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When to Visit - Ecuador Weather
When is the best time to visit Ecuador?  This tropical area on the western foothills of the Andes is usually warm all year round and you can enjoy an eco-tourism adventure at any time of year, but the weather can affect some activities such as rafting or trekking.

The dry season here in the costa is roughly June to December and the rainy season from January to late May, so don't let the Ecuador climate take you by surprise.  Each month offers its own challenges and opportunities for farmstays and adventure activities, so use this Ecuador weather calendar to plan your holiday visit:

January is usually the start of the rainy season in the 'costa' region of Ecuador, so the land is starting to look fresh and green again, especially where the intense green shoots of the rice come through.  Maize, a staple crop here, is growing too.  Mango fans will enjoy luscious ripe mangoes straight from the tree and papayas are ripening.  By late January, the rivers might be high enough for a traditional raft trip.

February brings more rain, which means fast-flowing rivers and rapid raft journeys covering longer distances.  It also brings lots of fresh, green vegetation and colourful flowers and insects.  The higher mountain trails might be inaccessible, so February is a good time to watch for hummingbirds and toucans further down the valley, or visit local markets and community projects.

March is one of the best months to see butterflies and other insects.  The heavy March rains make transport difficult on unpaved roads and trekking muddy or impossible.  This is a month for river rafting, for swimming in waterfalls and pools and for being flexible with your travel plans - some days you might just have to chill out and watch the rain.  Corncobs are in season and delicious when fresh.  Hummingbirds dodge the rain to feed from tropical flowers.

April rains are torrential, so river rafting is fast and exciting, but access to the higher forest is usually blocked.  Transport arrangements cannot be guaranteed, so make sure your itinerary is flexible enough to accommodate the Ecuador weather conditions.  The warm, wet April climate is good for flowers, butterflies, trees, and tourists wanting to swim in waterfalls.  The banana and plantain harvests continue as they do all year round and the weekly markets are full of exotic tropical fruit.  

May is ideal for a rafting holiday as the rainy season gradually comes to an end, leaving the rivers full and running fast.  Treks to the higher rainforest may be possible by the end of May - still muddy, but with plenty of flowers, birds and insects to see.  The rice harvest gets underway in late May in the lower areas.  The ripe mandarins are ready for picking and mandarin juice is a delicious treat.  

June brings the coffee harvest and the chance to pick oranges straight from the tree.  The rivers are still high enough for traditional raft trips, but the paths are usually starting to dry out enough for comfortable trekking and walking in the forest, though there may still be rain showers at times.  The lush June vegetation supports lots of colourful insects and contented cattle.

July's dry, warm weather is perfect for trekking, climbing or horseriding holidays in Ecuador and there is still enough water in the rivers for a gentle raft journey on an indigenous-style raft.  The tropical vegetation is still lush and green.  Lizards soak up the sun while hummingbirds swoop through the flowers searching for nectar.

August in this part of Ecuador offers dry paths for easy trekking, the vegetation has started to dry out too and there are fewer insects about.  It's a good month for walking in the forest, trekking or climbing in the mountains or taking a horseback trip to nearby villages.  August raft trips meet a few rapids in the shallower parts of the river, but are otherwise at a relaxed pace.

September's dry days are great for climbing and trekking vacations.  You might attempt the the long hike down from Salinas to San Luís de Pambíl or just wander through the primary forest on a guided walk watching out for birds and animals.  September farm tours are available and you can pick bananas straight from the plant at any time of year.  All the usual range of visits to community projects are available.

October's warm, dry weather has killed off most of the mosquitoes and makes trekking access to the higher forest easy.  October is a good time to climb up to the white rock in Piedra Blanca, or perhaps just lounge in a hammock enjoying the view.  Towards the end of October, chains of little yellow orchids burst into flower in the orange trees.  Even without rain, the sugarcane keeps growing and you can visit the farms to see (and taste) how it is processed into alcohol.

November is usually the driest time of year in this part of Ecuador.  Warm November evenings are great for barbeques or a night walk in the forest or just around the village.  The vegetation has died back and there are few insects.  The dry footpaths offer easy access to trek in the higher parts of the virgin forest and the guayacan trees are covered in bright yellow flowers.  As always, there are farm tours, stone inscriptions and pre-Inca burial sites to visit and local markets to browse for bargains.

December is mango time in Ecuador and the trees are weighed down with juicy, ripe mangoes just waiting for you to pick them.  It's a great month for walking, farm tours, climbing or hiring a horse to explore the local area on an unusual Christmas vacation or even a way to escape Christmas.  December is mostly warm and dry but the rains can start towards the end of the month ahead of the beginning of the rainy season in January. 

Ecuador has many different micro-climates.  The information here is for our part of the country, but you will find different weather conditions up on the high páramo (grasslands), in the dry forests or over in the oriente.  The weather in the Galapagos Islands, nearly 1000km away from the mainland, is also different to the weather here on the continent.

NOTE: In 2007, the rainy season lasted much longer than usual, into August 2007.  In late November 2007, the rains started again and the rainy season again finished later than usual in 2008.  Since then, the weather has been all over the place and now in 2011 "when is the best time to visit Ecuador?" continues to be a tricky one to answer.  We don't know if these are climate changes caused by global warming or just random events, but we'll keep you posted here of any relevant information we have.   Meanwhile, be prepared for any kind of weather and don't worry about which month is best to visit Ecuador - just visit anyway!

Whatever time of year you visit Ecuador, you are assured of a warm welcome.  You can see the hummingbirds of Ecuador year-round.  Crops such as bananas, papayas, breadfruit and cacao (chocolate) are picked all year.  Farmstays tours and visits to sustainable development projects in rural communities are available all year round. 

The Ecuador climate requires suitable clothing - be prepared for the weather conditions with sunblock, hat and insect repellent.  Rubber boots and an umbrella are useful in the rainy season, plus a waterproof coat or poncho.

 When to Visit Ecuador with Eco-Friendly Farmstays
An Ecuador Climate Calendar for Budget Family Adventure Holidays, Rural Eco-Tourism and Farmstays Vacations in the Costa region of Ecuador, in the rainy season & the dry season.
Ecuador weather, crops and adventure activity ideas by month for the best time to visit Ecuador

CRACYP logo - a tree
Breadfruit in January in Ecuador
Tourists crossing stream in February in Ecuador - lots of vegetation and flowers
Butterflies in Ecuador in March
Children swimming near waterfall in April in Ecuador
Tourists river rafting in May in Ecuador
Trail in the hills in Ecuador in sunny June weather
Tourist riding horse in Ecuador on sunny day in JulyHorse and rider on trailride in Ecuador in AugustBunch of plantains ripening on the plant in Ecuador in SeptemberUnloading sugarcane stalks from a donkey in Ecuador in OctoberTourist walking in Ecuador on a sunny November dayTourists riding horses in December in Ecuador