Ecuador has many different little climates. At the coast you’ll deal with heat and humidity all year round. The rainy season lasts from December to May. When you’re in the mountains, you’ll get cooler the higher you get. In the Amazon, the weather is hot, humid and wet, but the Galapagos Islands are dry all year with an average temperature of 25 degrees.
When to fly to Ecuador
Peak season for visiting mainland Ecuador is June through September and December through January. However, even in the rainy season, conditions are good and travel is still enjoyable. Quito especially is a year-round destination, though be prepared for temperatures to become chilly due to its altitude during the dry season, June through September.
The Galapagos Islands remain relatively dry even in the wet season, so are a good year-round destination. Official peak season is June through August and again December through January; though this is based more on holiday seasons of travellers arriving from the United States and Europe.
December through April is the rainiest season in the jungle.
Ecuador insider information
- Colonial Quito is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a must-see spot for any tourist. Start at the Plaza de la Independencia and visit the cathedral and Presidential Palace. In modern Quito, take a walk down Avenida Amazonas for some shopping, people watching or a drink at one of the many cafés.
- The Galapagos Islands are a major touristic draw for their wildlife. The marine iguana, native to the islands, is a large black iguana which can live in the sea. Charles Darwin wrote of it, “The black Lava rocks on the beach are frequented by large (2-3ft) most disgusting clumsy Lizards […] I call them the imps of darkness.” You may find the giant galapagos tortoises, after which the islands were named, more appealing. The Charles Darwin Research Centre, in Puerto Ayora was founded for conservation of the islands' natural habitat and is the best place to get up close and personal with the tortoises.
- There is also excellent swimming and snorkelling on the islands. The sea life is relatively tame: swim with sea lions, turtles and penguins. The sea lions, and their pups if you visit at the right time of year, are especially fond of divers and will approach and play with them.
- Guayaquil is the largest city in the country and it has the biggest population. The town has been through extensive renovation recently and, though not yet a major tourist spot, its natural beauty and fantastic views are starting to be recognised. For a view of the city, take a walk up the 444 steps at the end of Malecon 2000.
- Ecuador has some culinary delights, and local dishes specific to almost every region. Favourites include lemon-marinated shrimp, corn pancakes and lechon – roasted suckling pig. However, it is for eating cuy, the humble guinea pig, that the Ecuadorians are best known to us.