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Although Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands often steal the show, the Andean highlands, Amazon rainforest, and Ecuador’s coastal regions have a lot to offer visitors. From whale watching in Puerto Lopez to scaling the volcanoes in the highlands and paddle boating in the waters of the Amazon rainforest, Ecuador is an explorer’s delight.

Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is located in the Andean highlands and well-known for its rail tours, monuments, and hiking trails. It is one of the places in Ecuador that can be visited almost year-round, except for October, March, April, and May when the climate is less than pleasant. We have prepared a quick guide for the best time to visit some of Ecuador’s well-known and most-visited attractions.

Best Time To Visit Ecuador’s Famous National Parks

In general, wildlife viewing is great throughout the year, each park offering visitors a chance to come across some of its most well-known species.

ParksBest Time to Visit
Galapagos National ParkDecember to May
Yasuni National ParkDecember to May
Cotopaxi National ParkJune to October
El Cajas National ParkJune to September, December to January
Machalilla National ParkJune to September

Mainland Ecuador

Wet Season (October to May)

Visitors travelling in March or February should consider a stay in Ambato that hosts the grand  Festival of Fruit & Flowers (Fiesta de la fruta y de las flores), which is celebrated extravagantly. Water sports, bullfights, dancing, and parades are a part of this grand fiesta.

December to April is an ideal time to visit the mainland beaches. The climate is warm with sunny mornings and infrequent rain showers in the afternoon.

The Amazon basin lying east of Andean highlands experiences rainfall throughout the year, but it’s soggy from December to May, making the region inaccessible by roads. Despite the flooding, visitors can witness the Amazon in its full glory by exploring the rising tributaries in paddle boats. If you are visiting during this season, remember to pack mosquito repellents.

Hikers should avoid visiting the Ecuador highlands from December to March, as even though the climate is warm, the consistent rainfalls make it impossible to navigate through them.

The ideal time to visit Ecuador mainland for a budget safari is February to April and September to November. Many accommodations and tour operators offer discounts, making the trip a much more enjoyable feat.

The duration of October to December is also a good time to visit the Galapagos, as the waters are calm again. Visiting the country during these months also ensures that visitors can be a part of some of Ecuador’s renowned festivals. This includes Independence Day celebrations with street parties on 9th October, Day of the Dead – where the families commemorate their lost members by visiting the cemeteries on 2nd November, and the Quito Festival, which includes street parties and parades.

Experts who have travelled frequently to Ecuador and Galapagos consider May the best month to visit Ecuador. The rain has stopped in the Andes mountains, so hikers can witness spectacular views while scaling the mountain. Also, it doesn’t rain as often in the Amazon, providing explorers with a clear path through the jungle.

Dry Season (June to September)

Ecuador has its fair share of volcanoes and mountains. The temperatures and climate around some of its volcanoes can be unpredictable, making it difficult to pin down the best time to visit. The temperatures on the slopes might vary from that on the summit, ranging from snow, rains, or heat. Sangay National Park in the Ecuador Andean Highland is home to three volcanoes; Volcano Altaran extinct volcano and two active volcanoes – Sangay and Tungurahua. Many consider the dry and sunny months of June to September an ideal time to visit such volcanoes.

June to September is a great time to visit not only Ecuador but also the neighbouring country Peru. Planning a trip to both will tick off two incredible destinations off your bucket list.

June to October is a great time for whale watching in Puerto Lopez. The whales leave Antarctica’s colder climate as the winter hits the region and travel to the warmer waters of Ecuador’s Puerto Lopez.

Ecuador’s Otavalo Valley, with its indigenous markets and explosion of culture and colours, is one of Ecuador’s main attractions. The ideal time to visit the valley is between June to August when the region is less crowded.

Galapagos Island

Warm Season (December To May)

The warmer months from December to May are the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands, especially if you are planning to spend a lot of time on boats and ships. While it does rain a bit during these months, it is preferable to the drier and colder climate of June to November. In May, the Galapagos have clear waters suitable for swimming and water sports such as snorkelling.

Cool Season (June to November)

June to September and December to January is the peak time to visit the Galapagos Islands. Due to school holidays in North America and Europe, the Islands can be more busy than usual with families at this time of year.

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