Ecuador has four different regions, each with its climate. They all have different temperatures, rainfall, and seasons. Temperatures in Ecuador depend on the altitude. The weather is generally mild and does not present difficulties for travelers. Rather than rotating through four seasons, most of Ecuador experiences oscillating wet and dry periods. Remember the Ecuadorian adage that all four seasons can be experienced in one day, and the most predictable aspect of Ecuador’s weather is its unpredictability.
The general weather trends for each region are as follows:
1.1. Andean Highlands | La Sierra
Though on the equator, it is generally cooler than most people would expect. The climate in the Andes varies according to the altitude and the time of the year. Quito, the capital city, is within 25 km. of the Equator, but it stands high enough to make it’s climate much like that of spring in England, the days warm or hot, and the nights cool. In Quito, the temperature ranges from 7°C [55°F] at night, to 26°C [78°F] at noon, averaging 15°C [64°F]. Rainy season from October to May with the most torrential rainfall in April. Rain usually falls in the afternoon. The day length [sunrise to sunset] is almost constant throughout the year. In the Ecuadorian rainforest, you should expect high temperatures and high humidity.
1.1.1. How to dress
In the Highlands, the temperature changes throughout the day, and these changes are more evident between the shadow and the sun, so it is necessary to keep warm clothes. Therefore, it is advisable to dress in layers so you can put on/off your clothes depending on the temperature. The climate is generally arid, so it is advisable to use moisturizing creams. Additionally, we suggest you take the following items on your trip to Ecuador or Peru:
- Raincoat or a long poncho
Sweatshirts and a jacket
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Long comfortable pants
- Boots, sneakers or comfortable walking shoes
- Hats and sunglasses
- Camera, film, binoculars, etc
- Handbags and backpacks
- Insect repellant
- Lip Balm and sun Block
- Natural eye Drops
- Shorts and zip-off pants
- Raincoat or a long poncho
1.2. Amazon region | El Oriente
It usually has a warm, humid, and rainy climate. The average temperature varies from 23° to 26°C [72° to 80°F]. The drier season is generally November to February but varies by region.
1.2.1. How to dress
It is recommendable to wear comfortable cotton clothing and water-resistant shoes or rubber boots, flashlight, sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent to protect yourselves from mosquitoes, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants to protect yourself from insects. You can also bring a small backpack with implements for rain.
1.3. Coastal lowlands | La Costa
Its climate is usually hot with temperatures averaging 25°C [76°F] to 31°C [90°F] during the year. The rainy season [December to May] is warm and very humid. The dry season is less sticky but still a little muggy.
1.3.1. How to dress
Wear comfortable clothes (preferably cotton), sunscreen, hat, and glasses. In the months from June to September, we recommend that you bring warm clothes, especially for the end of the day and night.
1.4. Galapagos Islands
In the Galapagos temperatures range from the low 80° to the high 90°F [25°C-30°C] from December until May, the sea is warm, and there is a chance of rain and accompanying humidity. From June to September, you may experience occasional garua or mist, and the water is atypically fresh for the tropics. Temperatures vary from the low 60° to high 70°F [15°C-25°C]. From October to December, temperatures range from 70°F to 80°F.
1.4.1. How to dress
For the daytime in the Galapagos, you will most likely want to be in shorts and a loose, comfortable t-shirt or tank top. A wide-brimmed or long-billed hat and a pair of sunglasses are essentials for protecting face, eyes, ears, and neck from the bright and scorching equatorial sun. For the evenings on some boats, mainly cruise ships, dinner can be a bit more formal, so a dress shirt or a simple sundress might be a good idea. Most boats do not have any dress code, and your daytime clothes will be beautiful. Consider bringing only one or two pairs of light pants to the Galapagos. They will be too warm usually, but you might want them for the plane and perhaps at night to enjoy the ocean nights. Also, bring a light sweater or sweatshirt so you won’t miss magnificent nightly star-gazing. Teva- style sandals are useful for wet landings. Sneakers or hiking boots are recommendable for dry landings, rocky shores and hikes on the island (e. g. to the Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island)
1.5. Altitude Sickness
Altitude Sickness’ symptoms appear in some people who are at elevations higher than 2500 meters / 8200 feet above sea level. It is associated with headache, fatigue, digestive heaviness, feeling nausea and malaise. The symptoms do not always appear and depend on each person, their experience with heights and, above all, certain kinds of food habits and daily activity.
- light dinner on the eve of a day trip to the height
- do little physical activity on the first day
- eat light meals, especially at night
- drink plenty of fluids
- consume teas of coca leaf or muña that help good digestion
- limit alcohol consumption
While tipping follows a standard 10% of the actual bill, in some cases, the cost of service may be included already. The following can act as a guideline:
- Restaurants: 10 – 15% of the total bill
- Tour guides / Tour conductors: US$ 15 – 20 approx. per day of service (not salary fees)
- Tour drivers: US$ 5 approx. per day of service
In Ecuador, the currency is the U.S. Dollar. We recommend bringing around US$ 100.00 per day; however, it always depends on how much you plan to spend in restaurants, souvenirs, etc. Keep in mind that you may find ATMs throughout Quito and in major cities of the country (Guayaquil, Cuenca, Banos, etc.), which also accept credit cards, mostly Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. In provinces and rural areas is difficult to make payments with credit cards, and you may have trouble getting cash from ATMs.
We strongly recommend traveling with a combination of US cash and credit cards. Except for airline ticket purchases, all credit card purchases in Ecuador are subject to a 10% surcharge. You can use your credit card for cash advances at ATMs. Most banks limit daily withdrawals to $100 US to $200 daily, except the Banco Pichincha and Banco de Guayaquil (which on average, can dispense $500 US daily).
In many stores (even the big ones), 100 USD notes aren’t accepted. It’s very recommendable to bring small bills with you, especially for taxis, small stores, bus tickets, etc. (20 USD or less).
As of June 20, 2008, any person from any country (with very few exceptions) can enter Ecuador with a 12-X visa (default tourist visa) for a period of 90 days.
Note: If you enter Ecuador with a tourist visa (12-X), you cannot subsequently apply for any other kind of visa in the country. You must return to your country of origin to apply for a non-tourist visa. Applications for non-tourist visas are no longer accepted within the country if you entered the country with a tourist visa.
If you wish to stay more than 90 days within a year, go to an Ecuador consulate in your home country and apply for the 12-IX visa. Often referred to as the Tourist, Commercial, or Sports Visa, this allows you to stay in the country for up to 180 days in a year.
Ecuadorian visa policies and regulations change frequently. Each embassy and consulate around the world has its own set of requirements and procedures for procuring a visa. Check with the embassy or consulate closest to you for accurate information applicable to your situation.
Everybody entering as a tourist needs a passport that is valid for at least six months after arrival. You are legally required to have your passport on you at all times. Many people only carry a copy when they are hanging around a town, though this is not an officially acceptable form of ID. Never travel without your passport.
5. Health and vaccinations
Contact your GP around eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.
Proper medical treatment can be expensive and is not always available outside the main cities. Private hospitals will demand a credit card guarantee for admission. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Immunizations are presently not required to visit the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle – it is advisable; however, to consult your doctor before your trip. We recommend precautions against malaria and yellow fever. The yellow fever vaccination can be easily obtained from your local physician back home. It must be administered at least ten days before your trip to be effective. Strong insect repellent should be acquired before your arrival in the jungle. It’s best to wear long light trousers and long-sleeve shirts during jungle walks.
Dengue Fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. Due to the heavy rainy season in 2012, until 4 July 2012, 178 dengue fever cases were reported, mainly in Guayas, Manabi, Los Rios, El Oro, and Santo Domingo de Los Tsachilas provinces.
Parts of Ecuador (including Quito) are at high altitude. If you plan to travel to elevations over 3,000 meters, it is advisable to contact your GP if you suffer from high blood pressure, a heart condition, or respiratory problems.
Although it is not mandatory, we recommend the Yellow Fever Inoculation. We also recommend you check with your doctor the different cautions/vaccinations one should take for each destination (this varies depending on where each passenger comes from).
Before traveling, we strongly recommend that you review your personal insurance and your health insurance to ensure you have appropriate cover to meet your needs, and the needs of your family and dependents, in case of any loss of property, or accident, injury or death. You should also have a travel cancellation insurance in case of emergencies or serious illnesses which don’t allow you to start the tour(s) you booked.
Ecuador uses 110 volts, 60 cycles AC currency. In older establishments, electrical outlets may only be two flat pins (with no ground), while modern establishments use three-pin (with ground).
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Your Barefoot Team