Carnaval season brings its share of partiers in to places across Ecuador this month. The coast remains the prime destination because of the lovely sunny weather, although the Galapagos warm season continues without the Christmas/New Year rush: a perfect time to visit the islands. Damp Highland weather encourages indoor activities or perhaps a session in the thermal baths, while for water-based activities like white-water rafting the Oriente is brilliant right now.

Weather

Ecuador is divided into three distinctive climatic zones (four, if you count the coast and Galapagos as separate).

Quito & Highlands: It gets a little warmer and wetter in the Highlands overall. Rainfall at an average of over 5 inches (137mm) is the third-highest of any month in the year in the Quito region now, which is broadly representative of the climate in the Highlands region.  

Oriente/Amazon: Ecuador's Amazon climate varies because this is a vast region. In the most popular visitor destination, Parque Nacional Yasuni, temperatures remain high at 78.4°F/ 25.8°C. 

Desert Coastal Strip & Galapagos: Warm and sunny weather continues to stay along the coast (although there is still a likelihood of sporadic showers). This is warm season in the Galapagos, and the intensity of the sun compensates for the showery patches of weather in-between.

Crowds & Costs

It is high season on the coast this month, where prices are higher and availability of hotels at prime destinations is scant. It is also a popular time to visit the Galapagos. Highland destinations are less visited this month because of the wet weather. Even though it is no longer high season in the Oriente, you will still need to book any rainforest excursion to a lodge in advance.

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Where to Go

Quito & Highlands: Wet weather inclines one to do Ecuador's numerous indoor activities, especially in cosmopolitan cities Quito and Cuenca. This is a good month to visit Termas de Papallacta, Ecuador's most famous thermal baths. Or visit Mindo in the cloud forests for some great February birdwatching.

Oriente/Amazon: Generally speaking, as wet season is continuing then you want to go to the places where you can get out on the water. Tena is good for a visit now due to its superb white-water rafting. Boat trips in Parque Nacional Yasuni are enjoyable too as higher water levels mean smaller tributaries can be accessed. 

Desert Coastal Strip & Galapagos:  It's time for sun-bathing, sea-swimming and surfing along the coast at destinations like Mompiche, where high season is in full swing. Canoa and Montañita are other good beach towns to visit now. On the Galapagos, the best places to go are those to see green sea turtles and iguanas nesting, plus tortoises laying their eggs, on Isla Santa Cruz.

What to Do

Quito & Highlands: Check out stunning churches like Quito Old Town's Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesús, or museums like Cuenca's Museo del Banco Central Pumapungo. Or try birdwatching in Mindo, where February is one of the best months because of the many migratory birds.

Oriente/Amazon: As this is generally wet season, white-water rafting on the many rivers churning off the eastern slopes of the Andes and into the jungle is popular. In Parque Nacional Yasuni, water levels are getting high and wildlife watching trips by canoe are popular because many animals, including migratory birds, like to come out onto the trees to escape rising water levels and warm themselves.

Conversely, cities like Puyo, close to the serene travelers' hangout of Banos, are actually enjoying some of their driest weather right now: a good time to do a rainforest trip in this central part of the Ecuadorian Amazon, where walking on jungle paths leads to good sightings of snakes and spiders.

Desert Coastal Strip & Galapagos: Lie on a beach or try some surfing: February is one of the best months of the year for breaks, both on the coast and in the Galapagos. Also on the Galapagos, it's bird nesting season, as well as nesting for the green sea turtle, so watching the wildlife at this time of year is fantastic.

February Events

Carnaval: As with elsewhere in South America, Carnaval is a huge party, taking place on the final weekend and last days leading up to Ash Wednesday (Lent), which is almost always in February. Expect parades, water, and foam fights and lots of music and dancing.

Fiesta de Frutas y Flores: Final fortnight of February. Ambato for a second month in succession is the center of festival action with this festival celebrating fruits and flowers, and full of themed parades and pageantry. An annual 'Queen of Ambato' gets crowned during festivities. 

More Helpful Information

Ecuador in January
Ecuador in March
Best Time to Visit Ecuador
Ecuador Tours & Itineraries