When is the best time to visit Ecuador and Galapagos?
There are several different climate zones in Ecuador, often close to each other. It is possible to experience several different types of climate on any given day during your trip to Ecuador. Due to its proximity to the equator, Ecuador never really experiences cold weather. However, the country is set at a high altitude which prevents it from becoming exceedingly warm.
The Galapagos experience cool weather between June to December, with temperatures ranging between 59 to 77°F. During the dry season (October – December), the islands are particularly warm. The best time to travel to Galapagos is between December and May when the temperature is at a pleasant 80°F and the waves are more gentle.
With frequent afternoon showers, January is cool and wet in Ecuador. It’s a fairly busy time of the year with the New Year crowds dispersing only by the second half. In the Galapagos, the weather is sunny and bright and the sea is calm and warm making it a very popular time to visit. Day time averages are around the mid-80s in Manta and Guayaquil, in the mid-60s in Quinto and between 80-83°F in the Galapagos.
- Witness the unique courtship rituals of birds at Isabela Island and North Seymour Island
- Don’t forget your binoculars as you head to Mindo, the birding capital of Ecuador
Quito and the surrounding regions continue to experience wet days with cool temperatures. It’s a mixed bag on the coast with sunny mornings followed by brief yet heavy downpours in the afternoons. It’s warm and rainy in the Galapagos with average daytime highs in the mid-80s, nighttime lows and sea temperatures in the upper 70s.
- Observe the nesting activities of the Galapagos giant turtle and green sea turtles of the island
- Enjoy a riot of colors and sounds at the Carneval in Guarda
Rainfall reduces in the Galapagos islands leaving behind a trail of verdant landscapes. In Ecuador, the rain picks up across the country even though you can expect warm temperatures in most parts. Quito, the capital city, is overcast with a near-constant cloud cover and average day time temperatures around 64°F.
- Spot colonies of sea lions basking under the sun in the Galapagos Islands
- Be part of Quito’s Easter celebrations
April is the rainiest month of the year in Ecuador but also the warmest. The weather on the coast is characterized by sunny days and afternoon thunderstorms. In the Galapagos, precipitation levels are lower than previous months making April a good month to travel to the island.
- It’s a great time to spot the monogamous Albatross at Española Island
- Go on an exciting adventure as you hop on the Devil’s Nose train ride
Rainfall levels drop significantly along the coast and the highlands of Ecuador accompanied by a slight drop in temperatures. In the Ecuadorian Amazon, however, rainfall levels inch up. The Galapagos is headed toward peak tourist season with average high temperatures around 82°F.
- Watch blue-footed boobies put on a show of a lifetime as they dance to attract a mate
- Visit the Charles Darwin Research Center at Isla Santa Cruz
In the sea surrounding the Galapagos islands, the water gets cooler and choppier. June sees the maximum amount of rainfall in the Amazon. The rest of Ecuador is heading towards drier conditions and the peak tourist season. Quito experiences perfect sightseeing weather with clear skies and a daytime average temperature around 68°F. The coast continues to have day time temperature readings in the mid to upper 80s.
- Head to Otavalo as the town comes alive for the Inti Raymi festival
- Soak up some sun on the beaches of Montañita
July is one of the best months to travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos. Day time temperatures in the Galapagos are a pleasant 77°F while readings in Quito, Otavalo and Cuenca are between 65°F – 70°F. Temperatures in towns along the coast are at 84°F accompanied by clear, blue skies.
- Hike the trails of the Cotopaxi National Park
- Stroll past the churches and colonial houses of Cuenca
It’s a relatively dry time of the year in the Ecuadorian Amazon and with pleasant weather all around, August is one of the best times to travel to Ecuador. It is a busy time of the year for local tourism too as the country celebrates Independence Day. The Galapagos gets windy during this time of the year and with water temperatures sometimes dropping to 64°F, you will need a wetsuit to explore the spectacular underwater diversity of the region.
- Explore the spectacular diversity of the Ecuadorian Amazon at Parque Nacional Yasuní
- Amble down the Río Guayas’ malecón in Guayaquil
September a festive time to visit Ecuador with fiestas happening all over the country. Rainfall levels pick up in most regions with the Amazon experiencing hot, wet and humid conditions. In the Galapagos, weather conditions are quite different. It is the driest and coolest (average high temperature is 74°F) time of the year.
- Head to Puerto López for whale watching
- Discover Quito’s old town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
It’s low season in Ecuador and a good time to visit if you want to explore the cultural highlights and natural wonders of the country without the crowds. Rainfall levels continue to increase in most parts of the country. Average high temperatures are around the mid-80s in the Amazon and coastal Guayaquil and about 68°F in Quito.
- Get a history lesson on the Incas at the ruins of Ingapirca
- Make a trip to El Chato Tortoise Reserve to observe giant tortoises
It’s hot and humid in Guayaquil and the Amazon with temperatures similar to how it was in October. It’s a busy month for local tourism owing to various national holidays. In the Galapagos, the winds start to calm down and temperatures show an upward trend.
- Snorkel the waters off Fernandina Island for a chance to swim with marine iguanas, sea turtles, penguins and more!
- Join the revelry of the La Mama Negra festival at Latacunga
It’s a busy time of the year all around with local festivities and New Year celebrations happening all around. Temperatures in the Galapagos are well into the upper 70s and the coastal towns are sunny and warm at 85°F. Plan your trip well in advance if you want to visit during December.
- Watch bullfights and flamenco performances at the Fiestas de Quito
- Welcome the New Year with fireworks in Guayaquil
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Climate in Ecuador and Galápagos
The weather in the Ecuadorian mountains can be rather cool and humid. Tundra climatic conditions dominate the high mountain ranges, with temperatures ranging between 39-46 °F. The lowlands are humid and tropical, with an average temperature of about 77°F.
Meanwhile, The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate that is almost entirely determined by ocean currents. Due to the cool currents, the climate is temperate throughout the year. Apart from slight fluctuations, it is warm during the day, cool at night and the humidity is low. During the summer as well as in the rainy season (December to June) the sea is at its warmest and calmest, with clear blue skies all around. Short spells of rain are known to occur in the afternoons. The dry season starts from July and continues until November when it is often cloudy and cool. If you want to snorkel, you will need a wet suit.
What to Pack
Here are a few essentials you need to carry for your Ecuador & Galapagos trip depending on the weather at the time of travel: Comfortable hiking shoes, a warm jacket, sunglasses, sunscreen, lightweight clothing, windproof jacket, tennis shoes, swimsuit, hat, long sleeves and pants for protection against insects, rain gear, soft-soled shoes, binoculars and mosquito repellant.
Our destination experts are happy to advise you further on the best time to visit Ecuador and The Galapagos. Contact us today to receive your customized, private and obligation-free Ecuador & Galapagos tour itinerary.
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What a great team Olivia, Our Travel Consultant, and Nancy, our Trip Coordinator, made for our Galapagos trip. All our accommodations and transportation were taken care of and we had a worry free vacation.
Our trip to The Galápagos was booked through Enchanting Travels. We cannot fault them. Everything was organized to the last detail. We will certainly be looking to them for any future travel.
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