The Galapagos Islands are a dynamic ecosystem where climate variations and seasonal changes influence animal behaviors and breeding patterns.

This wildlife calendar provides a detailed month-by-month breakdown to help you plan your visit, highlighting the best times to witness the Galapagos’ most fascinating wildlife. Whether you’re eager to see the dances of mating birds or the first steps of newborn sea lions, this guide ensures you know what to expect and when to visit.

January: Beginnings and Births

Green Sea Turtles: January marks the beginning of the green sea turtles’ nesting season. Beaches like those on Isabela and Santa Cruz become nesting grounds where females lay their eggs at night.

Land Iguanas: On Isabela Island, the colorful land iguanas start their mating season, which involves spectacular dominance displays among males.

Giant Tortoises: The hatching season for giant tortoises begins, offering a chance to see these tiny, vulnerable hatchlings making their first journey into the world.

February: Mating Rituals and Colorful Displays

Marine Iguanas: Particularly on Santa Cruz Island, the marine iguanas display vibrant colors—reds and greens—as males compete for territories and mates.

Greater Flamingos: The shallow waters of Floreana Island are ideal for spotting greater flamingos during their nesting season, creating a picturesque scene against the saline lagoons.

Blue-footed Boobies: Their courtship season peaks, and their famous mating dance—a high-stepping ritual—can be observed, especially on North Seymour Island.

March: Peak of Activity

Frigatebirds: The males of both Great and Magnificent Frigatebirds inflate their bright red throat pouches, an incredible sight best viewed on San Cristobal and Genovesa Islands.

Galapagos Hawks: Beginning their nesting season, these powerful birds can be seen across several islands, showcasing their prowess as top predators.

Sea Lion Pups: Playful sea lion pups are abundant, particularly around Santa Fe Island, providing delightful interactions and photo opportunities.

April: Avian Wonders

Waved Albatrosses: These majestic birds arrive on Española Island and commence their elaborate courtship rituals, which include synchronized dances and gentle beak fencing.

Blue-footed Boobies: The nesting activities intensify, with eggs being laid and the nurturing of chicks becoming a common sight.

Galapagos Doves: Known for their tameness, these doves are particularly active, engaging in their own mating displays.

May: Hatchlings and Beginnings

Sea Turtles: Hatchlings from earlier nests begin their perilous journey to the sea, especially on the beaches of Isabela and Santa Cruz.

Marine Iguanas: Hatchlings emerge and can be seen clumsily making their way around the rocky shores.

Albatrosses: Eggs hatch, and the nurturing of the new generation starts, a process that involves both parents sharing feeding duties.

June: Whale Shark Season Begins

Whale Sharks: These gentle giants start to appear around the northern islands, especially near Wolf and Darwin, offering a bucket-list diving experience.

Southern Migratory Birds: Bird enthusiasts can enjoy the arrival of migratory species from the south, adding to the local avian population.

Giant Tortoises: The start of the dry season sees giant tortoises beginning their migration to lower, warmer areas to mate.

July: Dynamic Ecosystems

Blue Whales: Rare but possible to spot, the largest animals on earth can sometimes be seen off the coasts.

Sea Lions: Breeding season for sea lions begins, with dominant males loudly defending their harems.

Flightless Cormorants: Watch the unique courtship and nesting behaviors of these birds on Fernandina and the western shores of Isabela.

August: Active Marine Life

Galapagos Penguins: Active fishing and breeding make this a great time to observe these endangered birds, particularly around cooler waters.

Fur Seals: Start of the breeding season for the fur seals, with increased sightings along rocky coastlines.

Boobies: Feeding and nurturing of chicks are at their peak, providing lots of activity in boobies’ colonies.

September: Seabird and Sea Lion Dynamics

Galapagos Penguins: Continuing their active phase, especially as waters cool further, making snorkeling with them a memorable experience.

Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies: With chicks growing, parents are busily fishing, and juvenile boobies begin to practice flying.

Sea Lions: Births peak this month, and the shores are filled with the sounds of nursing pups and protective mothers.

October: Pupping and Feeding

Lava Herons: These small herons are in their nesting season, making them more visible as they hunt along the shores.

Fur Seals: With pupping at its peak, young fur seals can be observed learning to swim and play.

Sea Lion Pups: Pupping continues, with young sea lions being especially playful and curious about visitors.

November: Bird-Watching Excellence

Flightless Cormorants: Young cormorants start to fledge, testing their wings in the water rather than air.

Greater Flamingos: Often seen with their chicks, providing a beautiful contrast against the blue lagoons.

Brown Noddies: These seabirds are particularly active, adding to the islands’ rich bird-watching tapestry.

December: Celebrating Life

Giant Tortoises: Another hatching season begins, offering a chance to see new life emerging once again.

Land Birds: The start of the rainy season brings freshness and abundant food, making it a great time to observe Darwin’s finches and other endemic species.

Marine Life: Nutrient-rich waters attract a diverse array of marine life, making December ideal for snorkeling and diving.