High season finally reaches the Ecuadorian Highlands in June, along with cooler, drier, sunnier weather that's perfect for hiking. On the now overcast coast, it's whale-watching season, while cooler, clear weather on the Galapagos is preferred by divers, those who want to hike and boat tours. Over in the jungle, it's still very wet: a good month for seeing birds, monkeys, sloths and sometimes pink river dolphins.

Weather

Quito & Highlands: Quito is broadly representative of the climate in the Highlands region, where widely speaking the brightest, sunniest and driest weather of the calendar year so far transforms the mountains into Ecuador's top destination this month. Rain is under a third of what it was just three months ago. However, temperatures are dropping, for this is actually winter hereabouts. At night it is particularly cold.

Oriente/Amazon: Rain and more rain is the story of the Ecuadorian Amazon this month: in most areas, including Parque Nacional Yasuni, this is the second-wettest month of the year. Drier weather, however, is in sight as of next month!

Desert Coastal Strip & Galapagos: Fog hugs the coast and makes it overcast and, actually, quite cold compared to earlier in the year. Although fog also covers the higher areas of the Galapagos, and the weather is cooler and drier, on the coastline it is still clearer compared to the next months.

Crowds & Costs

Foreign travelers start to come to Ecuador in increased numbers this month: partly due to a combination of perfect trekking weather and decent conditions for seeing wildlife in both the Galapagos and the jungle. On the coast, though, you may find many beaches very quiet, and accommodation and tours may offer lower rates.

Where to Go

Quito & Highlands: In Quito, taking a trip on the TelefériQo gondola high above the city in June yields superb views. Parque Nacional Cotopaxi has great hiking amidst snow-capped volcanoes: sunny weather means a trip out here is beautiful right now, with colors all intensified. Otavalo is good to visit at the end of the month when it will be in the throes of one of Ecuador's best parties during Inti Raymi celebrations.

Oriente/Amazon: This is a good month for exploring Parque Nacional Yasuni or the Cuyabeno Reserve by boat, as water levels are high. An increasingly wet month like June means much wildlife evades the water levels and takes to the trees, so it is easier to see. 

Desert Coastal Strip & Galapagos: June is a good time for non-beach activities on the coast (although of course, many beaches are still beautiful places to spend time). Try taking the multi-day train ride from Quito to Guayaquil, and spending time in Ecuador's big southern city, full of cool bars and restaurants and interesting museums. Or head to Puerto López to take a tour of Isla de la Plata, with great whale-watching this month. This is probably the third-best month for visiting the Galapagos: see below for the best activities in June on the islands.

What to Do

Quito & Highlands: Walking is the key activity in the Highlands now. Even Quito has many beautiful viewpoints that you can walk to or take a gondola-cable car. Quito's TelefériQo transports you up the slopes of Volcán Pichincha, a volcano, to nearly 13123 feet/4,000m. There are superb treks to do in the mountains, such as the Quillota Loop or hikes in Parque Nacional Cotopaxi, both not far from Quito. Or celebrate a festival, such as the five-day party around the time of Inti Raymi in Otavalo.

Oriente/Amazon: June is a good month for exploring small Amazonian tributaries by canoe, such as those in Cuyabeno Reserve. In Parque Nacional Yasuni, in the wet weather you can observe birds and animals take to the trees more where they are easier to spot. Monkeys, particularly, can be seen eating the fruits from the fruiting trees, along with birds, sloths, and pink river dolphins.

Desert Coastal Strip & Galapagos: Try coastal activities that do not entail lying on the beach or surfing: this could be exploring an archaeological site like Chirije, or exploring buoyant coastal metropolis Guayaquil. where you can find out more about Ecuador's chocolate-making legacy. Or try whale-watching, with Isla de la Plata being a great option (here you can also see much of the Galapagos wildlife). It's still a decent time for visiting the Galapagos, too. Weather is cooler but still quite clear, so diving is decent now. Try spotting giant tortoises or the albatross, both of which are active in June.

June Events

Corpus Christi: Taking place in late May or early June, this is a religious festival and of course a good excuse of singing, dancing and eating traditional food. It happens in many locations across the Highlands, most notably Cuenca.  

Inti Raymi: June 18-24. The big party of the calendar year for the Incan part of the Andes, Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun) is not quite as celebrated as it is in Peru; however many Ecuadorian Highlands towns and cities make this a celebration of the harvest and of the southern hemisphere's winter solstice, with parties often commencing several days before the solstice itself. Festivities are particularly interesting in Cotacachi and in Otavalo, where the party also celebrates St John the Baptist's Day (June 24) and St Peter & St Paul's Day (June 29).

More Helpful Information

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Best Time to Visit Ecuador
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