Timing a Galapagos Vacation Requires Some Homework

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While the abundance of Galapagos species and mild equatorial climate make for superb sightseeing year-round, visitors with specific interests are advised to bone up on their wildlife biology before booking a Galapagos trip.

While the abundance of Galapagos species and mild equatorial climate make for superb sightseeing year-round, visitors with specific interests are advised to bone up on their wildlife biology before booking a Galapagos trip.

"Some species may only be seen in certain areas and at particular times of year," says Justin Laycob, president of Southern Explorations, a tour operator that organizes Galapagos adventure trips. "Studying species of interest before choosing a Galapagos tour itinerary will put the visitor in the right place at the right time," he recommends.

The dry season begins in June and lasts until November when air and water temperatures start to cool with the arrival of the Humboldt Current. This current floods the Galapagos waters with food sources, making it a great time to observe certain seabirds. The waved albatross, for instance, breeds in the Galapagos between April and December before heading back out to sea for the rest of the year.

On the other hand, visibility is reduced during the dry season by the emergence of a misty drizzle called "garua." Photographers wishing for vivid blue sky as a backdrop may find January to April more to their liking since rain showers during the wet season are usually brief and followed by clear skies. The wet season's calmer seas and warmer water temperatures are also ideal for snorkeling enthusiasts. For birders, the wet season provides an opportunity to observe some of the rare migrating shore and sea birds. The green sea turtle makes its one trip ashore to lays eggs between December and March.

Visitors satisfied with seeing a profusion of wildlife, no matter what the species, will be happy on a Galapagos cruise or land-based tour any time of year. Southern Explorations offers a multitude of Galapagos trips ranging from seven to 10 days. Details may be found on the company website at http://www.southernexplorations.com.

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