Galapagos penguins, Galapagos islands

Galapagos Islands: What happens in September

In September, the Humboldt Current continues to bathe the Galapagos Islands with cold, nutrient-rich waters. Marine wildlife is very active. Be ready to snorkel with sea lion pups and to watch Galapagos Penguins torpedoing through the sea!

On Land
  • Penguins are very active in September. On Bartolomé Island, they are courting and breeding.
  • Female sea lions are in heat, especially on the central and western islands. The males (identifiable by their bulging brows and humped back) are barking and fighting to protect their harems. These macho sea lion battles can be quite spectacular, like right out of a nature movie. Be sure not to get caught up in one of their scuffles!
  • Fur seals continue to breed on Fernandina Island.
  • Lava lizards are also mating.
At Sea
  • Whale and dolphin sightings are common near Fernandina and Isabela Islands.
  • Humpback whales can be spotted throughout the Galapagos Islands.
  • Whale sharks sometimes can be seen near Darwin and Wolf Islands.
In the Air
  • Migrant shore birds are resting in the Galapagos Islands, and will stay until March.
  • Sea bird nesting colonies are very active.
  • Many of the Galapagos’ iconic birds continue to nest: Blue-footed, red-footed and masked boobies, frigate birds, flightless cormorants and waved albatross, among others.
  • The low season now begins, with the end of summer vacation for highlander Ecuadorians and Northern Hemisphere visitors. This means you can find some great deals on tours and cruises.

September is the peak of the cold season. Because of the garúa (fine mist) and strong breezes, a rain jacket and sweater are advisable.

  • Air temperatures are brisk, ranging from 19-26ºC (66-76ºF).
  • Seas continue to be choppy in September. If you are prone to seasickness, don’t forget seasickness medication, or you may want to consider land-based tours.
  • Ocean temperatures average 22ºC (72ºF). Although the sea is a bit warmer than in August, you’ll still want a wetsuit for snorkeling.


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


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Photo credit: ms.akr

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