Greater Flamingo courting ritual, Galapagos islands

Galapagos Islands: What happens in July

Updated June 2016.

July seems to be baby time in the Galapagos Islands, on land and in the air. The seasonal migrations continue, bringing many visitors to the islands, especially in the sea.

On Land
  • The female lava lizards are blushing deeply as their potential mates do push-ups to attract their attention. All of this is part of the lava lizards’ mating rituals, which will continue until November.
  • Marine iguanas have hatched. Watch where you step with hundreds of these miniature “imps of darkness” scurrying around!
At Sea
  • Whales and dolphins are resting in the channel between Isabela and Fernandina Islands.
  • Whale sharks are swimming by Darwin and Wolf Islands.
  • Along the west coast of Isabela Island, expect to see pods of white-bellied and bottle nose dolphins.
  • Galapagos penguins begin to nest.
  • It is also the sea lion breeding season. (Watch out for those macho males guarding their harems!)
In the Air
  • Many sea birds are breeding and nesting, including Moorhens (Common Gallinules) and Galapagos Penguins.
  • The Greater Flamingo is performing its spectacular courting dance.
  • You can also witness the Flightless Cormorants’ mating rituals on Fernandina Island.
  • July is a great time to visit the Blue-footed boobies, especially on Española Island. The downy chicks are hatching.
  • Also on Española Island, the Waved Albatross are nesting and the chicks beginning to hatch.
  • On North Seymour Island, the Frigatebird babies are appearing.
  • American oystercatchers are nesting on the beaches of Santiago Island, especially at Puerto Egas.
Humans
  • Highlander Ecuadorians on summer vacation are joining the seasonal migration of the Northern Hemisphere vacationers. Booking well in advance for trips in July is highly advised.
Climate
  • The cool season continues in July, with a brisk climate.
  • The fine, drizzling mist called garúa bathes the morning and evening. Skies will be overcast, and there is a chance of light showers. Expect afternoon showers. Pack a rain jacket.
  • Air temperatures are cool: 19-26°C (66-79°F). It is also breezy. A sweater will take off the chill.
  • The sea is a bit rougher. Some landings may be tricky. If you are prone to seasickness, don’t forget seasickness medication, or you may want to consider land-based tours.
  • The sea is also cool (21-22ºC / 68-72ºF). For snorkeling, you may need a wetsuit.
  • The nutrient-rich water means marine life is more active, making for fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving.

Have you visited the Galapagos islands in July? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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Photo credit: Santiago Ron

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