be short of unforgettable things to do during your May visit to the Galapagos Islands.

Hike and bike

Being a little cooler than the preceding months, May is a good time to get active. Fresh from the rainy season, you’ll be rewarded by lusher landscapes. 

Snorkel and dive

Though the water is cooler, visibility remains high, making snorkelling and diving popular activities in May.

Add to that the fact that May sits in low season — so you’ll be sharing the sea with fewer people — and this amounts to a more special experience.

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

Be wowed by birds

May sees North Seymour’s blue-footed boobies begin their remarkable courtship dance, while waved albatrosses start laying their eggs on Española island.

At the same time, ban-rumped storm petrels begin their nesting period.

Catch sight of hatchlings
 

While most of the little cuties have already hatched, head to Gardner Bay, Punta Cormorant or Puerto Egas for the chance to see the last green sea turtle hatchlings of the year emerge from their nests. 

Meanwhile, Santa Cruz plays host to the hatching of marine iguanas.

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

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

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

Visit the Galapagos Islands in other months

To be better informed before booking your trip, find out what to expect of the Galapagos Islands around the year.

  • January: this full swing warm season month means blue skies, occasional rain showers and the chance to see curious courtship rituals.
  • 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 21.02.2024

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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