The best time to visit Ecuador

The absolute best time of the year to visit Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands are the months January (the Pacific coast, the Galápagos islands and the rainforest), February (the Pacific coast, the Galápagos islands and the rainforest) and June, July and August (the highlands and Quito).

It is important to know that Ecuador is a year-round travel destination. Despite its relative small size, compared to most other South American countries, Ecuador has a great diversity of natural landscapes, cultures and wildlife.

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The best time to visit the different regions of Ecuador

Ecuador can roughly be divided in four regions, below you find the best time to travel to each of these regions.

  •  Quito and highlands (Andes region): the dry season lasts from June to September in the highlands, this is the best time of the year to visit the Ecuadorian Andes. However, the weather in the mountains can be, like in most mountains, very unpredictable. Sunny weather can change into rain in moments. During the day the temperature can rise up to the 77ºF / 25ºC, whereas during the night it can drop to 41ºF / 5ºC.
  •  Pacific coast: the coastal areas face a warm and humid climate from January to May (the wet season). It seems contradictory, but this is the best time of the year to visit the Ecuadorian beaches (despite the daily afternoon rain showers). This period however can be crowded due to vacations of the local inhabitants. July and August are less suitable for visiting the beaches, but these are the best months for Whale-watching!
  •  The rainforests and lowlands of El Oriente: it rains during the most time of the year, exception is the period from December to March, these are normally the driest months. Try to avoid the Ecuadorian rainforest during the months of August and September, at this time of the year normally the most rain is received and roads can be blocked due to the weather conditions.
  •  The Galápagos islands: there is a wide variety of wildlife during the year, meaning that you can visit the Galápagos islands year-round. Only the Albatross flies out in December and won't return to the islands before March. The dry season (June to December) is often cooler and misty and might be less recommendable to visit the Galápagos islands. People suffering from sea sickness better avoid the rough-sea months from July to August. There is a humid climate from January to June, where temperatures reach their highest levels in February (best for snorkelling). The January to May period is the high season for the Galápagos islands.

Tourist numbers peak during the North American and European holidays: mid-December to January and June to August. Higher demand is also resulting in higher prices, if you visit Ecuador (or cruise around the Galápagos islands) during these periods it is recommendable to book cruises or popular accommodations in advance.

Ecuador
Amazing Ecuador

Best time to visit quilotoa, Ecuador
Beautiful Quilotoa
Ecuador life at its purest
Ecuador life at its purest

Ecuador
Ecuador love life

Weather and seasons of Ecuador

Ecuador only has two weather seasons during the year: the rainy season and the dry season. The seasons however are much dependent on altitude and geographical location, see below for an overview:

  •  Dry season: Highlands (June to October), El Oriente (September to December) and the Coastal areas and the Galápagos islands (drier and cooler from June to December)
  •  Rainy season: Highlands (October to May, not much rain though), the Coastal areas and the Galápagos islands (hot and rainy from January to May, it seems contradictory, but this is the best time to go to these locations) and El Oriente (January to August, July and August are the wettest months).

There is a large variation in weather among the different regions of the country. Much is related to the altitude of an area. Most of Ecuador's rainfall is received in the months February to May, as clearly can be seen on the weather overview picture below. Please, keep in mind that average temperatures are shown below, higher altitude areas are normally colder than lower altitude areas.

Temperature and precipitation overview (°F) Temperature and precipitation overview (°C)
Weather of Ecuador (°F) Weather of Ecuador (°C)

Map and current weather of Ecuador

Drag the yellow iconStreetview iconto a location on the map for the "Google streetview" mode.
Click on the weather icon to see the forecast for the next days.
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Best time to visit specific destinations in Ecuador

  •  Baños: nice city at the foot of an active volcano and many hot spring mineral baths in the surroundings.
  •  Canoa: small beach town.
  •  Cuenca: third largest city in Ecuador and listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Trust site.
  •  Cuyabeno: wild life reserve.
  •  Esmeraldas: very popular beach in Ecuador.
  •  Guamote: a nice and authentic Andes village.
  •  Guaranda Guayaquil: largest city of the country and the largest port city.
  •  Loja: the oldest colonial city of the country.
  •  Mindo: perfect bird watching in a cloud forest setting.
  •  Montañita: world famous surfing beach. See also our Ecuador Forum for the best time to go to Montañita beach.
  •  Parque Nacional Cotopaxi: there is no 'best time to visit' the Cotopaxi volcano, you simply have to be lucky with the weather. The Cotopaxi volcano is the heart of the Cotopaxi National Park. Make sure that you are well prepared, that you are acclimatized and that you hire a professional guide before climbing this beautiful snow-capped volcano.
  •  Podocarpus National Park:
  •  Puerto López:
  •  Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve:
  •  Puyo: nice jungle town.
  •  Quilotoa Loop: spectacular hiking around Andes villages and beautiful crater lake (see video). The best time to visit the Quilotoa loop is from June to September (the dry season), see also our forum.
  •  Quito: second highest capital of the world with a well preserved colonial center.
  •  Riobamba: starting point of the famous train ride down the "Nariz del Diablo" and gateway to Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest peak.
  •  Salinas: beautiful beaches and great little ocean-front restaurants. The best time to visit Salinas is from December to April, also see this link.
  •  Tena: jungle town.
  •  Vilcabamba: this is a small town where you can relax, enjoy the nature and visit good restaurants. There are plenty of day-walk or trekking possibilities in the area around the village. The village has year-round a comfortable temperature. However, during the rainy season (November to April) the surrounding valley is at its greenest. It can be windy and dry in July and August.
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Ecuador holidays

Below you find 2 recommended travel adventures in Ecuador, organized by G Adventures.

Ecuador Amazon, Hot Springs & Volcanoes Full Ecuador
Ecuador Amazon, Hot Springs & Volcanoes Full Ecuador

People who want to leave shortly, can find good last minute deals here: save up to 25% on Last Minute Adventure Travel Packages

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Skiing in Ecuador

There is no serious commercial skiing possible in Ecuador, in the sense of a proper ski infrastructure (e.g. ski lifts). However, there are companies that offer (day) skitrips (mountaineering) to Volcano's. The Cotopaxi volcano is one of them. Ski mountaineering means: hiking up thousands of meters and ski down off the "beaten track".

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Interactive 'best time to visit countries' World Map

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Do you have a question about visiting Ecuador? Or do you want to share your knowledge of Ecuador with other travelers? Please, visit our Ecuador forum.

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