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Best time to visit Galapagos: Water Smoothness and Temperature?

Best time to visit Galapagos: Water Smoothness and Temperature?

Old Apr 18th, 2009, 08:54 AM
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Best time to visit Galapagos: Water Smoothness and Temperature?

I read in Fodor's South America that the best months to visit Galapagos are May, June, November and December.

My wife gets sea sick easily. Would summer months such as July or August be too rough for her?

Also, we love to snorkel but the water temperature in Galapagos during their winter months seems cold. Is the water so cold during their winter that it makes it uncomfortable to snorkle?

Thanks for providing feedback on the roughness of waters and water temperature and snorkeling in the Galapagos.

Bruce Rocheleau
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Old Apr 18th, 2009, 05:33 PM
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August was rougher than April as I recall, but not by that much. I think a larger boat would make more of a difference than the month you go. But I have terrible sea sickness problems and just take a Bonine. I've gone only on small boats in the Galapagos.

Actually every month is good in the Galapagos. Jan-Mar the Waved Albatross are gone, though, so I personally would avoid those.

Weather and temps are here.


The water was colder in Aug--their winter in S. Hemisphere--than in April. But I used a wetsuit on every outing during both trips and so did everyone else except the local guide in April. I'd even recommend the hood to keep your head warm. It was cool snorkeling but what you saw was even "cooler" so it was well worth it.

The air temps were more pleasant in Aug than the hotter days of April for walking around on the islands.

I'd avoid cruises around Christmas in December because when I asked guides about good and bad times to go, they said the conditions were fine in Dec but people on board have a different attitude and are not as interested in the wildlife at Christmas time. Perhaps the purpose of the cruise is more family oriented and festive than appreciating natural history. For that reason I'd never go around Christmas.
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 09:56 AM
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We went over Christmas and water too cold for much swimming. My kids just came back yesterday and loved the warm, calm water. Trip had lots, and lots of swimming and it really added to the experience. Snorkeling with sea lions is a good thing!
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Old Apr 19th, 2009, 02:12 PM
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I just visited this past January. I was amazed to see the surface of the ocean was like glass. We did a land based trip, but traveled from island to island on the 'ferry' and day trips all around the islands.

The water was cool in some places, but I'm pretty much a wimp and I was the first one in and nobody used wetsuits. It was lovely & refreshing. And as Elainee said - snorkeling with sea lions is not to be missed! The last day we had been snorkeling so much I almost hesitated jumping into the cool water - then I thought 'I'm in the Galapagos and there are sea lions over there' and in I jumped and it was just wonderful.

So January it seems Jan thru early spring is a great time to go weather wise.
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Old Apr 30th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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First, it would be advisable to consider traveling the Galapagos in any month except for September & October (when the seas are generally rougher). Most of the wildlife is present all year round (although in different activities depending on the month in question). The Waved Albatross (usually present on Espanola only from March to Decmeber), and whales (usually only present between June and September) have very distinct calendars

The Galapagos is visited all year round, but most people select the holiday / vacation periods (i.e., Christmas/New Year’s, Easter, summer holidays/vacations). These periods sell out up to one year in advance (or more!).

The warmest period (air & water temperatures) generally run from November through to April. The coldest (and generally has more turbulent seas) are generally September and October. June through September is normally characterized by the presence of whales in Galapagos (mainly off the coasts of the western islands of Isabela & Fernandina. February through to April are the most desirable months. During this period, the islands not only adopt an emerald-green color, and turn humid and balmy warm, but many species start reproducing now.

* calmest waters;
* the hottest period in Galapagos;
* the islands are generally a lush green due to high humidity & scattered showers;
* most animals are in the height of reproduction, courting and/or nesting;
* Reproduction of land reptiles, as well as land birds.

For those sensitive to motion or sea-sickness, there are two factors to keep in mind: (1) time of year - try to avoid late August through to October - as the seas are generally more turbulent this time of the year; and (2) try to avoid the sailing (or motor sailer) boats - the narrower the boat the more prone it is to rocking in the open waters, while the wider (and heavier) the boat is the more stable it is. The most stable are the large cruise ships and the motor catamarans, followed by the wider motor boats and then down to the narrow sailing boats.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 08:38 PM
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Went to the Galapagos in December 2008. Wonderful weather. The waters were cool for sorkeling but we had wet suits provided by Lindlad/National Geographic made it very comfortable. Loved it, every single moment of it. No Rain, not hot. 2nd time with Lindblad and can highly recommend them.
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Old May 11th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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Has anyone been on both Celebrity and a snaller ship like Lindbad? I want to get the most out of our trip and am concerned that 100 people compared to 48 wlll not be as good. Thanks for any help. Or maybe the larger ship is more comfortable??? Help!
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Old May 12th, 2009, 08:38 AM
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Both the Celebrity Xpedition and Lindbad are high-end, luxurious Galapagos cruise options. Lindbad, in my experience, really comes up trumps. Larger ships (including the Isabela II, Santa Cruz, Galapagos Legend, Galapagos Explorer II, Eclipse) are spacious and stable vessels. They generally attract an older group (i.e., retirees etc). There are advantages and disadvantages (like on any boat) with large ships.
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