When planning your trip to Ecuador, it is always best to take climate into consideration. Each of Ecuador’s four zones have a distinct environment with distinct weather patterns, so there are options to create your ideal vacation. Decide what you want your trip to Ecuador to look like, and you can decide what you want your trip to Ecuador to “feel” like too!
ECUADOR'S ENVIRONMENTAL ZONES AND WEATHER PATTERNS
For the most part, travelers find that Ecuador has two seasons: wet and dry. Ecuador’s diverse geography, however, greatly affects the local weather patterns and climate.
Along the coast, the best beach weather can ironically be found during the wet season that roughly extends from January to May. Though the coast and the the nearby Galápagos Islands see daily afternoon rain showers, the days are sunny and the sightseers are few. During these months, locals find their way to the beaches to escape the heat and the wildlife is at its best for snorkelers. From June through August, gringo tourists hit the vacation high tide and swarm to the shores, so visitors often find themselves distracted from the flocks of wildlife by the flocks of humans.
Throughout the central valley with its Avenue of Volcanoes, visitors can experience spring all year long. With nights settling around 50ºF (10º C) and highs of 76ºF (25ºC) during the day, the weather remains comfortable no matter the month. The sun makes the most difference, as cloud cover can make travelers realize how high in the Andes the central valley truly is.
The Oriente, extending along the eastern rainforests, gets its verdant appearance from its year-round rain. July through August are the Oriente’s wettest months with high tropical temperatures, and the region dries out some September through December. Depending on your activity goals, the time of year makes a big difference for exploring the Oriente. If you’re hoping to navigate the winding river systems in a canoe, it’s best to visit in the wet season when the water levels are high and currents are stronger. If you’re planning on trekking through the foliage on foot, the dry season would be best.
Unlike the Oriente, the highlands of the Sierra experience little rainfall even in its wet season. The dry season continues from June to September and December as October and November can experience a short rainy period when moisture comes into the highlands from the Oriente. The rainy season picks up again in January through June and reaches its peak in April. The weather is chillier in the Sierra with its high elevation, and the mornings are usually sunny with clouds and light rain coming in during the afternoons. The misty cloud cover occurs daily, giving portions of this region the name “cloud forest.” The mountain roads and trails can be more precarious with the lower visibility, do plan ahead if your daily adventures take you into the fog where progress can be slower and trickier.
WHAT KIND OF WATER DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR TRIP?
The local weather patterns also affect the bordering Pacific, and those inclined toward seasickness should beware the months of July through October when sea travel is at its roughest. As most travelers avoid the turbulent waters during these months, the high season for tourism reaches from December to January and June to August. If you’re hoping to take to the seas during this tourism peak, it’s best to plan ahead and make reservations. Also, take into consideration that accommodation rates are also at their peak.