January in the Galapagos Islands

The temperature of the air and water in Galapagos varies depending on the strength of the trade winds. December through May, the winds are at their weakest and the cooling currents subside and temperatures rise. The waters are warmest during this period with better visibility making it one of the best times for snorkelling.

January sees the start of the rainy season (usually! This can vary a lot year on year and when they arrive they are typically limited to the lush highlands, and the coastal areas remain arid and covered with plants adapted to desert conditions).

Thanks to the arrival of the first rains, all the terrestrial fauna (finches, mockingbirds, land iguanas and lava lizards etc) start courtship and raise their offspring in order to take advantage of the short season which provides an abundance of food for them).

This month also sees green Sea Turtles begin to arrive to lay eggs on the beaches in Galapagos and Marine Iguanas on Espanola begin their breeding season and become brightly coloured (green, black and red).


  • Air temperature daily high: 29 °C (85°F)
  • Air temperature daily low: 22 °C (71.6°F)
  • Average Rainfall: 68.6 mm (2.7 inches) (mainly in the highlands)
  • Average Water Temperature: 24 °C (75.2°F)
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  • Green Sea Turtles arrive to start laying eggs on beaches
  • Land birds such as finches begin to nest
  • Mockingbird and finch courtship displays
  • Marine Iguanas mating
  • Land Iguanas start mating
  • Migrant Birds from North America
  • Dolphins and whales present throughout the year in the waters around Galapagos, but numbers vary greatly from year to year.
  • Red-footed Boobies and Nazca Boobies breeding and nesting year-round
  • Magnificent Frigatebirds breeding (year-round on North Seymour Island)
  • Flightless Cormorants, Greater Flamingos and Galapagos Penguins year-round, depending on food supply you will see breeding and nesting