When to go

Climate

Ecuador's climate is so varied and variable that any time of the year is good for a visit. In the highlands temperatures vary more in the course of a day and with altitude than they do with the seasons, which mainly reflect changes in rainfall. Every valley seems to have its own microclimate but precipitation patterns generally depend on whether a particular area is closer to the eastern or western slopes of the Andes. In most of the highlands June to September are dry and October to May are wet, but there is sometimes a short dry spell in December or January. To the east, however, October to February are dry and March to September are wet. There is also variation in annual rainfall from north to south, with the southern highlands being drier.

Along the Pacific coast, rainfall likewise drops almost linearly from north to south, so that it can rain throughout the year in northern Esmeraldas and seldom at all near the Peruvian border. January to May is the hottest and rainiest time of the year, while the dry season is June to December. Between June and September, the coast can be a bit cool, when mornings may be grey and misty but the sun shines brightly the rest of the day.

In the Oriente, as in the rest of the Amazon basin, heavy rain can fall at any time, but it is usually wettest from March to September. The Galápagos are hot from January to April, when heavy but brief showers are likely. From May to December is the cooler misty
garúa
season.

Tourist seasons

Ecuador as a whole is not overcrowded at any time but Galápagos tours are best booked well in advance throughout the year. The high international tourist season is June to early September, which is the busiest time for Quito hotels, Galápagos and most organized tours. There is a shorter tourist season between December and January. Most Ecuadoreans take long weekends around Carnaval, Holy Week,
Finados
(2 November) and over New Year, when popular resort areas (especially beaches) may become busy and prices rise accordingly.
This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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