Does it Snow in Ecuador?: Places to Visit and Things to Do in Ecuador in Winter
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If you’re wondering, ‘does it snow in Ecuador?’ then you have come to the right place.
In this post, I’ll settle all your doubts about snowing in Ecuador and also tell you about the year-round weather along with some tips to make your vacation more enjoyable.
Ecuador is a small but striking South American destination known for its warm climate. It’s easy to see why it is becoming popular among tourists as a tropical getaway.
However, the diverse landscape of Ecuador encompasses much more than that. So, does it mean it snows in Ecuador? Let’s find out!
Does It Snow in Ecuador?
Yes, it does.
Even though Ecuador has a warm climate, the mountains feature better chances for snowfall when the time is right.
📅 When does it snow in Ecuador?
The little snowfall that Ecuador gets is usually during the winter months of the year (December to February).
The winter snowfall of Ecuador only happens in the highland areas of the country, like the Andes Mountains.
❄️ How much snow falls in Ecuador in a year?
While it’s true that snow does fall in a select few parts of Ecuador, it’s still not that much with an average of only half an inch (15 mm) of snow per year – so don’t expect a snow-covered wonderland.
But, it’s also not as disappointing as it may sound, especially if you head up the high-altitude parts of the country.
Where does it snow in Ecuador?
The areas of Ecuador with an elevation closer to sea levels are too hot for snowfall, even in winters, but the Andean mountain ranges present a completely opposite scene.
This is where you can find lots of white snow!
Below, I’m listing the top 3 high elevation spots where it snows in Ecuador.
1. Chimborazo [6,263 meters / 20,547 feet]
Thanks to its being a part of Earth’s equatorial bulge, the Chimborazo peak is one of the farthest points from the planet’s center.
This makes it one of the best places to visit in Ecuador if you’re looking for snow.
With an elevation of over 20 thousand feet, this inactive stratovolcano is where you are sure to find lots of snow no matter what time of year it is.
2. Cayambe [5,790 meters / 18,996 feet]
Despite being an inactive volcano with a small, laid-back town of the same name, Cayambe is a very unique destination in Ecuador because of its fascinating location.
The south slope of this peak is the highest point on Earth crossed by the equator, and it’s also one of the handful of locations on the planet with a permanent snow cap.
3. Cotopaxi [5,897 meters / 19,347 feet]
Cotopaxi is a protected area in Ecuador renowned for its stunning beauty, rich history, and volcanic activity.
Its volcano (also called Cotopaxi) has a perfect conical shape and a snow-capped peak that rises majestically toward the sky, dominating the landscape with its presence.
You will find some snowfall in the area around the volcano, while the open grassland at the base of its slopes is home to a vast array of flora and fauna
Cotopaxi is a very popular destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.
What is the weather like in Ecuador year-round?
The diverse landscapes of the country mean weather varies in Ecuador year-round.
You can expect to find all kinds of delights in its different regions, including sunny beaches in the winter as well as snowy mountains.
Below, I’ll give you a breakdown of the different weather conditions during each of the seasons in Ecuador.
❄️ Ecuador in the Winter
The winter months of December through February bring sunny days and warm weather with mild temperatures ranging from 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7.5 degrees Celsius) to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).
Uniquely, winter is one of the warmer Ecuador seasons in the coastal areas of the country, so you won’t find any snow unless you’re visiting the highlands.
The months of winter are part of Ecuador’s rainy season, but the showers are short and won’t hinder your plans for the day much if you bring your rain jacket along.
This is when the majority of tourists flock to the Galapagos Islands for a winter getaway with some of the best beaches in South America and lots of things to do.
🌷 Ecuador in the Spring
Springtime means a lot of changes in the weather patterns of Ecuador.
The mild temperatures and wet season continue with it, but the length of days starts increasing as nights get shorter.
On average, you can expect temperatures between 58°F (14.5°C) in the highlands and 85°F (29.5°C) in the low-elevation areas.
Rain is scarce during spring, but you might encounter some brief downpours because the wet season goes on until May.
Rain showers or not, this time of year is still great for lots of outdoor exploration because of the great weather.
☀️ Ecuador in the Summer
The wet season comes to an end as summer arrives, and June onwards is the dry season in Ecuador.
Winds get stronger in the highlands as summer takes effect, and rains pretty much stop. Temperatures drop by a couple of degrees Fahrenheit in the highlands, and by around 10°F on the Galapagos Islands.
The dry weather of June through August makes for one of the best outdoor exploration opportunities of the year.
You can plan lots of excursions to all the amazing places in the highlands and take advantage of all the outdoor activities offered here.
🍂 Ecuador in the Fall
Fall is when the weather patterns of Ecuador start shifting again.
September and October are still part of the dry season, so you will be able to enjoy the outdoors during them.
November brings the end of the dry season and the average temperature in Ecuador remains around 65-70°F (18-21.5°C).
This time of year is quite festive, so you will get to enjoy the cities and beaches to the fullest.
The Amazon rainforest is also worth exploring during fall.
However, the highlands are prone to increased afternoon showers in the fall, so you might wanna plan for rainy days if you’re going on a trip to those.
Is it worth visiting Ecuador in winter?
Whether a winter visit to Ecuador is worth it will ultimately depend on your preferences, but it’s generally a great experience.
You can enjoy the warm climate in Ecuador year-round.
Winters here mean snowy peaks in the highlands as well as sunny days and pleasantly warm temperatures in the low-elevation areas like the Galapagos Islands.
The other seasons of Ecuador are also just as inviting.
All in all, visiting Ecuador in winter can make for an unforgettable experience no matter what you’re looking for.
Things to Do in Ecuador During the Winter
⛷️ Go skiing
Seeing snow and not going skiing is an adventure missed.
Though many people don’t know about it, Ecuador has really nice skiing opportunities on offer.
Even though Ecuador skiing doesn’t usually mean high-end ski resorts, you can still enjoy incredible skiing in the highlands of the country.
One such place is Cayambe, which is also known as the ski mountain of the region.
🏙️ Visit Quito, the capital city of Ecuador
If you’re visiting Ecuador, exploring Quito – a place founded on the ruins of an ancient Incan city and the oldest of South American capitals – is a must-do!
It’s a city of contrasts, where modernity meets tradition, and where ancient history blends with contemporary culture. There are also many things to do in Quito.
The capital of Ecuador is a vibrant and historic city that is situated high in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) above sea level.
It’s known for its stunning colonial architecture, which is largely concentrated in the Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage site).
Its narrow, winding streets are lined with beautifully preserved buildings that date back to the 16th century, including majestic churches and various other structures built in European and native styles.
🌋 Go for a day hike on Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the world’s tallest volcanoes
Hiking in the highlands of Ecuador is a delightful experience.
If you’re up for it, the Cotopaxi Volcano is one of the best places to go for a day hike.
The volcano is active and located almost 20 thousand feet above sea level, making it the perfect place to go see some Ecuador snow and enjoy the lush natural beauty of this region.
What’s more, the nearby Limpiopungo Lake (Laguna de Limpiopungo) is also a great place to include on your itinerary when going for a day hike on Cotopaxi.
This serene lake is a great spot to enjoy the stunning landscape and thriving birdlife of the region from!
🚣 Go on a whitewater rafting guided tour
The Andes highlands have countless rivers winding through incredible canyons, valleys, and jungles – making Ecuador the perfect destination for whitewater rafting.
That’s exactly why guided rafting tours are a big allure of the country; so if you’re visiting here in winter, I highly recommend going on a whitewater rafting tour to try your hand at this thrilling adventure.
🐒 Explore the Amazon rainforest
The Amazon rainforest of Ecuador is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers.
While the Galapagos Islands get a lot of attention as Ecuador’s top attraction, the country’s rainforest is actually the most species-rich section of the Amazon.
Located to the east of the Andes Mountains and known as the Oriente, Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest is truly a nature lover’s paradise, home to an incredible array of wildlife and biodiversity.
The rainforest covers almost one-third of the country’s land – and with over 300 species of mammals, 800 species of fish, and 350 species of reptiles, the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador is a treasure trove of unique and fascinating creatures.
Whether you’re an avid bird watcher, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply someone who loves exploring the great outdoors, the Oriente has something for everyone.
With lush green forests, winding rivers, and a diverse ecosystem, it’s a place where you can truly connect with nature and marvel at the wonders of the natural world.
So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, consider exploring Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest and experiencing the magic of this unique and fascinating region for yourself.
In case you don’t know where to start, Puerto Francisco de Orellana (also known as El Coca) is a gateway city with easy access to the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.
What to pack when visiting Ecuador during the winter?
What to pack for a winter vacation in Ecuador usually depends on the part of this country you’re visiting.
For example, you won’t need any layers if you’re hitting the sunny Galapagos Islands. On the other hand, the snowy parts of the highlands require layers.
Ideally, you should pack for a variety of weather conditions.
While Ecuador’s winter season (December to February) is generally warmer than other times of the year, temperatures can still vary depending on your location and altitude.
Be sure to pack layers so that you can stay warm during chilly nights and cooler temperatures, and also bring a rain jacket in case of occasional rain showers.
Tips for Visiting Ecuador in Winter
- Plan your itinerary accordingly: Since the winter season is a popular time to visit Ecuador, it’s a good idea to book your accommodations and activities in advance, especially if you plan to visit popular destinations such as the Galapagos Islands or the Amazon rainforest.
- Dress in layers: As I said while talking about the year-round weather of Ecuador, winter here can be pleasantly warm as well as cold and rainy depending on the region. Dress in layers so that you can easily adjust your clothing to stay comfortable in changing weather conditions, especially when you’re in the Andean highlands.
- Enjoy the outdoors: The winter season is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking, and birdwatching, as the cooler temperatures make it more comfortable to spend time outdoors.
- Explore the cities and towns: Ecuador’s cities and towns offer a wealth of cultural and historical attractions, as well as local markets, restaurants, and shops to explore. Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil are popular destinations to explore, and offer a range of activities for visitors.
- Experience seasonal festivals: Ecuador is known for its colorful festivals and events, and the winter season is no exception.
- From the Carnival of Guaranda to the Fiestas de Quito, there are plenty of opportunities to experience Ecuadorian culture and traditions during your visit.
FAQs about the snow in Ecuador
🌏 Can it really snow near the equator?
Yes, it can.
Although the typical equatorial climate tends to be warm and humid, it’s still possible for high-altitude regions to receive snow regardless of where they are on the planet.
For instance, Cayambe is the highest point of the equator and it has a permanent snow cap due to its high elevation.
🌨️ Does it snow in Quito, Ecuador?
With an average temperature of about 60°F, Quito is one of the colder places in Ecuador – but it’s still not cold enough for it to snow.
However, the weather can be unpredictable, and there is a very small chance that it might snow here again like it did back in 2018.
Just keep in mind that it’s a very rare occurrence, so the chances of snow in Quito during your vacation might be next to none.
🌨️ Does it snow in Guayaquil, Ecuador?
No. Guayaquil is one of the coastal cities in Ecuador, and its low elevation means warm and humid weather year-round.
While temperatures drop and rise slightly during the seasonal changes of the year, you still won’t find any snow in Guayaquil no matter what time of year it is.
🥶 What is the coldest it gets in Ecuador?
Ecuador has a range of climates in its various regions, so the lowest temperatures vary based on the elevation level of its areas.
The coastal areas remain mostly warm throughout the year, while the highlands are colder.
If you’re wondering about the coldest temperature in the highlands, it can drop down to as low as 32°F (0°C) depending on the elevation level.
Final Thoughts: Does It Snow in Ecuador?
Ecuador is a wonderful destination to visit during the winter season.
While it doesn’t typically snow in most parts of the country, you can still enjoy a range of activities and experiences.
From exploring the natural beauty of the Amazon rainforest and the Galapagos Islands, to discovering the culture of its vibrant cities, there are plenty of things to do.
And, if you do find yourself in the highland areas, you might even get a chance to see some snow in Ecuador.
So, when you’re looking for an exciting and unforgettable adventure destination this winter, consider adding Ecuador to your travel list!
About the Author
Hello there! This is Isabella, the author of this blog, and a cat lover. I am an Italian expatriate with a Mexican permanent Residence. After 7 years of living in Cancun, I have decided to leave my job and explore my beloved Mexico and the rest of this beautiful world, starting from South America, while sharing my travel stories and offering useful travel tips about traveling as a solo female traveler and digital nomad.