When to visit Ecuador
Ecuador’s diverse landscapes, from rainforests to Andes Mountains, make the ideal time to visit vary by region. Microclimates and regional distinctions, rather than distinct seasons, dictate weather changes. Year-round, the mainland offers wildlife sightings in the cloud forests and Amazon, while hiking in the Avenue of the Volcanoes is a treat. The mountains are warmest and driest from June to September, but microclimates can cause exceptions. In the Amazon, it’s warm and rainy throughout the year, with drier spells in August, September, December, January, and February. The lowlands can get hot, exceeding 86°F/30°C. The coast has distinct wet and dry seasons, with the best beach weather from December to April, and cooler, overcast conditions from May to November, with infrequent rain.
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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