🐒 Galapagos in November: Tours, Weather & Travel Tips (2024)

Visiting Galapagos in November blog cover graphic.  Text overlaying an image of a group of Galapagos penguins sat on a rock.

The beginning of November is one of the quietest months in the Galapagos Islands, making it an excellent time to visit. Thanksgiving weekend, however, is one of the busiest of the year!

November is also typically when the seasonal shift from “cool and dry” to “wet and warm” begins.

If you are reading this guide, it is likely that you are either considering or have already decided on a visit to Galapagos in November. Accordingly, we have put together a compilation of the information most helpful for planning your trip.

In addition to weather and climate information, we will also highlight some of the best tours that are only available in November, seasonal snorkeling & wildlife considerations, and how the upcoming 2023 El NiΓ±o may impact your time in Ecuador.

If you have any questions left unanswered, please let us know in the comments below!

For those still deciding on when to visit the Galapagos, we recommend also reading our complete guide on the Best Time to Visit Galapagos: Pros & Cons for Each Month.

Disclosure: In order to keep providing you with free content, this post likely contains affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase through one of these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. So a HUGE thank you to you if you click one of these links πŸ™‚

πŸ‘πŸ½ Is November a Good Time to Visit the Galapagos Islands?

Beautiful daytime photo of the pristine beaches of Bartolome Island taken from the iconic viewpoint.

November is an excellent time to visit Galapagos in terms of small crowds, sunny (enough) weather, and slightly cooler temperatures.

What rain should be expected tends to occur at the end of the month, but even this is limited.

The water will be starting to warm up with the return of the Panama Current. This transitionary time is great for snorkeling, as the water is getting warmer but the animals that the nutrient-rich Humboldt Current attracts are still around and active.

If you’re interested tour to Galapagos in November that combines culture, nature, and even a touch of luxury, we highly recommend Adventure Journey’s upcoming Thanksgiving Special: Discover the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador Cruise.

Over 7 days, you’ll discover the best that the Galapagos and Ecuador have to offer with expert guides and all of the planning done for you. This is very similar to the tour we took and absolutely loved, but includes a luxury cruise as well!

🌀 Galapagos Islands Weather in November

A lone child plays on the beach at Playa de Oro on San Cristobal island.

The Galapagos Islands are on the equator, meaning the weather is mostly consistent year-round. Of course, everywhere on the planet has some seasonality!

November is a shoulder season. This means the weather is slightly less predictable as the region transitions out of the “cool and dry season” and into the “warm and wet” season.

Visitors of the Galapagos Islands in November should expect cloudy skies most of the day with enough breaks in the clouds for the sun to come out.

Rainfall tends to be limited until December, but some early storms do blow in and out from time to time.

Temperatures during the day will be idyllic, but nights can get a little chilly.

Galapagos Weather Averages in November

  • Avg Max Temperature: 78Β°F (26Β°C)
  • Avg Min Temperature: 66Β°F (19Β°C)
  • Avg Sea Temperature: 72Β°F (22Β°C)
  • Avg Monthly Rainfall: 0.2 inches (5mm)
  • Avg Clear Sky Daily: 3.5 hours

🚍 Best Tours to the Galapagos in November

A tour guide for Inspiring Ecuador teaches her group about the endangered Galapagos tortoise they are seeing on a visit to El Chato Ranch.

Adventure Journey’s November Cruise

We visited the Galapagos with Adventure Journeys and while our tour was not a cruise, we can honestly recommend the company wholeheartedly.

A cruise is the best way to travel the Galapagos islands in three important ways:

  1. No pre-planning required! Just hop on and be shown the best the region has to offer.
  2. Maximum time efficiency as no time is lost to check-ins or travel.
  3. You get to see islands only accessible by cruise.

The tour that Adventure Journeys will be running this November was designed to show visitors the best of Ecuador and the Galapagos.

Highlights of the 7-day/6-night tour include:

  • Visit a Sustainable Sacha Warmi Women Project
  • Stay at Papallacta Volcanic Hot Springs
  • 5* hotels on mainland Ecuador
  • Thanksgiving on board a 16-passenger boutique ship
  • Beautiful cabins with ocean views
  • Visit six Galapagos islands including Santa Cruz, North Seymour, and Genovesa Islands
  • Family-friendly trip

Other November Tours

Aerial photo of a Galapagos cruise ship docked off the volcanic shoreline of San Cristobal island.

You will find a number of other tour options for November in Galapagos, including both land-based tours and cruises.

These vary in length, itineraries, and inclusions so be sure to read the details carefully when making comparisons.

We only have personal experience with Inspiring Ecuador, so you will have to rely on the reviews for any that interest you!

🐧 Wildlife in Galapagos in November

The main attraction of the Galapagos Islands is the incredible and unique wildlife that calls it home.

Fortunately, most animal inhabitants of the Galapagos are perennial, meaning they are always around. However, there are a few migratory visitors and even the permanent occupants have behavioral differences that vary seasonally.

The list below explains what you can expect from the most popular animals in the Galapagos Islands during the month of November.


A large male tortoise towers above a much smaller female tortoise at El Chato ranch.

Giant Tortoises
These animals for which the islands are named (Galapagos is Spanish for tortoise) are active year-round.

Each island has its own unique species of tortoise, except for Pinta Island which went extinct with the passing of Lonesome George in June 2012.

A pair of blue footed boobies on Isabela island.

Blue Footed Booby
November is a great time to witness the incredible feeding behavior of the boobies, which torpedo the water from the skies to catch fish.

You may also spot a few chicks still remaining, particularly on EspaΓ±ola and Isabela islands.

Two Galapagos penguins stood on dark lava rock on Bartolome Island.

Galapagos Penguin
With only about 1000 active pairs left, penguin sightings are a rarity… but November visitors are in luck!

November is perhaps the time to see these crowd favorites as they begin their courtship rituals and nesting.

A well camouflaged marine iguana perches on lava rock on Isabela Beach.

Marine Iguana
Towards the end of November, you may start to see marine iguanas beginning mating behaviors.

Don’t be alarmed to see a couple of marine iguanas having it out as they fight to win the attraction of potential mates.

An adorable baby sea lion is seen soaking in the sunset light on San Cristobal island in the Galapagos.

Baby Sea Lions 
Galapagos visitors in November might get to see one of the most adorable things in this world; sea lion pups figuring out this whole “life” thing!

Underwater photo of a whale shark in crystal clear water in the Galapagos islands.

Whale Sharks
The largest fish in the world, the “Whale Shark” migrates through the Galapagos each year at precisely the same time.

Their migration begins in June, peaks over the summer months, and finishes in November.

A brown noddy perched on lava rock at Los Tuneles, Isabela in the Galapagos.

Brown Noddy
Breeding season for this unusual white-capped, brown-bodied bird is at its peak during November in the Galapagos Islands.


πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ Galapagos Tourism & Crowds in November

The final stop on Day 2 of our 10 day Galapagos itinerary is here at Playa Punta Carola on San Cristobal.

Early November is one of the quietest times of the year for tourism in the Galapagos. In fact, this is one of the best reasons to visit the islands during this time.

Be warned, however, that the Thanksgiving holiday is a particularly popular time to visit!

While crowds will be smaller than usual even in early November, this does not mean you can rely on last-minute bookings! Demand is typically higher than supply for most services in the Galapagos Islands, even during the shoulder seasons.

As much as possible, try to book tours, accommodation, and transport far in advance. This is especially important if you plan on island hopping via the ferry.


🀿 Snorkeling in Galapagos in November

Underwater photo of a sea lion in the Galapagos islands catching sunlight while spinning around in crystal clear water.

There is no bad time for snorkeling in the Galapagos, but there is a “good, better, best” qualifier.

The Humboldt Current brings a cool-water stream to the Galapagos Islands which is nutrient-dense, attracting a huge amount of aquatic life. However, the cooler makes it harder to spend (and enjoy) significant time undersea, especially without a wetsuit. It also has poorer visibility.

As the Panama Current starts to make its way south, the water warms up and visibility improves, but wildlife activity decreases.

November marks the end of the “cool & dry season” and the water will be starting to warm up with the return of the Panama Current.

This transitionary time is great for snorkeling, as the water is getting warmer but the wildlife that the nutrient-rich Humboldt Current attracts are still around.


🎭 Events & Festivals in Galapagos in November

There are two bank holidays in Ecuador in November, which fall on back-to-back days.

November 2 is the Dia de los Difuntos, also known as the Day of the Dead or All Souls Day. This is celebrated in all of Ecuador by families visiting the cemeteries where loved ones are buried.

A treat known as “guaguas” are sold in every bakery for the holiday as well. Guaguas are colorfully-iced bread shaped like a swaddled infant and occasionally filled with jelly.

November 3 is Independence of Cuenca (Independencia de Cuenca), commemorating a historic day when the city of Cuenca declared independence.


⚠️ Important: How El Niño will Affect the Galapagos in 2023

Two people walk home as a torrential downpour pummels Santa Cruz island in the Galapagos causing the streets to flood as a result of the 2023 El NiΓ±o weather event.

2023 is an El NiΓ±o year and could be a particularly intense one, the effects of which have already been seen. The Galapagos have had heavier rain than usual and the water temperature remains higher than typical.

What is El NiΓ±o?

El NiΓ±o is a semi-frequent climatic shift that occurs every few years which largely affects the equatorial Pacific region.

In simple terms, El NiΓ±o will massively impact wildlife in Ecuador and especially in the Galapagos by bringing unusually warm and nutrient-poor water to the region.

How Will El NiΓ±o Impact the Galapagos Islands?

The warming ocean and subsequent lack of nutrients will have a dramatic impact on the wildlife that inhabits the Galapagos islands.

While most animals on the island have begun to form adaptations to help see them through, previous El NiΓ±o cycles have proven devastating to the ocean-dependent critters. These notably include penguins, marine iguanas, and sea lions.

El NiΓ±o also tends to cause extreme weather prone to floods and droughts.

While this extreme weather is cause for concern on a more global scale, it is unlikely to have any dramatic implications for visitors traveling to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador in November.

πŸ“š More Galapagos Islands Travel Guides

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Hopefully, this guide has answered all of your questions, now it’s time for the rest of your planning!

These guides will help you through the process step-by-step, providing insight on everything from finding flights to top activities and so much more.

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πŸ’¬ Final Thoughts on Visiting Galapagos in November

The two of us work very hard to create these free travel guides to help you plan your dream vacation. If you think we’ve done a good job and would like to say thanks, please consider clicking the donate button below πŸ™‚

We truly hope you have found this guide to visiting the Galapagos Islands in November useful as you plan your holiday.

Now we’d like to hear from YOU!

Were any questions left unanswered? Are you returning from a visit and feel anything needs to be updated? Conversely, was this perfect in every way?

Let us know your thoughts and help us help future readers by leaving a note in the comments below!

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Written by
Adam Marland is a professional travel blogger and landscape photographer from Oregon. After over a decade of experience as a freelance travel photographer, Adam found national acclaim when he became the National Park Foundation's β€œChief Exploration Officer” in 2021.

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