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Where to go when - our guide to Ecuador & Galapagos 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.

Read More View our Ecuador & Galapagos Islands weather guide

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

Meet the team