June is a fascinating month in the Galapagos Islands. Not only are some of island natives breeding and rearing young, but the seasonal migrations are bringing all sorts of visitors to the islands. The Galapagos is an important rest stop for bird and marine fauna migrating to warmer waters and weather in the northern hemisphere.
- The giant tortoise nesting season begins. On Santa Cruz Island, you may see these behemoths coming down from the highlands in search of a suitable place to lay their eggs.
- Humpback whales are migrating through the Galapagos Islands.
- While cruising through the Galapagos archipelago, also keep an eye out for other whales like sperm, blue and minke, as well as for orca.
- Whale sharks will be swimming by Darwin and Wolf Islands.
- These two islands – now part of a massive shark sanctuary – will be a diver’s delight when thousands of scalloped hammerhead sharks visit the area.
- Along the west coast of Isabela Island, expect to see pods of white-bellied and bottle nose dolphins.
- Penguins are more active, especially around Bartolomé Island.
In the Air
- About 30 species of birds – including terns, laughing gull and common nighthawk – are migrating through the Galapagos Islands.
- It’s mating season for the Blue-footed Boobies and their cousins, the Red-footed and Nazca boobies.
- At North Seymour Island, frigate birds are breeding, too, with the males inflating their red throat pouches.
- On Genovesa Island, the endemic Short-eared Owl begins mating.
- In mid-June, the high-season starts with the seasonal migration of vacationers from the Northern Hemisphere.
- June marks the beginning of the cold season, with southeast trade winds and the Humboldt Current’s return.
- Seas will be rougher. Some landings may be tricky. If you are prone to seasickness, you may want to consider land-based tours.
- The sea is colder (18-23ºC / 65-73ºF). For snorkeling, you may need a wetsuit.
- The nutrient-rich waters will have a visibility of only 9-15 meters (30-50 feet) but draws thousands of migrating whales and sharks. This is a preferred season for experienced scuba divers.
- Garúa, a fine, drizzling mist, is common in the morning and evening. Expect afternoon showers. Pack a rain jacket.
- Land temperatures are cooler than in previous months: 19-26°C (66-79°F) and breezes are stronger. A sweater will take off the evening chill.
Have you been to the Galapagos islands in June in previous years? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Photo credit: Flickr/Steven Bedard