Visitors to Ecuador that want to explore the Ecuadorian Amazon often have questions about the rainy season in the Amazon rainforest. They wonder when the best months to visit are, and how to avoid the rain. Right up front it is important to note that the rainforest got its name for a reason. While there are two Amazon rainforest seasons in Ecuador, which are wet and dry, you will actually experience rainfall at any time. It is just that less rain falls in the “dry” months. The rain is important to the maintenance of the ecosystem in the Ecuadorian Amazon and it supports the massive diversity of life there.
The most common question we get asked is whether the rainy season in the Amazon rainforest is a very good idea. If you really hate rain, then perhaps it is better to visit in the drier months, but since you will get rain at any time of year, then the rainy season is a good a time as any to visit the Ecuadorian Amazon. You can expect an average rainfall of 200mm per month even in the dry season. However, in June, the average rainfall almost doubles that, at 350mm on average in that month.
Actually, visiting the Amazon rainforest in the rainy season does have its advantages. During the rainy season, the flora receives the level of rain it needs to flower. This means that a greater number of birds and animals may be attracted – which means that in turn you may stand a better chance of seeing more wildlife of certain types, and particularly primates and birdlife if you visit Ecuador’s Amazon in the rainy season. Any plants and animals that are especially dependent on the moisture are going to be more prevalent in the wet season months.
One slight annoyance of visiting the Ecuadorian Amazon in the rainy season is that mosquitoes can be more prevalent. However, in reality, mosquitoes are present all year around, rainy season or dry season in the Amazon and are a fact of life there. Bring repellent and cover up, and you can avoid bites that way.
The rainy season of the Ecuador Amazon rainforest starts towards the end of February or early March and runs approximately to the end of July. The months that are both the wettest and the coldest tend to be May and June, though April is very wet too. It is worth bearing in mind that even in the rainy season in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador cold does not really mean cold. You can expect temperatures of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees Celsius even in this “cold” season. July and August can sometimes feel “chilly” in the rainforest sense of the word too.
In the sea, the temperature you may expect is 73 degrees Fahrenheit or 22 degrees Celsius. During this month the Humboldt current which comes up from the Antarctic continues to bring water that is packed with nutrients. This leads to quite a lot of activity around the Galapagos Islands, as fish head for the food and the birds that rely on the fish for their food are also more active.
Activities in the Amazon rainforest in the rainy season are really not much different to those in the dry season. In both seasons most of the time you will spend a good deal of your time travelling around in small boats on the various waterways to visit different places of interest for wildlife viewing. One point to note is that in the drier season a very few of the lakes can become drier and some can even more or less dry up. This means that in many cases, navigating to where you need to go in the dry season can be harder.
One activity that might be slightly harder in the wet season is spotting caiman, though you still stand a decent job of seeing them. When the rivers and lakes are drier caiman are more abundant. This is worth bearing in mind if you have your heart set on seeing a caiman in the wild.
Another change to activities in the wetter season in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador is the fact that if there is a lot of rain, some hiking trails may be impassable. This is unlikely to have a dramatic effect on your visit, as you will either just take other trails, or you will do other activities instead.
Once you’ve decided on visiting the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest in the rainy season it is useful to know what to bring and wear. The obvious first place to start is to bring a rain coat! However, it is helpful to bring other clothes that stand a chance of drying quicker (bearing in mind that this is a very humid environment, and nothing dries that well).
Typical hiking gear is often made out of material that is fast drying and could be your best bet. In general, light, loose fitting clothing is best. Ideally, your clothing will cover your arms and legs, because this will help to protect you from those annoying mosquitos. On that note, do not forget to bring insect repellant, and as mentioned, the Amazon region is warm at all times of year, so sunscreen is important.
You may want to bring hiking boots, but most lodges, and certainly the upper end luxury lodges ones will also have rubber boots that you can borrow for the duration of your stay. They are well stocked with a wide range of different sizes. Rubber boots are the way to go in the Ecuadorian rainforest, whether it is rainy or dry season, because either way the ground is usually pretty wet. You can also click here to find a complete list of recommended things to pack for your Amazon Rainforest adventure.
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In summary, the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador can be visited in either the rainy or the dry season, and the time of year visited does not have much of an impact on what you will see or do. Some creatures may be more likely to be abundant than others at different types of the year, but all are there because they thrive in an ecosystem where there is a lot of water. If you really can’t bear rain then the months of April through June are probably best avoided, but otherwise pack appropriately and enjoy!
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