The Andes is a region of superlatives. Stretching for over 7,500 km the Andes is the longest mountain range in the world and dramatically dissects South America in two – from north to south – crossing seven countries, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela.
Their richly varied terrain comprises glaciers, volcanoes, desert, lakes, forest and grasslands and is responsible in one way or another for the continents incredible natural biodiversity. Everything in South America is directly related to their existence, not only in the landscapes and wildlife but also in the rich indigenous cultures both living and present. The most iconic being the Inca Empire which stretched out along the Andes of Peru and Ecuador leaving many beautiful ruins.
“…a fabulous trip. I still can’t take in what we saw.”
David and Sheryn Vaughan
Think Galapagos have expert teams on the ground in both the Ecuadorean and Peruvian Andean regions. The Andes of Ecuador and Peru, both home to some of the most colourful and vibrant indigenous cultures in South America make for a great extension to your Galapagos cruise. Quito, Ecuador’s capital nestled at 2800 meters in the Andes is for many people their arrival point on their Galapagos vacation and offers a wonderful glimpse into Andean life. For those who wish to spend a little more time exploring the Andes, here are some ideas of how you can include a visit to the Ecuadorean or Peruvian Andes as part of your Galapagos vacation.
Temperature in the Andes depends more on the altitude you are visiting than the season. The higher up you go, the cooler it gets. It also depends on the time of day. Quito at 2800 meters is sometimes called ‘The City of Eternal Spring’ as it has a year round fresh climate that never gets too warm or too cold. It also depends on the time of day. In the mornings it is cooler warming up as the day goes on and then cooling down as evening falls. In Quito you can expect daily highs of 20 ° (68 F) and lows of 8° (48 F). For Cusco, a greater range, with highs of 22°and lows can sink as low as 1 °.
The seasons are more marked in the Peruvian Andes where November – March are the rainiest season, with the Inca Trail closing for renovation in February (the wettest month). For guests thinking about travel to Peru, we would say to avoid if possible the months of December, January and February. However in Ecuador the seasons in the Andes are less marked and more unpredictable and in recent years haven’t really followed the patterns they should. So for guests travelling to the Ecuadorean Andes we don’t really factor in time of year as the seasons no longer behave as they should! Historically the best weather in the Andes for both Ecuador and Peru is May through to October when it is cooler but dry with the best chance of clear blue skies and great views.
In the Andes layers work well, with a warm layer for morning and evening. Although warm in the daytime the temperature at night in the Andes can drop down to 1 or 2 degrees. We recommend wearing long trousers and layers on top so you can respond to changing temperatures.The higher you go the cooler it usually gets!
T-shirts, long sleeved jumper and light fleece jacket is usually enough, though if you are going to places that are higher than 2800 meters (which is the altitude of Quito) you may wish to bring a warmer jacket. A great option we have found are down packable jackets which are very light, but useful if it gets cooler in an evening. Attire is very informal, though some people do like to bring a lightly smarter change of clothes for the occasions when you eat meals in restaurants, though it is still casual.