The Galapagos Islands (Archipiélago de Colón) is a natural collection of 18 islands and 107 rocks & islets located west of Ecuador in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The islands were first discovered in 1535 when Spaniard Fray Tomás de Berlanga drifted off course en route to settle a political dispute in modern day Peru. It is believed that the islands were visited by South Americans before de Berlanga landed but no proof had been found of any permanent human settlement. The islands are most famous for naturalist Charles Darwin's study of the island creatures during The Voyage of the Beagle in 1835. In 1832 Ecuador annexed the islands, making them part of the nation of Ecuador. The islands became a national park in 1959 and are now protected by Ecuadorian preservation laws.
The climate in the Galapagos is characterized by two distinct seasons, controlled by the behavior of Pacific Ocean currents whether coming cold from the south, or warm from the equatorial Pacific, and the varied upcoming winds. The Islands do not have a typical equatorial climate, but a unique micro climate which depends on whichever current is prevailing at the time.
In general, December to June are the warmer months. January to March can be hot and humid, but also mostly green during this time. July to November are a bit cooler. The average year-round air temperature is 24°C. The table below shows the average climate each month.
|Shown in degrees Celsius||Jan||Feb||Mar||Apr||May||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec|
|Max Air Temp||29||30||31||30||28||26||24||23||24||25||26||27|
|Min Air Temp||21||23||23||22||22||20||19||18||17||18||19||20|
|Avg Sea Temp||23||24||24||24||23||23||22||19||20||21||22||23|
|Avg Rainfall (cm)||2.5||2.5||5||3.8||1.9||0.6||1.3||0.6||1.3||0.6||1.3||1.3|
In November as the Humboldt Current leaves the Galapagos, the warm waters from the North Equatorial Current return to dominate the climate through until May. The skies are generally clear with the exception of occasional short-strong rains from which settlers used to catch water, giving this season the name the "wet season". There is hardly any wind and the sea is usually relatively calm with a water temperature of about 25°C.
From June to November as the Humboldt Current moves through the islands, it cools both the land and sea temperature bringing with it a subtropical climate. In these so called "Garúa months", the air is cooler and drier, the sky is usually shrouded in clouds and there is fog and drizzle. The wind is particularly strong, the sea is rough and the water temperatures go down to around 17°C. The nutrient-rich Humboldt Current increases the plankton percentage and many marine animals and seabirds begin their breeding season to go along with this plentiful time.
The months of August to November are especially interesting for divers, because of an increased proliferation of marine life. During this time, the probability of encountering whales, whale sharks and dolphins is particularly high.
The conditions for diving in the Galapagos can vary greatly. The flow and visibility conditions can be different from day to day. In the Galapagos you dive in mid-range (1-3 knots / 2-6 km / h) to severe (3 + nodes / 6 + km / h) currents. Because of these fairly strong currents, some dive sites are not suitable for beginners. It is advisable to have a lot of general diving experience and above all experience drift diving. But nonetheless, there are also sites for diving courses and suitable for less experienced divers. Please value our suggestions and know that we speak from experience.
The underwater visibility can often change severely in part by the currents. There are days with less than 10 meters visibility, other days you will see up to 25 meters. Accurate predictions are unfortunately not really possible due to the changeable nature of the waters around Galapagos. At most sites you can view an average of about 10 - expected 20 m. At other places and other times the water, due to the abundance of phytoplankton, is mostly greenish. These algae are first in the food chain, and are necessary to maintain the entire marine food chain of the islands.
Although the Galapagos Islands are located directly on the equator, the water can be cold due to ocean currents arriving from the south and altering the water temperatures. On the surface an average of around 25°C prevails, with February to April being the warmest and September to November the coldest months.
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