Ecuador in January: Weather and Wildlife


Ecuador in January offers warm sunny days in its coastal regions — perfect for a relaxing beach holiday. Meanwhile, most parts of the Amazon also see drier days and low water levels in the river, creating a perfect condition for spotting caimans, pink river dolphins and other Amazonian wildlife. January also marks the start of the low season in the Andes region of Ecuador, so you will find low tourist crowds in popular tourist destinations during this time. Whether you are planning for an island-hopping trip of the Galapagos, going wildlife spotting in the Amazon rainforest, or sightseeing, a trip to Ecuador offers plenty of sights and activities for travelers.

Ecuador Weather in January

The weather in Quito in January is cool and you can even see the Basilica.
Plan your stay in Quito as it experiences cooler temperatures in January.

The average temperature in Ecuador is 18°C but your experience will depend on where you visit as the weather in Ecuador in January differs across several climate zones.

January is a great time to visit the Galapagos Islands, with pleasant days averaging at 25°C. Low rainfall also makes this a popular month to trek or cruise through the Amazon, with daytime temperatures reaching up to 28°C in Puyo.

The Andes are wetter than other regions, and the climate in Quito is cool with an average of 16°C. Escape the rain here by exploring Ecuador’s cultural museums and colonial heritage.

Check out our guide on the best time to visit Ecuador for a seasonal overview.

Weather in Ecuador in January - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)181717171718181919181818
Avg Nightly (°C)889998888888
Avg Daily (°F)64.462.662.662.662.664.464.466.266.264.464.464.4
Avg Nightly (°F)46.446.448.
Avg Rainfall (mm)7010090706040204070806050

Why Visit Ecuador in January

Watching people celebrate Devil Dance is a great reason to go to Ecuador.
See people dance while wearing masks during Devil Dance of Pillaro.
See blue footed booby birds in Ecuador.
New wildlife spurs in Ecuador as it is nesting season in January.

Although days are getting wetter in the Andes, the rest of the country is heading into the high season and there are plenty of reasons why you should be going to Ecuador in January. Here are some:

  • Festivals: Ecuador is alive with festivals to kick start the year. The must-see events include the Devil Dance of Pillaro, a six-day event of vibrant parades and folk traditions; the Jondachi Fest, a festival for white water rafting competitions; and Epiphany Day, a religious holidayof traditional dances, music performances and fireworks.
  • Nesting season: The start of the year brings giant tortoises and green turtles on land to lay their eggs, while birds such as the blue-footed booby and the warbler begin to nest, and marine iguanas turn brightly colored in preparation for mating season.
  • Pleasant weather: Most regions of Ecuador see less rainfall in January, making it an ideal time to enjoy the country’s natural beauty.
  • Low season in the Andes: Expect less crowds and discounted accommodation and tours in the Ecuadorian Highlands as the region enters the low season in January.

Where to go and what to do

Go hiking in the Cotopaxi province.
Warm sunny days means amazing hiking opportunities in Ecuador.

Make the most of the good weather with a cruise to the Galapagos Islands where you will have plenty of opportunities to spot unique wildlife. Dive with hammerhead sharks near Darwin Island or witness male iguanas turning bright green and red on Espanola Island. Volcano hiking is also popular at this time of year, with many walking trails also offering great opportunities for bird watching. In Ecuador’s premiere birding location, Mindo Cloud Forest, high rainfall attracts migratory birds and increased food supply promotes mating.

January is the month for water sports in Ecuador. High visibility is perfect for snorkeling and diving around the Galapagos Islands, while offshore winds and glassy mornings are dream conditions for surfing the coast of Ecuador. Adrenaline junkies should head to Tena for kayaking and canoeing, or Puyo for white water rafting and river tubing.

The start of the low season in the Andes is a great time to explore the colonial history of Quito’s Old Town without the queues. Visit the La Iglesia de la Compania, considered one of the most beautiful historical churches in Ecuador, or the Metropolitan Cultural Center for an intellectually stimulating display of art and literature.

Looking for more ideas on what to do in Ecuador? Check out our guide on how many days to spend in Ecuador.

What to bring

Take a boat ride in the Amazon.
Explore the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.

What you need to bring on your trip to Ecuador will depend on which region you plan to visit. Insect repellent is essential in the Amazon, and waterproof shoes will come in handy for water sports. Do not forget the seasickness pills if you are prone to feeling ill on boats.

With drier days in most regions and calm sea conditions, January is one of the best times to visit Ecuador, particularly for outdoor activities in the Amazon and Galapagos Islands. Expect crystal-clear water, sunny days, and abundant wildlife sightings if you are planning to visit Ecuador in January. Contact our local travel experts to create a customized tour of Ecuador.

Other related articles:
Ecuador in December
Ecuador in February

Create your custom-made trip to Ecuador

Traveling to Ecuador? Chat with a local travel specialist in Ecuador who can help organize your trip.

  • Marion Passier
    Marion Passier
    Travel Expert in Ecuador
  • Lucía Cazar
    Lucía Cazar
    Travel Expert in Ecuador & Peru
  • Elisabeth Gschösser
    Elisabeth Gschösser
    Travel Expert in Ecuador
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