Weather in the Galapagos in September

written by Joanne Owen

updated 21.02.2024

If you’re thinking of visiting the Galapagos Islands, it’ll come as good news that there’s not really a bad month to visit. It’s all a question of deciding which incredible experiences you most want to enjoy, especially when it comes watching wildlife. Here we present info on what to expect of the Galapagos weather in September, along with intel on what you can see and do in this Ecuadorian wonder through the month. 

Is September a good time to visit the Galapagos Islands?

Falling after the peak visitor months of July and August (one of two high seasons around these parts — the second follows in December), September is a good time to visit the Galapagos Islands if you prefer fewer crowds and want to save some cash.

September is also a good time to head here if you prefer cooler weather and little rain.

Weather and crowd conditions aside, the main reason September is a good time to visit is because it's a top month for marine activity, especially whales, dolphins, sea lions, Galapagos fur seals, and Galapagos penguins.

That said, being a quieter month with low season visitor numbers, some ships and yachts are taken out of service for maintenance in September.

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

isabela-island-galapagos-shutterstock_584128561

The Galapagos weather in September is cool and dry — ideal for hiking and biking Isabela island © Shutterstock

Average temperatures in the Galapagos Islands in September

September is one of the coolest months to visit the Galapagos Islands, with an average temperature range of 17-24°C (62-76°F).

As for the sea, it’ll be around 20°C (68°F), while the average monthly rainfall will be a mere 0.3 inches.

What about crowds and costs?

As touched on above, visiting the Galapagos Islands in September means you’ll be in the company of much smaller crowds than seen through July and August. Kids are back in school, so family vacationers have departed. 

At the same time, prices are reduced, but so too are some tours and trips. This is because September sees some operators put their vessels through an annual maintenance service.

So, you’ll need to do your research to check what trips and tours are running during the weeks you plan to visit. While some will still be available, the reduced offering means you’ll want to book early. 

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 September?

Before booking your September adventure to Ecuador and the Galapagos, take a look at our trip offerings for more inspiration.

Fully customisable, with a local expert on hand to take care of booking exactly what you want, they take the hassle out of planning your perfect trip. Here are a few sample itineraries:

  • Galapagos Special — three islands in 10 days: the start and end of this extraordinary trip are Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and capital of Ecuador, with visits to a trio of incredible islands (San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela Island) offering travellers utter immersion into wildlife 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 with iguana, Galapagos ©  reisegraf.ch/Shutterstock

What to do in the Galapagos Islands in September

Not only is September quieter and cooler than the preceding months, but it also delivers some incredible wildlife-watching experiences that are at peak levels during this off-peak month.

See Galapagos penguins and sea lions

While it’s possible to see Galapagos penguins and sea lions around the year, September is an especially great time for both experiences.

Come September, the waters around Bartolome Island play host to large numbers of Galapagos penguins. Look out for them diving from cliffs and swimming around Pinnacle Rock, often scooting between sea lions. 

Talking of which, September is also a great time to see sea lions, with North Seymour, Plazas, and Santa Fe Islands being especially notable spots to see newborn pups. Fights between males set on protecting their harems are frequent, frenzied, and incredibly noisy. 

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Sea lions chilling on Gardner Bay, Espanola, Galapagos Islands © Shutterstock

Be wowed by birds

While avian activity is impressive around the year in the Galapagos Islands, September sees blue-footed boobies still in nesting mode. This means you should have opportunities to see them up closer. While nesting, they hunt during the day, so look out for them diving into the water.

September is also a good time to try to see waved albatross chicks. Eggs are laid between April and June and incubate for two months.

Editor's tip: if seeing mighty, unique blue-footed boobies is top of your bucket list, don’t visit the Galapagos Islands in January, February, or March — they’re not on land during these months.

blue-footed-booby-Galapagos-Islands-Ecuador-shutterstock_99808211

The iconic blue-footed boobie © Shutterstock

Watch whales 

July heralded the start of the whale-watching season in the Galapagos, with trips to the Bolivar Channel between Isabela and Fernandina islands offering your best chance of seeing them into September.

Hike and bike

Being cool and dry, September is a good time to hike and bike the Galapagos Islands, with Santa Cruz and Isabella coming especially recommended.

Santa Cruz, for example, has a network of paths connecting the city of Puerto Ayora with the highlands.

Meanwhile, on Isabela Island, you can take your pick from cycling to the Muro de las lagrimas (Wall of Tears), or tackling an exhilarating downhill route from Sierra Negra volcano.

Editors’ tip: if you’re into marine life and underwater exploration as well as adventures on land, check out our customisable Galapagos Diving Adventure.

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Giant Galapagos turtle © 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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