Knowing the best time to go to the Ecuador Andes (the highlands) is important in ensuring that you enjoy your trip. There are distinct seasons in Ecuador that influence the weather conditions you will experience, and how busy tourist services are likely to be. In some months there are also festivals that may pique your interest. Here we will examine the different seasons, review the months of the year one-by-one, and offer our insider recommendations for the best time to go to the Ecuador Andes. It is worth noting that the weather and seasons differ in the Ecuador Andes when compared with other regions of the country, and the focus here is on Ecuadorian highlands seasons. Don’t forget that tours in the Ecuador highlands run year round, so you can visit anytime.
The wet season in Ecuador runs from October to May. That said, some months can be distinctly wetter than others. April is renowned for being especially wet and rainy, and during this month there may be rain all day long. However, in other months of the wet season, in most scenarios you will not experience rain all day long. Even in the wet season, on the majority of days, the weather in the Ecuadorian highlands will start out dry, bright, clear and sunny. This can be deceiving, as the rain will often roll in during the early afternoon. Sometimes it will rain just for an hour or two, but on occasion the rain will set in for the day at this point. In Ecuador the wet season is considered to be the summer.
The main dry season in Ecuador spreads from the month of June through to September. During these months the weather is typically dry, bright, clear and sunny all day long with a much lower risk of rain than in the Ecuador’s summer season (October to May). There are also often a few warmer and drier weeks in December and early January – which is conveniently timed with Christmas and New Year.
Most people prefer dry and sunny days, which means one of the best times to travel to Ecuador is often considered to be the months of June through September. This is certainly the time when you can be more certain of enjoying superb panoramic views of Ecuador’s grand mountains and volcanoes. It is also the best time of year for hiking, climbing and other outdoor pursuits. However, the dry season is naturally also the busiest season. This means that the months of June through September are considered to be high season and demand for tourism services is higher. You can expect during these months that everything will be generally busier, and possibly more expensive due to higher demand.
It is worth noting that much of the Ecuadorian Andes enjoys what is considered to be a subtropical highland climate, with spring-like weather all year around. This means that while the driest months are those already mentioned, most any time of the year can be good for a vacation to the Ecuador highlands. Temperatures in the daytime can reach 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit), though are more commonly around 19 (66), but it can be chilly at night, getting down to about 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) at times.
January – in January the weather starts to get wetter and warmer in the Ecuador highlands. Demand is very high around New Year, but drops off later in the month, making mid to late January good for a visit.
February – this month is warmer, but also wetter. Since it is low season, demand is also relatively low, but since it typically does not rain all day it can be a good time to visit.
March – in this month there is the second highest rainfall of the year, though it is also warm in this month. If Easter falls in March, this can be a good time to visit (though busier) as there are celebrations in the main highland cities, especially Quito.
April – this month is the rainiest in the Ecuador highlands though it is also the warmest. Despite the higher levels of rain, if Easter falls in April it can be a good time to visit, though busier.
May – in this month, rainfall drops, and the days start to get cooler, though still warm. This makes May an excellent month to visit, as it is not high season, so demand and prices tend to be lower too.
June – this month is the start of the high season, so prices and demand for tourist services are likely to be higher. It is a great month for good weather, with very low rainfall, and warm, pleasant temperatures. Around the summer solstice (21 st June) is a good time to visit, as there are indigenous celebrations of this event throughout the highlands.
July – the warm, dry weather continues in July, meaning it is a good month to visit the Ecuadorian highlands. With the start of the school holidays for Europe and the USA, you can expect it to be busier in July.
August – this month is the peak of the tourist season and around 9 th and 10 th or so of August it gets even busier as Ecuador celebrates its Independence with public holidays. Ecuadorians travel during this time so it can get very busy. The weather is superb – warm and dry.
September – this month marks the end of the high season, and demand diminishes throughout the month, making it a great month to visit – especially as it is still warm, and mostly dry.
October – the rain starts to increase in this month, but it is also low season, so demand is lower for tourist services, and prices fall somewhat too. The exception to this is around 9 th October which is a public holiday for the Independence of Guayaquil.
November – During November you will likely experience some rainfall, but by no means all day every day. The beginning of November can be a good time to visit as there are celebrations in the highlands to mark All Souls Day. Since Ecuadorians also have holidays at this time, roads can get busy with travelers, however.
December – this month is typically slightly drier than the months before it, making it good to visit weather-wise. Demand for tourist services is very high as Christmas approaches and during the whole festive period. In early December (6 th ) the fiestas of Quito celebrate the founding of the city.
The best time to visit Ecuador from a weather perspective is the high season (June to September). However, we recommend considering other months too. Summer solstice in June is an especially interesting time to visit, with fascinating indigenous celebrations throughout the Ecuador Andes. Some of the best months to travel can be those just outside of the high season, such as May and October, when demand is lower, but weather is mostly good too.
Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders offers excellent tours and activities whatever the time of year. Contact us to find out about customized tours suited to your requirements, whatever the time of year that you plan to travel.