Ecuador in December: Weather, Christmas and Tips

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It is the start of the rainy season in Ecuador in December, but this is no reason to put off your travel plan. Ecuadorians get into the full Christmas spirit during this month. The diverse landscape of Ecuador also means there will always be weather conditions that suit you. The highlands of Quito are cooler while Manta and Salinas are shrouded in sunshine and the Amazon basin around Coca gives you the best of both. Check out our tours in Ecuador for more information.

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Ecuador Weather in December

The weather in Banos in December is cold and wet due to the high altitude.
Come prepared for the cold and rain in Banos in December.

The weather in Ecuador in December is generally considered to be good, with varying conditions across the country. The national average temperatures are between 8°C and 18°C, which is fairly moderate.

The weather in Guayaquil starts getting hot in December. You can expect temperatures between 22°C and 33°C, while the ocean temperature is pleasant at 24°C. December is also the start of the rainy season here, so expect a fair bit of rainfall as well. The weather in Banos looks much different due to its high altitude. Here the average temperature ranges between 6°C and 13°C. December is also one of the city’s wettest months with 155mm of rain. The capital city, Quito, sees similar conditions with temperatures between 9°C and 16°C, and 203mm of rainfall.

The sea temperatures around Puerto Villamil are ideal at 23°C and land temperatures also stay constant between 23°C and 24°C. It is one of the most temperate months with enjoyable conditions all around.

Have a look at our seasonal overview to find the best time to visit Ecuador.

Weather in Ecuador in December - Rainfall and Temperatures

Nov Dec Jan
Avg Daily (°C) 18 18 18
Avg Nightly (°C) 8 8 8
Avg Daily (°F) 65 65 65
Avg Nightly (°F) 47 47 47
Avg Rainfall (mm) 60 50 70

Why Visit Ecuador in December

See Christmas procession in Cuenca with people dressed as Mary and Joseph.
Watch locals celebrate Christmas in Cuenca by participating in parades in costumes.
The weather in Ecuador is ideal for surfing at the beach during sunset.
Wax your surfboard and head to Montanita for an adventure.

With such drastically different weather conditions, there are many places and reasons to visit Ecuador in December. Here are some of them:

  • Christmas: This is a time for grand celebrations in Ecuador. Town squares are vibrant with lights and decorations, and festive spirit pervades the air. You will find joy all around.
  • El Pase del Nino Viajero: This Christmas pageant held on Christmas eve is a major highlight on Ecuador’s December calendar. Thousands of people gather in the streets of Cuenca to admire the floats, music, and dancers to mark the occasion.
  • New Year’s Eve: The fabulous ano viejo tradition is something to behold when you holiday in December. Communities burn massive paper mache sculptures that represent famous people or characters to ring in the new year.
  • Founding of Quito Festival: The first week of December is a time for celebration in the capital. From 1–6 December the city streets are filled with open-decked buses, dancers, musicians, and delicacies to mark the founding of the capital.
  • Best surfing condition: Surf spots like Montanita enjoy a consistent northwest swell in December. So, if you are a surfer, this is the time to catch the perfect waves.

Where to go and what to do

Swim with sea turtles and other fish in the Galapagos Islands.
The underwater visibility at Galapagos Islands in December is ideal to see the marine life.

Ecuador’s weather in December has many sides. While it may be the high season in some places, it is the opposite for others. Quito and Cuenca have rough weather compared to the coastal areas. But despite the bad weather, you can still explore the cultural treasures of these cities. Also, jubilant Christmas celebrations make up for the cold climate and frequent rain showers.

If you are looking for fabulous weather, then head to the Galapagos. Here, days are sunny with short afternoon showers that clear the air. Visibility underwater is excellent in December, improving your chance at encountering rare wildlife both underwater and on land.

The orient in the east of Ecuador also has good weather for jungle exploring. Take to the treetops in the canopy walkways and explore the Amazon to come face to face with the colorful tropical birds that come out to bask in the sun between rain showers. Sinking your teeth into rainforest adventures is one of the things to do in Ecuador, right before the unnerving rainfall starts in January.

Head to Machalilla national park and relax on the beach.
Coastal areas of Ecuador are more pleasant for exploration in December.

The coastal fishing villages of Ecuador are also a delight at this time of the year. Although there are afternoon showers, they are usually brief. In the dry season, the coastal areas can be muggy and uncomfortable, so December showers can be a blessing. Mompiche is one of the best places to travel to in Ecuador in December along with Canoa and Montanita, which are packed with charm and natural beauty. Spend your days lounging on the beach, snorkeling, surfing, and exploring these vibrant communes on foot.

We offer several itineraries to help you make the most of your time in Ecuador. Here is a guide on how many days to spend in Ecuador to help you find a tour that suits your needs.

Feel the festive spirit in the air as Ecuadorians go above and beyond in December. This is the last chance to enjoy most of the country before torrential downpours start with the new year. So, spending your holiday in Ecuador in December could be highly rewarding if you plan carefully where to go. Reach out to our local travel experts to plan a customized tour of Ecuador.

Other related articles:
Ecuador in January
Ecuador in November

Published by Tim Green, updated on January 28, 2023

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