Holidays Ecuador & Galápagos Islands

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Where to go when - our guide to Ecuador & Galápagos Islands

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THE CLIMATE IN ECUADOR & GALAPAGOS ISLANDS IS WIDE AND VARIED

Ecuador sits astride the equator, dissected form North to South by the magnificent snow-capped Andean mountain range. The climate is relatively stable throughout the year, without vast temperature fluctuations between the wet and dry season, but it can vary greatly between different regions.

Influenced by the altitude, the Andean highlands including Otavalo, Quito, the Avenue of the Volcanoes and Cuenca are pleasantly spring-like year round with lots of sunshine, particularly in the June-September dry season. When it rains it is usually as heavy afternoon downpours. February-April are the wettest months, July and August the driest.

The misty cloud forest reserves of Mindo, Mashipi and Bellavista, where bird-watching is superb all year, have similar seasons to the highlands although with fewer hours of sunshine, slightly higher temperatures and longer periods of rain, usually starting in the afternoon.

The North West and Amazon rainforests are typically equatorial; hot and humid all year with tropical showers possible any day, even in the less wet months of January-February and July-September.

The arid central and southern Pacific coast is hot all year round. The most popular time to enjoy the beaches is January-April, during the wet season, when the sea is at its warmest and the days clear, hot and sunny, with rain usually only presenting in the form of afternoon tropical showers. May to December is the dry season, with colder seas, very little rain, slightly cooler temperatures and overcast hazy skies. June-October is the whale watching season.

The Galapagos Islands are immensely rewarding year round. Whatever the month, both on land and underwater, the wildlife is incredible with some species of fauna or another always breeding, nesting or particularly active for some reason. The December-May wet season sees very hot and sunny days with afternoon showers in the highlands and warm calm seas. The June-November dry season brings more comfortable cooler temperatures with choppier, colder seas but a burst in marine life activity.

Ecuador’s rich indigenous and colonial Spanish heritage is evident in a number of fiestas and weekly markets, which you may wish to factor into your holiday. Carnival (Februay/March) is celebrated throughout with great fervour and widespread street festivities while Easter week sees colourful but traditional religious processions fill the streets. Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) is celebrated on the summer solstice (16-24th June) in indigenous communities throughout the highlands to honour the sun and Pacha Mama (mother Earth). Dia de Todos los Santos (all Souls Day/Day of the Dead) is a fascinating and colourful celebration of life and commemoration of the dead on 2nd November.

View our Ecuador & Galápagos Islands weather guide

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