The peak seasons for travelers to Ecuador last from mid-June to early September and from late December through early January, because most American and European visitors have vacation time during these months. Cruises in the Galápagos are booked solid during these times of year. But since Ecuador is hardly Disney World, you'll always be able to find a room (or a berth on a ship), and the country never feels overcrowded. Ecuador is great throughout the year, so whenever you visit, you won't be disappointed.
There are four distinct geographical zones in Ecuador, all subject to their own weather patterns.
In the Galápagos, from June through September the air and water are chilly and the winds can be a bit rough. October through May, the air and water temperatures are warmer, but you can expect periodic light rain almost daily.
On the coast, the rainy season lasts from December through May; this season is marked by hot weather and high humidity. The cooler air temperature from June through September attracts whales and dolphins to the waters off the coast. In an odd anomaly, it's actually much sunnier during the rainy season, with a pattern of sunny mornings and early afternoons, followed by distinct and heavy showers or storms in the late afternoons. The dry season is often characterized by dense and heavy overcast skies that feel as if they want to let loose, but never do.
In Quito and the highlands, the weather is coolest June through September (the dry season), but it's only a few degrees colder than during the rest of the year. Keep in mind that although Quito is practically on the Equator, the temperature can get quite cool because it's at such a high altitude. The city has an average high of 19°C (66°F) and an average low of 10°C (50°F). Throughout the rest of the highlands, the temperature is similarly consistent, with average highs and lows mostly determined by the altitude.
In the rainforests and lowlands of El Oriente it rains year-round, but the rain is especially hard from late December through April. The driest period is October through December. The temperature in the jungle can reach 27° to 32°C (81°-90°F) during the day; it's a bit cooler at night.
Official holidays in Ecuador include New Year's Day (Jan 1), Easter, Labor Day (May 1), Simón Bolívar Day (July 24), National Independence Day (Aug 10), Guayaquil Independence Day (Oct 9), All Souls' Day (Nov 2), Cuenca Independence Day (Nov 3), and Christmas Day (Dec 25). The country also closes down on some unofficial holidays, including Carnaval (Mon and Tues prior to Ash Wednesday), Battle of Pichincha (May 24), Christmas Eve (Dec 24), and New Year's Eve (Dec 31). The foundation of Quito (Dec 6) is observed as a holiday only in Quito.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.