Though often used as a gateway for the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador is home to so much more. There are different highlights year round, so the best time to visit Ecuador depends on when you want to go.
The country has two main seasons - a wet, warm season which runs from January to April and a dry, cool season from May to December.
Temperatures vary depending on what altitude you’re in (there are both mountains and beaches in Ecuador) and the Oriente region, home to the rainforest, can have rain at any time in the year.
What are the seasons in Ecuador?
Though Ecuador is usually thought of as a year round destination, Ecuador’s busiest time of year is coincides with school holidays: June to September and December to early January.
Ecuador’s dry season is also its cool, summer season. It usually runs between May and December, with warmer temperatures at the tail ends of those months. On the coast, the dry season is usually muggy and cool, so it’s best to avoid a trip to the beaches during these months.
From January to April Ecuador is wet and hot, though the amount of rainfall varies from region to region. On the coast, the mornings tend to be sunny, so it’s actually the best time to visit during these months - you usually just get a bit of short rainfall in the afternoon.
The best time for outdoor activities in Ecuador
Climbing in the Highlands
Ecuador’s Andes Mountains are home to some of Ecuador’s major cities, including Quito, but that’s not the only reason to spend time in the area. Sitting along the Ring of Fire, the Andes are peppered with mystical volcanoes and stunning summits – a must-see for altitude junkies! The volcanoes make their own weather, and as with all mountains, what happens at lower altitudes is not a reflection of temperatures on the summits. It could rain at any time, it could be warm at any time, and nights can be bitterly cold throughout the year. In general in the highlands, the warmer wet season (January to April) is considered the time to avoid hiking, so you’re better off going there around June to September.
Trekking through the rainforest
The Oriente, Ecuador’s eastern lowlands (and home to the rainforest), is wet and warm throughout the year, and doesn’t really subscribe to the normal seasons. Even during the “dry months”, the area sees sudden, heavy rainfall. However, the region is biodiverse, rich with wildlife, pristine and sparsely populated, so it is well worth a visit to explore this incredible area.
Visit the Galapagos
Galapagos is a great year-round destination. If you’re looking for information on the best time to go to the Galapagos, you can find it here.
Ecuador is made up of three distinct regions: the Andes, the eastern Oriente region (home to the rainforest) and the coastal lowlands to the west. From swamps to volcanoes, mangrove forests to beaches, Ecuador’s landscape is rich and fascinating, thanks in part to its position on the equator and the various altitudes its different landscapes lie on. As a result, the weather varies – usually dependant on the altitude you’re in. There are two distinct seasons – a wet and a dry season – with a relatively quick transition period between the two.
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