Ecuador - best time to travel

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Ecuador - best time to travel

Postby wtl » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:57 pm

I'm thinking about going on the "Inland & Amazon" (EIA) tour next year and I'm looking for suggestions as to the best time of year to travel. From what I can see, June - September is the driest time in the mountains and August - November in the Amazon.

Any advice about the climate (or any other aspects of the tour) would be appreciated.
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Re: Ecuador - best time to travel

Postby jasonatl » Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:48 pm

I just did the Inland & Amazon tour last month so I can recommend the weather in September. We had almost no rain the whole time. Only when we visited the ruins at Ingapirca did we need to make use of rain gear. We were also very surprised at the lack of mosquitos in the Amazon. Most of the time the weather was very temperate. I'd recommend bringing layers because the tour does visit quite a few different climates. We did a hike to the refuge on Cayambe which turned into a white out snowstorm with hurricane force winds and a few people wished they had brought gloves or mittens. But that was an optional activity so if you don't want to pack a winter layer, you can just skip going there.

Even though it was a sixteen day trip, I can't say we were ever bored. I ended up taking part in many of the optional activities that I thought before the trip that I wouldn't bother with. After the tour was over, I stayed a few more days in Quito and used it as a base for visiting a few places not on the tour like Mindo and Cotopaxi. The prices for most of the optional activities during the tour were actually less than what was stated on the website here.

I wouldn't recommend renting quad bikes in Baños. They're not in good condition and are expensive even by North American standards. Do go to the Central Bank Museum in both Cuenca and Quito. The one in Cuenca has shrunken human heads and an unexpectedly large set of aviaries with lots of tropical birds. Both museums are free. The size of the market in Otavalo is indeed impressive but after you've seen about ten stands, you've seen most of what is offered for sale. We expected that there would be a much greater variety in the crafts for sale.

Much of the charm of Ecuador was in walking around the various cities we went to. Dry weather helped make that better. The hotel in Quito has a pool so be sure to bring a bathing suit. Many of the optional activities involve getting wet (we joked the theme of the trip was boots filled with water) so a bathing suit is a good idea anyway. Only a few of us went to the Jumandi caves outside of Tena which is a pity because it was one of the highlights of the trip for those of us who went.

In general things are inexpensive in Ecuador unless they're imported or aimed primarily at tourists. Having your laundry done at a local shop cost a couple of dollars... at the hotel in Quito a small load cost one of our group $40! A nice Ecuadorian meal can cost as little as $3 or $4 but if you go to Burger King, it's going to be closer to $10 (and nowhere as good). You'll find lots of Tilapia served in restaurants for locals. Also fruit juices at insanely low prices. The breakfast at the Hotel Quito on the days included in the tour is wonderfully extravagant. Load up and enjoy.

Even though we didn't find mosquitos to be a problem, several people got bitten by sand fleas. Be sure to bring some bug spray with deet. Those who got bit didn't put it on because they thought a short trip down to the river wouldn't need it. Much easier to spray some on your legs or wear long pants rather than itch for half the trip.
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Re: Ecuador - best time to travel

Postby wtl » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:43 pm

Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed reply to my request. It sounds like a fascinating trip. I just got back from my first G Adventure tour (Turkey) which was excellent and this one sounds like it, too, has a good variety of interesting places to see and things to do.

I'm thinking of going in the spring (March/April) but I'm very flexible with timing. One of the benefits of being retired!
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Re: Ecuador - best time to travel

Postby jaycw » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:28 am

Yeah I would have to say September was a great time to travel. In certain areas of the country it was hot enough to wear shorts and tshirt and in the high elevation areas it was pants and t-shirts with a fleece pull over for nights. In three weeks we didnt get even one day of rain.
Perfect trip!
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