Barefoot Expeditions: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Peru Travel Adventures

Traveling to Ecuador and deciding what to bring? Here’s an explanation of the weather patterns in Ecuador.

The weather in Ecuador varies drastically by region. The Galapagos Islands are warm all year and the weather in Quito is very similar to San Francisco’s famous weather –– you can get away wearing a t-shirt only but you always need a light sweater. Ecuador is located in the Equator, but the differences in altitude makes the climate extremely comfortable.

The coastal lowlands to the west of Ecuador are typically warm with temperatures in the region of 25°C (77°F). Coastal areas are affected by ocean currents and between January and April are hot and rainy.

The weather in Quito is consistent to that of a subtropical highland climate. The city has a fairly constant cool climate due to its elevation. The average temperature during the day is 66 °F (18.9 °C), which generally falls to an average of 50 °F (10 °C) at night. The average temperature annually is 64 °F (17.8 °C)

There are only really two obvious seasons in the city: dry and wet. The dry season (summer) runs from June to September and the wet season (winter) is from October to May. As Ecuador is in the southern hemisphere, June to September is winter. Spring, winter, and fall are generally the “wet seasons” while summer is the dry season with exception of the first month of fall which is pretty dry too.

Ecuador lies directly on the equator, so the entire country enjoys 12 hours of direct equatorial daylight 365 days a year. However, the climate you will experience depends largely on where you are in Ecuador, since there are four distinct geographical areas—the Sierra (mountains), the Oriente (eastern rainforests), the Costa (Pacific coastal plains), and the Galapagos Islands.

For example, Ecuador’s capital, Quito, lies in the Central Valley between the Andean Mountains’ eastern and western ridges. The equator is less than 20 miles north of the city, yet at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,900 meters) Quito’s climate is spring-like year around: about 50° F (10° C) at night and as high as 76° F (25° C) during the day.

The sun makes a difference. You can comfortably stroll out on a glorious Quito afternoon in shorts and a T-shirt, but you’ll need to take your wool sweater in case the clouds roll in. The equatorial sun is intense, but when it’s obscured by clouds, you realize how high in the Andes you really are. In fact, cold weather gear is needed for high altitude hiking and mountain climbing.

The beaches and rainforests, on the other hand, are characterized by the tropical temperatures that one would expect from equatorial lowlands, with highs ranging between 80º F and 90º F. Between these two extremes, just about any type of weather can be found in Ecuador.

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