We love to plan everything just right for our travel adventures—hotel, activities, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But one thing we can never control is, unfortunately, also one of the most deciding factors upon even the best-laid plans: the weather. The only thing we can do is anticipate it, enjoy it, and be ready for any and all of its changes. This article is intended to help you do just that, in understanding and navigating Quito’s weather, rain or shine.
The Ecuadorian national capital floats in the Andes mountains, at a shocking altitude of 2,850 meters (9,350 ft). Normally, such height produces frigid temperatures; for example, at roughly the same altitude, Golmud, China, drops to an average −9.1 °C (15.6 °F) during its winter months (Golmud, 2019). However, Quito is also located on top of the equator. This unique combination of high-altitude and latitudinal location, therefore, make for a steady climate of year-round, balmy spring. Average afternoon temperatures range in the mid-70s °F, while night-time lows reach the low 50s °F. Whether coming from hot or cold, travelers find relief in this steady and mild climate (Blog, 2011).
That said, Quito’s weather is also notoriously fickle; locals even joke that the city presents “all four seasons in one day” (Ecuador, 2019). There are two relatively-predictable seasons—rainy and dry—which extend from roughly November-May and June-October, respectively (Halberstadt, 2015). However, the Andes mountains’ amazing geographical particularity forms microclimates that may pocket downpours in one minute and sunshine in the next. Even during the rainy months, both sun and rain arrive without warning throughout the day. If you’re not used to this climactic bipolarity, an afternoon rain shower can be an unexpected and inconvenient surprise. Check out the following tips to navigate Quito’s weather, and be prepared to enjoy all of its adventurous changes.
- Layer up
If it’s cold, you’ll appreciate the extra warmth; if it’s hot, you’ll be thankful for protection from the burning, equatorial, and high-altitude sun. Also, with the constantly changing weather, you may wake up in the morning to sun and later face an afternoon thunderstorm. Bring an umbrella in your bag, and be prepared for constant changes.
- Lather up
The Quito sun is STRONG. Even if it’s cloudy, apply and re-apply sunscreen. Or you will get burnt!
- Don’t Bother to Look it Up!
Weather channels and websites may be reliable in some parts of the world, but Ecuador isn’t one of them. The Andes mountains’ microclimates are too unstable and localized to predict. Even within Quito, it might be sunny on one street and raining on the next.
- Magical Mornings
If you have to make a general weather prediction during the rainy season, mornings are your safest bet for sun. Normally (not always), rain is more likely to gather in the mid-to-late afternoon. If you want to do any outdoor activities or walking around the city, try being an early bird.
- Get the Most Bang for Your Lodging’s Buck
Know that Quito has a number of indoor activities to turn gloomy days into great ones. But the most strategic way to save money, time, and hassle is to choose your accommodation wisely. Make sure that your hotel creates a destination to be, and not just a place to sleep. It should offer attractive and locally-spiced indoor alternatives, like an in-house restaurant with Ecuadorian specialties, a cozy café, and bakery of all the best Ecuadorian treats. Other things to look for are a top-of-the line fitness center, reliable Wi-Fi and entertainment options, and spacious lounges and business centers. The staff should also consist of friendly and well-trained professionals, who can give you all the “inside” tips on Quito’s incredible museums, indoor shopping areas, and more. If you really want a local’s eye into Quito, it starts at your hotel.
Understand that Quito offers a very attractive climate to its visitors; in fact, a huge international population is drawn to its foothills specifically for this reason. However, its unpredictability can cause frustration to the unsuspecting traveler. But remember your layers, remember your sunscreen, understand the general patterns, and make your sure that your lodging of choice is capable of truly facilitating your best experience. This way—rain or shine—weather won’t put a damper on your Quito adventure.
- Blog English – Arminius-on-tour. (2011, November 27). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from http://blog.arminius-on-tour.com/2011/11/27/quito-ecuador-–-four-seasons-in-one-day/
- Ecuador 4 Seasons in One Day. (2019, March 28). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://gulliver.com.ec/climate-ecuador/
- Golmud. (2019, March 03). Retrieved May 17, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golmud
- Halberstadt, J. (2015, September 9). Quito Ecuador. Retrieved May 17, 2019, from http://www.ecuadorexplorer.com/html/quito_overview.html
- Quito Turismo. Picture.