Galapagos Islands Update

Posted by Greg Estes on January 8, 2016
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The Galápagos Islands have been experiencing El Niño conditions with sea temperatures above normal for the past eight months. Sea surface temperatures are currently in the low 80s° F (27-28° C). El Niño conditions are expected to continue although recent strong winds and cool upwelling suggest that these conditions could be on the wane. Sea surface temperatures are likely to remain near 80° F (27° C) in January and February. Although it is difficult to predict sea surface temperatures in the islands, warm conditions are expected to prevail in January and February. It is therefore likely that sea surface temperatures at most snorkel sites will be between 77° and 83°F (25-28° C). As far as wetsuits, I will be wearing a full-length skin suit or thin 2-3 mm wetsuit and would recommend the following:

For those very sensitive to the cold, a full-length 2-3-mm wetsuit is recommended. It should always be remembered that differences in water temperatures between islands can vary as much as 10° F (5.5° C) due to local upwelling.

Those who are NOT sensitive to the cold should be fine with a full-length skin suit. A full-length skin suit is recommended as it offers protection from the sun. Note: Although wetsuits can be rented in the islands skin suits are not available in Galapagos.

With high sea surface temperatures we may get some rain in January and February. Rain gear is recommended (particularly a dry bag for cameras and binoculars). Some sites in the islands have been experiencing heavy rain showers while others remain dry.

For current updates on sea surface temperatures go to

For current updates on sea surface temperature anomalies go to

And for predictions concerning El Niño/La Niña for the next three months go to