When to go to Ecuador
When to go to Ecuador
Our Guide on When to Visit Ecuador
As Ecuador is such a diverse country, with everything from rainforest to coastal beaches and the soaring Andes Mountains, the best time to visit depends on which area you plan to travel to. The weather variations are typically the result of micro-climates and regional differences instead of defined seasons. Wildlife sightings on the mainland can be enjoyed throughout the year, including in the cloud forests and the Amazon, as can hiking in the Avenue of the Volcanoes.
The warmest and driest months in the mountains are from June through September, although there are some exceptions due to the various microclimates. Outside of those months, the typical weather brings clear, sunny mornings and wet, cloud afternoons. In the Amazon, it’s warm, rainy, and humid all year long, although August and September, December, January and February get more breaks from daily rain with more sun. In the lowlands, it can get quite hot, especially on a clear day, with temperatures often climb above 86 degrees Fahrenheit/30 Celsius. The coast is the most predictable, with well-defined dry and wet seasons. The best time to visit for a beach getaway is between December and April when there are more clear blue skies with occasional showers and warm temperatures. Between May and November, it will be cooler and overcast, although rain is infrequent.
In the Galapagos Islands, the climate brings hot, sunny days with some heavy showers between January and June. The rest of the year tends to see overcast skies with little to no rain. However, El Nino years can change all this, bringing huge fluctuations in the archipelago’s weather patterns, including much higher levels of rain here and along the coast.
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My love for South America started when I was living in Lima, Peru, and family and friends came to visit. That year I went to Machu Picchu 5 times! I do not have one drop of Latin blood in me, which is painfully obvious if you see me dance, and yet without realizing it for the past 15 years South America has been my home.
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Best time to go to Ecuador
Weather patterns do vary, this is just a guide based on historical patterns and data.
January - May
Visiting Ecuador between January and May is popular among those who are planning to visit the Galapagos Islands as this is when the waters that surround the archipelago will be at their calmest and warmest. Please see our full Guide to the Galapagos for more details. Mainland Ecuador, other than the coast, experiences its coolest, wettest period now with rainfall in the form of afternoon showers. It’s a great time to enjoy the beaches as it tends to stay dry this time of year other than occasional afternoon showers.
In terms of the number of visitors, this is the low season although Ecuador doesn’t experience the fluctuations that most countries do as it’s enjoyable to visit year-round. Still, you might be able to find some discounts on airfare and accommodation. The exception is the week before Easter, Semana Santa, which is when many locals take their vacations and there will be religious parades across the country.
June - September
June, July, August, and September are the warmest and driest months for visiting the mainland of Ecuador. You can expect to enjoy plenty of sunshine and clear blue skies with fewer showers that make it more enjoyable to hike in the cloud forests and watch the many different birds. As the kids will be out of school, June through August, is the busiest time of year in the Galapagos although the weather isn’t necessarily at its most ideal, especially for diving, a time when there is poor visibility. Wildlife will be visible and active as it is throughout the year, however. Please see our full Guide to the Galapagos for more details.
One of the highlights of the year, Corpus Christi, is celebrated in June, shortly after Trinity Sunday. It’s well-worth attending, especially around Cotopaxi and in the highlands where the celebrations are elaborate, and many villages have their own traditional music, dance, and costumes.
October - Decemeber
With South America’s national holidays approaching and the water around the Galapagos Islands becoming calmer, October, November, and December are ideal months for visiting Ecuador which means you’ll want to book your reservations, tours, and/or cruises well in advance. If you can visit the Amazon in December, it tends to be a great time to explore as it won’t be as rainy. In the Galapagos, it will be dry with cloudy skies unless it’s an El Nino year when there is likely to be more rain. Please see our full Guide to the Galapagos for more details. It’s not the best time to visit the coast, where it will be overcast, muggy, and unpleasantly cool. You can expect spring-like conditions in the Andes, with temperatures typically in the 60s Fahrenheit/15 to 20 Celsius year-round, although it will be cooler in the higher elevations.
If you happen to be in Guayaquil on the coast for Independence Day, October 9th, there will be a very lively atmosphere with street parties and fireworks.
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