Peak Season: The peak season for visiting the mainland is June to September and December to January. However, even in the rainy season, conditions are good and travel is still enjoyable. Quito especially is a year-round destination, though temperatures can be chilly due to its altitude during the dry season, June through September.
The Galapagos Islands remain relatively dry even in the wet season, so are another good year-round destination. Official peak season is June to August and again from December to January; though this is based more on holiday seasons of travellers arriving from North America and Europe rather than weather conditions.
Off Season: December to April is the rainiest season in the jungle.
The second smallest country in the whole of South America, Ecuador is nonetheless packed full of things to see and do. Quito is the capital, and arrival point for all flights to Ecuador. One of the oldest cities in both North and South America, Quito is located on the slopes of Pichincha, an active volcano. From the peaks of the volcano, a spectacular array of landscape unfolds on all sides. To the west, the coastline on the Pacific Ocean is studded with appealing beaches. To the east, the Amazon rainforest and basin which takes up nearly half of the country. Running north to south are the Andes. The Galapagos Islands, situated 1,000km west of the mainland in the Pacific, are also part of the country. The islands are known for the array of wildlife that was chronicled by Darwin, perhaps most especially the tortoises. With such varied landscapes it is not hard to see why travellers keep booking flights to Ecuador to explore what the country has to offer.
Ecuador has many different little climates. At the coast you’ll deal with heat and humidity all year round. The rainy season lasts from December to May. When you’re in the mountains, you’ll get cooler the higher you get. In the Amazon, the weather is hot, humid and wet, but the Galapagos Islands are dry all year with an average temperature of 25 C.
Ecuador insider information
Colonial Quito is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a must-see spot for any tourist. Most international flights to Ecuador land here so all travellers spend some time in the city. Start at the Plaza de la Independencia and visit the cathedral and Presidential Palace. In modern Quito, take a walk down Avenida Amazonas for some shopping, people watching or a drink at one of the many cafés.
The Galapagos Islands are visited for their wildlife. In Puerto Ayora The Charles Darwin Research Centre was founded to help conserve the islands' natural habitat. This is the best place to get close to the tortoises.
There is also excellent snorkelling and swimming in the Galapagos. The sea life is relatively tame: swim with sea lions, turtles and penguins. The sea lions, and their pups if you visit at the right time of year, are especially fond of divers and will approach and play with them.
Guayaquil is the largest city in the country and it has the biggest population. For a view of the city, take a walk up the 444 steps at the end of Malecon 2000.
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