Rare and unique wildlife – a naturalists dream destination.
Experience Ecuador's wonders: Galapagos Islands for unique wildlife, Andes Mountains for stunning landscapes, Amazon Rainforest for biodiversity, indigenous cultures, Baños for adventure, and volcanoes for epic views.
Situated on the Pacific Coast of South America, Ecuador offers an incredible range of experiences for travellers.
Home to the Galapagos Islands, no visit to Ecuador is complete without a trip to this pristine archipelago, home to unique species found nowhere else on Earth. Witness giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies up close, while snorkelling with playful sea lions in crystal-clear waters.
Venturing inland, the Andes Mountains paint a stunning backdrop across the country. Immerse yourself in the magic of Quito, Ecuador's capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the well-preserved colonial architecture, stroll through picturesque plazas, and visit the awe-inspiring La Compañía de Jesús church. Don't miss the opportunity to stand with one foot in each hemisphere at the Middle of the World monument.
For nature enthusiasts, a visit to the Amazon Rainforest is a must. Immerse yourself in the dense jungles and discover a world teeming with life. Take guided hikes, encounter colourful birds, playful monkeys, and learn about the indigenous communities that call this extraordinary ecosystem home. Stay in eco-lodges, disconnect from the outside world, and embrace the serenity of this magnificent wilderness.
Much of Ecuador's charm lies in its connection to the land’s indigenous cultures. Explore the bustling markets of Otavalo, where you can purchase intricately woven textiles, vibrant handicrafts, and traditional artwork. Engage with local communities and learn about their customs, rituals, and traditional cuisine. Try ceviche, llapingachos, and cuy (guinea pig) for a truly authentic culinary experience.
If you're seeking adventure, head to Baños, a picturesque town nestled in the Andean highlands. Surrounded by majestic waterfalls and snow-capped mountains, Baños offers a plethora of activities. From adrenaline-pumping white-water rafting and canyoning to relaxing in natural hot springs, this place has something for everyone.
Lastly, Ecuador boasts the Avenue of the Volcanoes, a stretch of the Andes where towering peaks line the horizon. Travel to Cotopaxi, one of the world's highest active volcanoes, or hike through the picturesque Quilotoa Loop, where you can find an incredible emerald crater lake.
Active Ecuador and Galapagos from ashore
- San Cristobal
- Santa Cruz
- 17 Days
- £6372 PP
- View Trip
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When to go
Find out the best time to visit Ecuador with our month by month guide.
Best time for the coast and Galapagos due to warmer sea temperatures. Coastal regions enjoy warm temperatures, perfect for beach activities and water sports. Whilst it may occasionally rain, the weather is preferable for these activities compared to the dry season, which is cold and overcast. In the Andes, it is more likely to be humid and wet, meaning it is ideal for exploring cities and visiting indigenous markets, but less ideal for hiking and exploring. The Amazon rainforest is humid and wet and whilst the scenery is pleasant, the animals might be harder to find.
Great time for the coast and Galapagos despite potential rain. It is still pleasantly warm along the coast and perfect for beach relaxation and water activities. The mountains see temperatures hovering at about 17°C (63°F) with the humidity and rainfall continuing. Visit Cuenca or Ambato for the Carnaval festivities during February. The Amazon rainforest remains humid, and increased rainfall means a higher chance of flooding.
A pleasant climate across the country and cheaper than December- February. Coastal areas are temperate still, and the beaches get quieter as school holidays end. The Andes see temperatures from 12-21°C (54-70°F), hiking opportunities become more appealing as the rainfall starts to slow down. If Easter falls in March, don’t miss the Santa Semana celebrations in Quito. Humidity still reigns in the Amazon rainforest.
Beaches and Galapagos are quieter, but the weather remains pleasant. Everywhere else is wet. Coastal areas bask in warm temperatures, perfect for beach adventures and water sports. However, it's worth noting that some regions may experience occasional showers. The mountain ranges can experience intermittent rainfall. The Amazon rainforest is still wet meaning the swollen rivers open up tributaries that are otherwise too shallow to access by boat.
Things are getting cooler in Galapagos and on the coast. Whilst the rain clears up along the coast, it becomes colder and less pleasant, so avoid the beaches at this time of year if sunbathing or water sports are on your activity checklist. The Amazon is wet, and there can be frequent road closures. The humidity combined with the wet weather means peak mosquito season too. It is less likely to rain in the Andes in May, and hiking the volcanoes becomes more accessible.
The high season for the mountains begins. Around the summer solstice is the celebration of the Incan festival of Inti Raymi, best celebrated in Otavalo or the Ingapirca archaeological site. Along the coast, temperatures range from mild to warm, with occasional rain showers. In the highlands, temperatures are slightly warmer and the climate is drier, making for better birdwatching possibilities. The Amazon region is hot and humid, with heavy rainfall.
Best time to visit Quito as it rarely rains but also the most expensive time of year due to high visitor numbers. There is a greater number of travellers exploring the highlands for good reason – it is an excellent time to embark on the Quilotoa loop trail or to visit Parque Nacional Cotopaxi. Head to Guayaquil for its foundation celebrations to experience some Ecuadorean culture.
August presents favourable conditions for visiting Ecuador, particularly in Quito, where a brief dry spell occurs. It is an opportune period to engage in hiking activities around the picturesque Andes, where the weather remains consistently manageable. Additionally, witnessing the remarkable 70km procession of La Virgen del Cisne (Virgin of the Swan) is a noteworthy cultural experience. Furthermore, the rainfall in the Amazon region begins to diminish, resulting in reduced hazards during hikes characterized by slippery terrain.
September in Ecuador brings slightly humid conditions, but overall, the weather is reasonable for both the coast and the highlands. It is definitely better weather for hiking than surfing, however. September is best for its cultural offerings in the form of the Fiesta de la Mamá Negra in Latacunga where you can witness traditional dances, music, and culinary delights or the and the Fiesta del Yamor harvest festival in Otavalo.
October is perhaps around the best time to visit the Amazon basin due to drier conditions (it will still be raining, just less). It is cheaper to visit the Galapagos and the coast at this time because it is too cold for beach activities. A great time to hike the mountains if you prefer lower traveller numbers.
November sees a continuation of reduced rainfall in the Amazon, making it a great time to spot animals, and avoid mosquitoes! Spend time in any city at the beginning of the month to participate in Día de los Difuntos (All Souls Day) where you can partake in colada morada, a purple corn-based drink, and sweet bread shaped like babies called guagas de pan.
In December, Ecuador offers a wide range of experiences that cater to various interests. Along the coast, the calm seas and excellent water clarity create ideal conditions for boat-based wildlife-watching, as well as diving and snorkelling adventures. For beach lovers, the coastal region provides an array of options, with beachside fishing villages and vibrant coastal party towns where one can set up camp and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
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