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Best time to visit Ecuador

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands offer visitors an opportunity to explore a unique blend of natural wonders, cultural experiences, and historical landmarks. Read on to discover the best times to visit Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands…

Ecuador is a small country with a wealth of wonders that attracts travelers from around the world. From the stunning colonial architecture of Quito to the incredible wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador offers a diverse range of experiences. Explore the Andean highlands, with their snow-capped peaks and traditional indigenous markets, or relax on the pristine beaches of the Pacific Coast.

But while Ecuador may be small in terms of area and population, its extreme topography means that different regions have distinct climates. Scroll down to find out more…

Andean Highlands

Horses in Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador
Cotopaxi is the most active volcano and second highest summit of Ecuador.

The Andean highlands, home to cities like Quito and Cuenca, have a mild climate that remains relatively consistent throughout the year. However, there are distinct wet and dry seasons, which can affect different regions of the country. The best time to visit the Andean highlands is during the dry season, which runs from June to September and December to January. During this time, daytime temperatures range from the low 60s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit. In the evenings, temperatures can drop significantly, so it is essential to bring layers of clothing.

The wet season in the Andes runs from October to May and is characterized by frequent rain showers and cloudy skies and temperatures ranging from the low 50s to the mid-60s. Despite the rain, the wet season is a beautiful time to visit the Andes, as the landscape is lush and green, and the countryside is dotted with colorful wildflowers.

Amazon rainforest

River and jungle view at bird watching observation tower in the Amazon, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
Bird watching observation tower at Yasuni National Park

The best time to visit Ecuador's Amazon rainforest is during the dry season, which runs from June to November. The drier weather makes it easier to explore the rainforest. Daytime temperatures during this period typically range from the mid-80s to low 90s Fahrenheit, with lower humidity levels. It is also the best time for bird watching, as many species migrate to the region during this period.

Although the wet season (December thru May) can be challenging for hiking and exploring, it is an excellent time to see the lush vegetation and flowering plants that thrive in the rainforest.

Coastal regions

The best time to visit the coastal regions of mainland Ecuador is from June to September when the weather is dry and sunny, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit. The beaches are less crowded during this time, making it an ideal time to relax and soak up the sun. From December to May, the coast experiences its wet season, with frequent rain showers and high humidity levels. The wet season is an excellent time to surf or whale watch, as the ocean temperatures are warmer, and humpback whales can be spotted along the coast.

The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands, located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, have a unique climate that’s influenced by ocean currents and trade winds. The best time to visit the Galapagos is during the dry season, which runs from June to December. During this time, temperatures range from the mid-60s to mid-80s Fahrenheit, with low humidity levels and a refreshing ocean breeze. The water temperatures are also cooler, making it an ideal time for snorkeling and diving to see the incredible marine life that the Galapagos are famous for.

Marina iguana in the Galapagos Islands
Marine iguana wading the waters of the Galapagos

The Galapagos’ wet season, characterized by higher temperatures, humidity, and occasional rain showers, runs from December to May. But it’s not all bad! The wet season is also the time when the ocean currents bring nutrient-rich waters to the islands, attracting an abundance of marine life, including sea turtles, sharks, and colorful fish. What’s more, the islands are filled with lush vegetation and colorful wildflowers, making it an ideal time for bird watching and exploring the volcanic landscapes.

For an in-depth discussion of the best times to visit the Galapagos Islands, check out our detailed article on the topic.

The bottom line

There’s no wrong time to visit Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands as they are both year-round destinations. Whether you’re exploring the cultural heritage of the Andes, relaxing on the beaches of the coast, or discovering the incredible wildlife of the Galapagos, Ecuador is a destination that should be on every traveler's bucket list.

Keen to experience Ecuador’s incredible diversity for yourself? Check out our perennially popular Galapagos and Amazon tour. Or speak to a Destination Expert about crafting the bespoke Ecuadorean adventure of your dreams.

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