Swallow-tailed gull with chick, Genovesa Island, Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands: What Happens in March

It’s Summer in the Galapagos Islands!

March receives the most precipitation in these desert isles (though not every day), and the Highlands and the arid coastal areas are lush with vegetation. The sun is intense (use plenty of protection!) and humidity is high.

You will have no doubt you are in a tropical paradise.

On Land
  • Marine iguanas are nesting on Fernandina and North Seymour islands.
  • Their cousins, the land iguanas, are also nesting.
  • New-born giant Galapagos tortoises are emerging from their shells. In some areas, these gentle giants are still laying eggs in the wild.
At Sea
  • Green sea turtles are nesting on Galapagos beaches. Be sure to follow all special instructions about staying away from their nesting areas.
In the Air
  • Male Great Frigatebirds are inflating their red throat pouches, part of their mating and nesting rituals. You can catch the action on San Cristobal and Genovesa (Tower) islands.
  • The March equinox (19-21 March, depending on the year) marks the return of the Waved Albatross to Española Island.
  • Galapagos Penguins are still very active in the water, especially around Isabela Island.
  • Keep your eyes on the cliffs, as you have a good chance of seeing fluffy Swallow-tailed Gull chicks.
  • Some years, pre-Lenten Carnaval, which ends on Ash Wednesday, occurs in March. Other years, it is Easter (Semana Santa) that is observed during this month. (Click here to see future dates of Ash Wednesday and here for future dates of Semana Santa, which runs from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.) Galapagos is a popular destination for vacationing Ecuadorians during both of these holidays. Expect higher prices and more sightings of Homo sapiens.
  • Outside of these holidays, it is the low season in these Islands, which means you can find some great deals on tours and cruises.

March is summertime in the Galapagos Islands. Days are hot with strong sun tempered by sporadic showers, and evenings pleasantly are cool.

  • Daytime air temperatures reach 31ºC (88ºF) and drop to 23ºC (74ºF) at night.
  • The Highlands receive up to 5 centimeters (2 inches) in March. Even though it will rain most days, you can still expect about six hours of clear skies per day.
  • The sea is warm (25ºC / 77ºF), even out at the western isles. Visibility is fantastic, making for great snorkeling with penguins and colorful tropical fish.
  • Expect challenging disembarkations at Bartholomew, Gardner Bay, North Seymour and Puerto Egas (Santiago Island) due to deep surges from the north.


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

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Photo credit: claumoho

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