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Quilotoa Crater Lake

Best Time of Year to Visit Ecuador and Galapagos

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The Best Times of Year to Visit Ecuador
From the Pacific coast to the Andes to the Amazon jungle, there’s never a bad time to visit Ecuador. Its location right on the equator helps to stabilize the year-round temperatures meaning there is little seasonal variability, other than the dry season (from May to December) and the wet season (from late December through April).
 
Cotopaxi Volcano and wild horses
Cotopaxi Volcano and wild horses
 
The biggest difference is not the time of year, but rather the destination:
  • The Andes highland region (including the capital city of Quito) has spring-like conditions all year, with temperatures in the 60s F (15-20ºC) during the day that drop to the low 40s or 50s F (5-10ºC) at night. At the peaks of the higher volcanoes and mountains, like Cotopaxi or Quilotoa, temperatures are much colder during the day and can even drop below freezing at night. Light showers are not uncommon.
     
  • The Amazon regions are hot, humid, and wet year-round with a slightly wetter season from April to June and driest months in December and January when some rivers become low and impassable in a motorized canoe. Although the rain can put a temporary pause on your activities, it can also bring a refreshing break from the humidity. It's the rainforest after all, it's supposed to rain.
     
  • The coastal region is impacted significantly by the wet and dry seasons –
    • Dry season: It never (or almost never) rains. Temperatures are cooler and less humid. There are very few bugs during this season on the coast, but cloudless skies require high-SPF sunscreen to protect against its stronger-than-usual effect here around the equator.
    • Wet season: The daily afternoon and evening rain showers can last for several hours and relieve the high humidity of the coastal region. Mornings are usually humid but free of rain. Bug repellant is imperative to protect against the mosquitos.
    • El Niño years also tend to bring in heavy rains and flooding into the low-lying plains of the coastal region.
 
When to visit the Galapagos Islands
Over 600 miles from the mainland, the enchanting Galapagos Islands always have something to offer travelers year-round. Tourism is at its peak during the cool and dry season from June to November. In addition to holidays, this is when traffic is greatest, prices are highest, and booking in advance is imperative. The low season of tourism extends from February to May, during the hot and rainy season, when you can generally find lower prices and deals and book your trip with greater flexibility and options. Temperatures during this time can feel a bit humid or sticky, but the lush greens that the rains bring to the highland regions can make it worth it.
Blue-footed booby mating dance
Blue-footed booby mating dance
The breeding, nesting, and mating rituals of the unique endemic wildlife found in the Galapagos is another way nature enthusiasts choose when to visit. For example, to see the peculiar mating dance of the blue-footed booby, it’s best to go from July to December, while avid whale watchers have the best chance to see the majestic humpback in July, August, and September. If there is a certain animal you’d like to see, make sure to check out our Galapagos wildlife page.
 

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