Cruises & Tours to the Galapagos IslandsEcuador Ministry of Tourism Official Agent

September in Galapagos
Swimming with penguins

Traveling to the Galapagos in September

Sealions mating season
Sealions mating season

Galapagos Weather Averages in September

  • Average Max. temperature: 75°F (24.0°C)
  • Average Min. temperature: 64°F (18.0°C)
  • Average temperature: 70°F (21.0°C)
  • Sea temperature: 72°F (22.0°C)
  • Average Monthly Rainfall: 0.5 in (1.3 cm) in the highlands

If you're planning your trip to the Galapagos Islands for September, then you are assured a great experience. In addition to some of the best weeks to spot dolphins and whales, this is also the time when the climate is the coolest.

During September, the Galapagos Islands experience the lowest annual temperatures, with night temperatures dropping to a brisk 64°F (18°C) and peak temperatures climbing only as high as 75°F (24°). This means that your stay will be very comfortable, as compared with the hotter, humid temperatures that accompany the rainy season (mid-December - early-June).

Similarly, this is also the time of year when rainfall is at its lowest. Even during the wet season, rain generally only comes in short showers and doesn't usually detract from the activities; but if you want to avoid it altogether, then September is your best bet.

It is important to remember that this is the time of year when sea temperatures are at one of their lowest points, so if you are planning to spend a lot of time in the water (diving, snorkeling, swimming) then you should wear a full body wetsuit, which your outfitter can provide if necessary.

Swimming with penguins and sea lions

This is an ideal time to come to the Galapagos if you want to see and swim with the penguins. They are most active during this time, and it's easy to spot them diving while you're snorkeling.

September is also when the sea lions are in heat, meaning that you will likely see courtship displays and mating rituals on the rocky/ sandy beaches where they will breed. Be sure not to get too close, as males can be very aggressive and protective of their territory.

Find great deals during September

September and October are known as the “low season,” when tourist activity tends to slow down. During these months, you can find awesome promotions on cruises and hotels. It is also a less-crowded time to travel to the Galapagos Islands.

Wildlife highlights for September

Galapagos Penguin (spheniscus mendiculus) - most active on Bartholomew Island. These tiny penguins are only about 1.5 feet in length (49 cm) and are the only penguin species found north of the equator, in the Galapagos. There are currently less than 1,000 breeding pairs, and their population is mostly concentrated on Fernandina and Isabela Islands. During September, the Antarctic Humboldt Current blasts nutrient rich, cold water through the Galapagos, making fishing and swimming conditions perfect for this little bird.

Blue-footed boobies (sula nebouxii) - nesting. During September, the blue footed boobies continue their nesting. These birds are native to the Galapagos Islands and have evolved into expert divers, capable of diving deep into the ocean from high in the air or even just from sitting on the water's surface. During the nesting time, they hunt during the day and nest at night. Their defining characteristic is their blue, webbed feet.

Waved albatross (phoebastria irrorata) - nesting. The nesting season for the waved albatross is quite interesting. After the chick is about two weeks old, their parents will scavenge for fish and squid, which they will pre-digest to feed their young. While they are hunting, the chicks are left in small “nursery” groups. The waved albatross is the largest of the Galapagos birds, with a wingspan of up to 7.5 feet (2.3m). They are critically endangered due mainly to long-line fishing, during which a boat drags a baited line through the water - when the albatross tries to take the bait, it often gets hooked and drowns as the boat line drags it under water.

California sea lions (zalophus californianus) - mating. Once they reach sexual maturity (around 9-years-old), the male sea lion will return to the same beach year after year and breed with many females. In one season alone, they can mate with around 16 females. Since the Galapagos species give birth in August, they go into heat again within 20-30 days. Females will start the courtship by posing in submissive positions in front of males. The copulation may take between a few minutes to a few hours; the ensuing gestation period lasts about 11 months.  

Galapagos fur seals (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) - start mating. In September, the mating season begins for this smaller cousin of the California sea lion. Adult males can be up to 5 feet (1.5m) long and weigh up to 140 pounds (64kg); females are smaller, at around 4 feet long and 61 pounds (28kg). Their diet consists of fish, octopus, and squid, and from a young age they are taught to be expert deep-sea divers. Protective bulls will defend their territory of females until their energy store runs out and they need to leave to eat; sometimes, intense fights between bulls will result in their death.

 

Article by Jason Halberstadt

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